September 2013 O.Henry

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8607 CEDAR HOLLOW ROAD - $1,999,000

1700 RICHARDSON DRIVE - $1,950,000

3500 BROMLEY WOODS LANE - $1,700,000

Lakefront Italian-style villa with panoramic lake views from nearly every room. Gated entrance, private setting on 3+ acres, stream & boat dock. Exquisite detail, elegance, & comfort. Perfect for entertaining. 5 bedrooms, 6 full baths & 1 half bath. 3-car garage. 9,000Âą sf on 3 levels; elevator.

Robert Payne Richardson home, a state and national historic landmark. This Greek Revival mansion offers 17 beautiful rooms with nine fireplaces. A private residence and event center, this glorious home has hosted weddings and would be the perfect bed & breakfast.

Elegant classic home situated on 3 acres in private gated community. Exquisite custom details throughout the home include: extensive moldings, cherry paneled library, gourmet kitchen with keeping room, wine cellar, exercise room, sauna, five fireplaces & much more.

Sveta Krylova 336-254-3379

Tom Chitty 336-420-2836

Catherine Feeney 336-509-3188

6353 P OPLAR FOREST DRIVE - $1,695,000

1101 SUNSET DRIVE - $1,590,000

812 NORTHERN SHORES P OINT - $1,349,000

Elegant Itallianate home offers beautifully appointed interiors on three floors. Two grand master suites with en suite baths, a paneled library, epicurean kitchen, home theater all await you here. Outside, a lagoon pool with waterfall & spa and an outdoor fireplace.

Beautiful home with great privacy on elevated lot in historic Old Irving Park. 5 bedrooms, 5 full and 2 half baths, 2 gas log fireplaces. Master bedroom on main level with adjoining large bath with whirlpool tub and oversized shower. Screened porch and veranda.

Tuscan Renaissance home in Northern Shores gated community. Turret entry dome, lake view basement home, 3 level elevator, front and back stairways, custom dream gourmet kitchen, master on main level, bonus/theater area, indoor heated pool, spectacular home.

Tom Chitty 336-420-2836

Eddie Yost 336-210-8762

Frances Giaimo 336-362-2605

1917 GRANVILLE ROAD - $1,295,000

1958 ROCK CREEK DAIRY ROAD - $1,090,000

Stunning 2 year old home with over 5,500 SF in Old Irving Park. All the new ammenities, one block from Greensboro Country Club on one of Greensboro’s most sought after streets. Open living area perfect for entertaining & a kids haven on the second floor. 3-car garage.

Custom-built home offers exceptional style with soaring ceilings, marble and hardwood floors. Built around a large partially covered terrace by a fabulous pool with fountains. Epicurean kitchen and master suite with a spa bath and sauna. Garages for five cars.

Mark Yost 336-707-6275

Tom Chitty 336-420-2836

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1848 Banking Street Greensboro, NC 27408 Jim Dodson, Editor Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director David C. Bailey, Senior Editor 336.617.0090 • Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Lauren Shumaker, Graphic Designer Judi Hewett, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors Harry Blair, Maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser Contributing Photographers Lynn Donovan, Sam Froelich, John Gessner Contributors Cynthia Adams, Karen M. Alley, Jane Borden, Emily Frazier Brown, Tom Bryant, Fred Chappell, John Cruickshank, Barbara Rosson Davis, Tina Firesheets, John Gessner, Sara King, Meridith Martens, Mary Novitsky, Nancy Oakley, Carole Perkins, Sandra Redding, Noah Salt, Lee Smith, Stephen E. Smith, Astrid Stellanova, Cassie Butler Timpy, Stacey Van Berkel, Isabel Zuber


David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales & Circulation Director 336.707.6893, Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 Advertising Graphic Design 910.693.2469, ©Copyright 2013. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

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September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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September 2013 Features

Dream Defense 49 Everywhere Man 50 Poetry by Isabel Zuber

By David C. Bailey

Witty, modernist artist Noé Katz has a huge international following — and a new home in the Gate City.




New Fiction by Fred Chappell

Further adventures of budding Kaleburger impresario Mary Ellen

Born in a Barn


By Maria Johnson

For fifty years the Barn Dinner Theatre has fed its loyal customers good food and fun live theater.

Paper Dolls By Lee Smith

An Excerpt from Guests on Earth, Lee Smith’s latest novel, out this month

The Sun 72

By Sandra Redding

First place winner of the 2013 O.Henry magazine Short Story Competition


By a House Possessed


A Teacher’s Garden


17 Ways to Do 17 Days


September Almanac


9 Hometown By Jim Dodson 13 SHORT STORIES on 17 Game By Jim Schlosser 19 The City Muse By Emily Frazier Brown 21 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 23 OmnivOrous Reader By Stephen E. Smith 27 Hop head By David C. Bailey 31 Street level By Jim Schlosser

35 41 45 47 100 115 127 128

Gate City Icon

By John Cruickshank The Sporting life

By Tom Bryant

Then and now

By Carole Perkins Life of Jane

By Jane Borden Arts & Entertainment Calendar GreenScene

By Lynn Donovan Accidental Astrologer

By Astrid Stellanova O.Henry Ending

By Barbara Rosson Davis

By Cynthia Adams

History, home improvement, and a real (live?) ghost all come together in this restored Latham Park house.

By Karen M. Alley

Ellen Ashley’s beautiful Summerfield garden is a working laboratory for teaching the joy of gardening. So little time, so much great stuff. Our picks for the Festival

By Noah Salt

Summer’s end, autumn’s beginning, and please pass the homemade cider. Cover Photograph Stacey Van Berkel Photograph this page by John Gessner

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September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Pink is the color of breast cancer awareness.

It is also the color of hope. T h u r s d a y, Se p t e m b e r 2 6 / 1 0 : 3 0 A M t o 1 : 3 0 P M Ce n t e r C i t y Pa r k / D o w n t o w n G re e n s b o ro Pink in the Park is a free event designed to educate and support those dealing with breast cancer. We gather each year to honor, remember and celebrate those whose lives have been impacted. Not only do we offer information for those battling the disease but we bring together vendors with helpful products and services.

Create a free virtual ribbon online in honor or memory of a loved one.


The Way Summer Should End

By Jim Dodson

My late Southern Baptist grand-

mother used to say it was a sin against God and the makers of Timex watches to wish away time and rail against the weather. Last summer — the hottest on record, according the National Weather Service — Miss Beatrice would have been praying for my mortal hide because I whined constantly about the heat and humidity and told anyone who’d listen [i.e. nobody] that Labor Day couldn’t get here quick enough to suit me.

The arrival of September heralds not only the eventual coming of cooler afternoons and evenings by month’s end, but also the revival of life and return to a normal family routine that always seems, to me at least, unnaturally disrupted by three months of heat and social idleness, an out-dated cultural relic from America’s agrarian past. If I were a kid today, I’d beg my parents to enroll me in a year-round school. When I was a kid, on the other hand, summers seemed such tediously long affairs. On endless summer mornings, I read books or played with my toy armies and painted Roman soldiers in the cool dirt beneath my parents’ house. In the broiling afternoons, I either went to baseball practice or rode my bike to the swimming pool, where I swam on the swim team, though I really couldn’t have cared less. I played shortstop and outfield on two different teams and truly loved baseball, but it was September that I was secretly pining for, the resumption of school, the renewal of life, the fevered pennant run. Even after I grew interested in golf, playing in summer was really no fun. Life in summer felt oddly suspended, empty as the lonesome sound of the cicadas. Luckily our family vacation frequently fell at the end of August, often ending over the Labor Day weekend itself. My favorite times were when we finished the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

summer at the Hanover Seaside Club in Wrightsville Beach, a rambling threestory shingled affair near the Lumina pier and pavilion where members reserved very basic rooms for a week or two and their kids pretty much roamed free and wild for the duration. Every evening after supper in the common dining room, the grown-ups played cards or drank cocktails and watched the rollers from rocking chairs scattered along on the broad porch of the club. One Labor Day stands out above the rest. I was 13 and had my first vacation crush on a girl named Candice from Ohio. She was 14, a cheerleader, several inches taller than me. Her daddy was a foot doctor. She and I went to the roller skating rink at Lumina with several other teenagers the night after she arrived with her family for the final week of the summer. By week’s end we’d graduated at dizzying velocity to holding hands on the pier, and Candy, as she called herself, promised to show me the way French people preferred to kiss. This was more exciting than the three-pound flounder I gigged in the shallows of an island near the mouth of the Cape Fear River that week. Back at the Seaside Club there was a man who played the piano every night after supper, loud, gin-fueled Hoagy Carmichael numbers, a dandy who wore a madras jacket every evening during cocktails, somebody’s Yankee uncle who claimed he’d been on Broadway. He informed a pack of us barefoot teens that a major hurricane was steaming toward the Carolina coast and just might tear apart the island. I asked my dad if this was true, and he more or less confirmed it, though assured me the adults were keeping an eye on the storm’s progress and said not to worry. Next thing I heard, people were talking about throwing a “hurricane party.” On Labor Day itself there was big cookout. All day the surf was gray, churning and violent. Some people along the beach were boarding up windows, closing up their beach homes early. After the cookout, the Seaside staff was even allowed to go home. Yellow flags flew from the lifeguard poles warning swimmers to stay out of the water due to the undertow. I remember the beach patrol telling us swimming was out of the question. We kids hung out at an eerily empty pavilion plugging quarters in the juke box all day — Candy liked a song called “Poison Ivy” by the Coasters — and then, as darkness gathered, went down to watch a fisherman reel in a large sand shark from the surf. We watched September 2013

O.Henry 9

HomeTown him hang up the shark from the pier and were holding hands when her little brother jogged up and announced Candy had to go. Her family was going home early. I was crushed, but she gave me a quick peck on the cheek and said goodbye, promising to leave her address at the Seaside Club’s main desk. She called out, “Write me!” over her shoulder and I yelled back, “I will,” and that was the end of that. Back at the Seaside Club, the man in the madras jacket was plunking out show tunes and the highballs were flowing at yellow flag level. I found my parents and another couple sitting together out on the porch in rockers, wearing sweaters and watching the riotous surf. “What happened to Candy?” asked my mom. “Her family just left,” I explained glumly, showing her the scribbled address Candy had left at the front desk. “Maybe you can write each other,” she attempted to cheer me, inviting me to sit beside her in an empty rocker. My first summer romance wasn’t the only thing that fizzled out before it even got started that long holiday weekend. Hurricane Faith crossed the entire Atlantic from the Azores but suddenly veered north and barely grazed the Carolina coast. An hour before we headed home to Greensboro the next afternoon, I walked down to Newell’s Drugstore and bought a postcard to write to Candy. I don’t remember if I ever sent it or not. That would be the last summer we stayed at the Hanover Seaside Club. Lumina Pavilion was soon torn down, though the pier remains to this day. During the twenty years we lived on the coast of Maine, I never failed to have a nice sense of meteorological déjà vu that was probably the result of those summer evenings at the Seaside Club, a heightened sense of relief and expectation that came — even in a far northern place — with the official end of vacation and the resumption of life, new school assignments and my daughter’s afternoon field

hockey practice. In Maine, Labor Day marks the last hurrah for the summer tourists and most will vanish by midday on Monday, turning the southbound lane of I-95 into a 20-mile parking lot by dusk. For many years, when our kids were still small, we began a ritual of going out to eat at our favorite seaside restaurant, which only days before had been impossible to get into for the crowds, not to mention the ridiculous prices. Within hours of the crowd’s departure, the price of a classic Maine shore dinner would drop by a third, and the air would develop an unmistakable coolness, and the light would turn especially beautiful in the cove where we went to dine by the sea — always taking along sweaters and jackets. I used to tell my little ones about going to the Seaside Club in North Carolina when I was a kid and how I once met a pretty girl from Ohio named Candy and saw a man catch a shark and nearly got to be in the midst of a major hurricane as it came ashore. “Did that really happen, Daddy — or are you just making that up?” my wise daughter Maggie was prone to ask after she’d heard the tale a few times. “Every word, I swear, is almost true. Candy was my first summer romance. The moral of the story, Mugs, is this: Summer always ends but something exciting comes in September.” “Did you ever write Candy?” “I did. But she never wrote back.” “That’s sad.” “No,” I would always say, pulling her up onto my lap to watch a beautiful September evening over the ocean. “That’s just the way summer should end.” OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at

Lunch & Dinner 7 Days a week 1941 New Garden Rd Suite 200 Greensboro, NC 27410 ~ 336.286.3000 ~ 10 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Read and Write

Give it a Whirl

Guilford County and the nation celebrated the 150th anniversary of native son William Sydney Porter’s birth last year on September 11. This year is another notable anniversary, 110 years since Porter — O.Henry — attained national fame. In December 1903, O.Henry wrote his first story for New York’s Sunday World newspaper. This highly respected publication paid him the unheard-of sum (at the time) of $100 per story, and O.Henry’s reputation as America’s most beloved writer was assured. During that same year O.Henry wrote thirty-one stories that appeared in Ainlee’s, Everybody’s, Harper’s, McClure’s, Redbook, Munsey’s and other publications. One of those stories has an intriguing title, The Whirligig of Life. Is it a coincidence that after Greensboro Senior High School (now Grimsley) moved to its present campus on Westover Terrace in 1929, it later named its yearbook Whirligig? Eventually, the school’s nickname evolved from Purple Whirlwinds to Whirlies. Was it a tribute to O.Henry? (And, yes, we know about the tornado.) JS

Gone Underground

Seventeen Days is a speck on Guilford County’s storied history, but that hasn’t stopped Guilford Courthouse National Military Park from joining in on the festivities. On display beginning September 14 at the visitors center will be newly discovered artifacts unearthed by an archaeological field school that’s trying to find the very courthouse after which the 1781 Revolutionary War battle was named. “We are still figuring out what it all means,” says Linda Stine, a UNCG archeologist. She, her students and the Guilford Battleground Company, a private nonprofit group that promotes the park, have found grapeshot, bits and pieces of ceramic, a brooch, a brass ramrod holder that goes under a gun, and a bone lice comb. “We have lots of evidence of domestic life,” she says. “Some of the buildings fit the dimensions of the courthouse or are its possible replacement.” But the courthouse remains elusive, along with other buildings that constituted the village of Guilford Courthouse. All visible traces were gone within decades after 1808 when the county seat was moved to the new town of Greensboro. Park Superintendent Chuck Cranfield says the artifacts offer little solid proof that the site is the original courthouse. It could have been a tavern or a dwelling. “Some of the signs you would expect to find at a courthouse weren’t there,” he says. Cranfield believes lots more remains are to be found beneath the park’s grounds, over which the Americans and British fought. Cranfield says, “As far as excavation in the park, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg.” The park and its visitors center are open daily and admission is free. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, 2332 New Garden Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-1776 or J.S.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

You have less than a month to knock out your mini-me memoir. The guidelines for O.Henry’s 2014 Memoir Contest, “My Life in a Thousand Words or Less,” are simple: Memoirs should not exceed 1,000 words. Original, unpublished manuscripts. One submission per entrant. Deadline: October 1. Entries to using the subject line “O.Henry Memoir Contest.” Be sure to include your name, telephone number and mailing address in the body of the email. Winning entries will be published in O.Henry magazine. Contest is open to any resident of Guilford County. AW

To Market, with Love

“What,” I ask Brian Bush, of Handance Farm near Wentworth, “would have been here fifty years ago?” “Practically none of this,” he says, pointing first to some yellow hybridized tomatoes, then to some Japanese black Trifele tomatoes. Ditto the kaffir lime leaves and the South American summer cilantro. Although the origins of the Greensboro Farmers Market date to 1874, making it one of the oldest markets in the state, this year the market is celebrating its fiftieth year in the same building — at the corner of Yanceyville and Lindsay streets. Here’s a short list of what vendors assured me wouldn’t have been in the market in 1963: Stoney Mountain Farm’s chemical-free cat toys. Beignets and fried plantains from the African Sister Restaurant. Andouille sausage from Meadows Family Farm. Eggplant baba ganoush from Zaytoon. Rowanda Ethiopian Burundi decaf coffee from Café al Grano. Not to mention organic chanterelles, Silver Queen corn, Calico Homestead skillet cheese, yucca leaves, edamame, garlic herb dog biscuits and Margariette Graves’ pound cake endorsed by President Barack Obama. Y’all come on September 14 for Farmers Appreciation Day at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro, (336) 373-2402 or DCB

September 2013

O.Henry 13

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’Tooned In

If you’re tuned into ’toons, Greenhill gallery’s ANIMATED! exhibit will hit you like an anvil dropped from cliff (insert whistling sound here). Beginning September 6, the show pays tribute to animation with multimedia works by twenty-four artists, all of whom are connected to North Carolina by birth, school or work. Among the highlights are short films by Greensboro natives and brothers Jason and Michael Carpenter, who now operate an animation business in California; the whimsical wool dolls of Greensboro fiber artist Paige Cox; one-hundred-twenty clay face cups molded and filmed in stop-action by Greensboro potter Brett McDonough; flip books created by Greensboro children’s book illustrator James Young; and the sketchbook and digital drawings of UNCG grad student Eliseo Santos, creator of a lovable intergalactic monkey known as Space Mono. Want to see live humans talking about animation? September 18, 5:30 p.m. in the gallery: UNCG art historian Heather Holian, an expert on the art of the Italian Renaissance, Disney and Pixar, talks about how Pixar animation has influenced other art and vice versa. September 29, 2–4 p.m. in the music room of the Greensboro Cultural Center: Artist and entrepreneur Georges Le Chevallier of Raleigh introduces the Bloc Animation Project 2012, a collection of twenty short films packed into a feature-length movie. The compilation takes in works by animators in the U.S., India, Singapore and Spain. Several Triangle artists are represented. Finally, there’s a whole series of do-it-yourself workshops — from using your own action figures to making animated videos to creating hats and capes worn by your favorite action hero so you can get totally animated yourself — at Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or MJ

• •

Short Stories

Pop quiz: Tequila Dale is a.) The frontman of a beach music group; b.) A sugary frozen cocktail; c.) One of your uncle’s old frat buddies; d.) Both a and c (who may enjoy his b’s). The answer is none of the above. In fact, the namesake of Tequila Dale’s Wing (or whatever) Sauce, consists of the mixed-together monikers of Apex saucemakers Dave and Val Creager preceded by their favorite drink, which, alas, is not part of the recipe. W.O.W. sauce has a flavor driven by honey, cayenne and rice vinegar, with a distinctive splash of sesame oil tying together its sweet, spicy and sour chords. The concoction’s mild, creeping heat makes for craveable wings and adds an elusive punch to dishes as diverse as crab dip, Thai peanut pasta salad and grilled bison, as showcased on the Tequila Dale’s recipe blog. Take home this complexly named sauce from New York Butcher Shoppe or JC

Red Chief Lives!

One of O.Henry’s most humorous stories, “The Ransom of Red Chief,” will make up a fifth of this year’s 5 by O.Henry program at the Greensboro Historical Museum, beginning September 5. In playwright Joe Hoesl’s deft adaptation of William Sydney Porter’s classic short story, two small-time grifters unwittingly kidnap the world’s most spoiled brat, who calls himself Red Chief. As their red-haired savage tortures them bit by bit into desperation, the kidnappers first lower their ransom and then have a war council with their captive’s father, who turns out to be every bit as mischievous as his son. Also on stage will be adaptations of “The Sphinx Apple,” “A Retrieved Reformation,” “Christmas by Injunction” and “The Ransom of Mack,” along with live vintage American music and the traditional embarrassing cast interaction with members of the audience brave enough to sit on the front row. The Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-2043 or DCB

Perfect Inuit-ion

“I wish I could have kept it, but I was poor,” the Inuit artist said of this appliqued wall hanging, according to the husband-and-wife collectors from North Carolina who bought it in Vancouver, British Columbia. Beginning September 4, this and more than one hundred other contemporary artworks from Nunavut, the largest and northernmost territory in Canada, will be featured in the Guilford College Art Gallery. “It is done with such care,” says the husband, who, with his wife, has visited the Inuit peoples of Nunavut a number of times and prefer anonymity so that the exhibit’s focus will be the artists. “The sewing is intentionally almost three dimensional, the colors so rich — painting with a needle” is how he describes the scene of ice fishing featuring both real and spirit creatures of the Arctic. “The sculpture, textiles, prints, drawings and paintings reflect Inuit artists’ personal experiences living on the land and their relationships with animals and animal spirits,” says Theresa Hammond, the gallery’s director and curator. The collectors say the exhibit is a “testimony to the talent in each human, even those who are ‘unschooled.’” Through December 15 at Guilford College Art Gallery, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 316-2450, www. DCB

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

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8/1/13 9:47 AM


2013 Celebration Luncheon Plus, we will announce the News & Record Woman of the Year Presenting Sponsor

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16 O.Henry

September 2013

Tickets are now available at

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Swing of Life

Game On

The First Tee of the Triad comes of age.

By Jim Schlosser

The other day, Mike Barber, a law-

photograph by Lynn Donovan

yer turned president and CEO of The First Tee of the Triad, was dripping with sweat as he lugged a gym bag filled with at least 200 used golf balls. Someone had donated them to the organization, and Barber picked them up personally.

“We have a use for everything we collect, believe me,’’ says Barber, a former city council member and county commissioner who will be a council candidate this fall. “We touch the lives of 20,000 school kids each and every year.” First Tee seeks to couple low scores on the fairways with high grades in the classroom for youngsters 7 to 18. The mission is also to teach the merits of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, confidence, responsibility and other values essential to life through the game of golf. Although First Tee is open to youngsters of all economic backgrounds, the program is eager to reach out to those who might not otherwise have access to golf or a golf course. The program delivers: A few years ago, Lindsay Ball and Kendall Dunn knew nothing about golf. Today, Ball is on a golf scholarship at Mars Hill The Art & Soul of Greensboro

College. Dunn will be a starter next season on the UNC Pembroke team. If a family can’t afford the $75 fee, Barber says it’s not a problem. More than 50 percent of participants are on scholarship, with scholarships supplied by the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, other organizations and individuals. At a fundraiser last year at Starmount Country Club honoring O.Henry editor Jim Dodson’s receipt of the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an inaugural First Tee scholarship was announced. Established in Dodson’s name, it will go to a Triad-area First Tee player. It’s appropriate that the scholarship is named after Dodson, a longtime golf writer who has written about Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and his own family’s interpersonal relationship with golf in the best-selling Final Rounds and A Son of the Game. It was in the latter that he wrote: “Golf, as journalist Henry Longhurst once observed, is the Esperanto of sports — the finest game on earth for making enduring friendships and passing along something of value to others.” Dodson went on to conclude that golf is “a marvelous old game that teaches timeless lessons while remaining new and different every time you play it.” A perfect sport for anyone, but especially for the young. For more information about the First Tee’s fall session, check its website, or call Mike Barber at (336) 580-4241. OH September 2013

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YEAR WE’RE PROUD OF YOU JANET *Named Tier 1 for Personal Injury litigation three years running

The attorneys and staff at Ward Black Law congratulate Janet Ward Black for the distinction of *Selection criteria located at being named 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” for personal injury litigation in Greensboro, NC by US News & World Report’s Best Lawyers®. This well-deserved honor is based on a rigorous peer-review process and demonstrates Janet Ward’s reputation for legal excellence, professionalism and integrity. We’re proud of you, Janet Ward!







DA N G E R O U S D R U G S & P R O D U C T S


18 O.Henry

September 2013

208 W. Wendover Ave. | Greensboro, NC The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The City Muse

Vinyl Haven

At the eclectic Center for a Better Greensboro on South Chapman Street, cool takes many forms

By Emily Frazier Brown

Solstice festivals and downtown

fireworks help to blunt the heat and humidity of a Carolina summer, but mere weeks into July, the City Muse begins to under-appreciate the everlasting days and the inescapable sunlight. Time to retreat into one of my favorite air-conditioned entertainment venues with my family, friends and wallet.

So on a particularly sweltering Thursday afternoon, I find myself skipping over a granite step and through the narrow doorway of CFBG, a record-art-jewelry-concert hall co-op (yes, really) on South Chapman Street. The walls of the Center for a Better Greensboro are a deep, slate gray — but almost literally covered in vinyl album covers along with beautiful, elaborate pieces done by Angelo Romano, an 80-year-old artist who uses his New York homestead for inspiration and materials. The painting behind the cash register was born out of a conversation Romano had with transgendered prostitutes by an upstate waterway. There is another near the “Funk” and “Soul” sections that was made out of a toilet bowl cover. They each greet you with three-dimensional explosions of color; some give the entranceway a hint of Spain, while others seem more like the inside of a psychedelic trip. CFBG opened in 2009 as a space where local bands could perform in a small venue. With the combined record collections of owners Max Benbassatt, Jack Bonnie and Harley Lyles, a vinyl shop emerged nearly a year ago, which has allowed CFBG to be open with weekly business hours. I dived into the record bins that line their walls in pursuit of a copy of the Avett Brothers’ The Carpenter, but I was derailed by the Silly Wizard’s So Many Paintings and a collection of Nigerian and Brazilian groups — one in particular clearly inspired by the Beatles (sans Lennon.) The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Max chuckled while I perused the bin assigned to foreign groups. He explained that although a large number of the international students who attend UNCGreensboro do come into the store, they actually prefer to buy Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and other American namesakes, because those are “much cooler presents” to mail back home. I was instantly reminded of the arguments my mother and I would have over her radio dial in the car. I contended, gesturing frantically with my hands, that even one more sing-along from her accompanying the Eagles’ Greatest Hits would result in my bursting into flames (or worse, being seen by my friends). I’ve grown more tolerant of both her sing-alongs and the Eagles since then, but it’s still hard to imagine that Don Henley arriving in my mailbox would be a sufficient way for a friend to express they’re missing me from across the Atlantic. Oversized loveseats invite patrons to curl up with their laptops, taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. You’ll see them occasionally trying to sneak their favorite albums onto the top of the pile to be played next over the store’s speaker system. Another record player rests by a glass cabinet in the storeroom, where one gentleman has gotten so lost in his headphones and the beat that he’s forgotten he’s in public — his arms are wiggling in a different direction and his hips are twisting, all the while his feet appear to be keeping time to an altogether separate song. Hanging to the right of his torso are prints and pieces of jewelry that have been offered to the store to sell on behalf of local artists. Beyond the storeroom is an enclosed garage that may as well be 115 degrees. Thankfully, during performances the garage door is swung open to allow the crowd to disperse throughout the half-in, half-out concert hall. The record-art-jewelry-concert hall co-op (I told you so) is sandwiched between an automotive garage and the Music Barn, ready to make anyone’s list of places to escape from extreme temperatures or into his or her favorite Madonna single. OH Emily Frazier Brown, who can be reached at, is a resident of Greensboro young enough to have never purchased a vinyl record that wasn’t vintage. September 2013

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Life’s Funny

The Shell Game

One man’s ocean find is another creature’s mobile home

By Maria Johnson

Calling it an island would be a stretch.

Long, thin and bristling with tall grass, it looked more like the fin of a sea monster surfacing in the sound. Along its muddy edges, oysters overlapped like plates of armor. It was low tide. That’s why we had kayaked over at midday, against the wind, to see the wonders apparent when the curtain of water receded. Our guide, a naturalist and former Coast Guard officer, pointed out the oyster beds, the worm holes, the discarded homes of various creatures. He lectured knowledgeably. My older son’s attention wandered. He took a few steps away from our cluster of orange life vests and picked up a large shell. One end was twirled like the peak of a soft-serve sundae. The guide’s voice caught. My son peered into the iridescent pink. “Can I have it?” he asked. “Let’s make sure it’s empty,” the guide said, softening to the teenage boy he’d once been. He squinted into the shell and tested its heft in his hand. “I think you’re OK,” he said, handing the shell back. Back at beachfront condo we shared with my parents, my son plunked the conch shell on a white plastic table on the balcony, our gallery for shells, sea glass, sand dollars and other prizes collected during the week. The next morning, I stepped onto the balcony with a cup of coffee and noticed the shell on the blue Astroturf of the balcony floor. Hmm. Had there been that much wind overnight? Blowing in that direction? How much wind would it take to blow a shell off a table? Maybe someone had knocked it off accidentally. Neither of those scenarios seemed probable. But I let it go. It was, after all, vacation. I picked up the shell, set it back on the table and went about my business of nothing. No matter which week we go, my family’s annual beach trip is the apex of summer’s arc, like the sun at high noon. Everything before the beach is morning, leading up. Everything after the beach is evening, falling away. Our week at the beach casts no shadows, asks nothing. It only declares with the crashing surf. Shush. Don’t worry. It’s not as big a deal as it seems. No wonder my parents spend so much time on the balcony, pointed to the water like gulls into the wind. The older I get, the more I find reasons to go out there, too. The day after our kayak trip, I pulled open the sliding glass door and stepped The Art & Soul of Greensboro

outside with lunch, a turkey sandwich wet with the juice of a tomato bought at a roadside stand. I sat with the paper plate in my lap and glanced at the plastic table a few feet away. The conch shell was almost at the edge. I chewed and swallowed. I had set the shell near the middle. I stared. Could it be? It was. Ever so slowly, the shell was moving. I picked it up and flipped it over to see a slimy gray foot retracting. I ran inside, trumpeting my find. “No kidding!” my father said, laughing. He looked relieved. “I thought I was seeing things.” The day before, he’d been on the balcony, and he’d seen the shell move. Or thought he had. He’d kept it to himself. Maybe he thought others would dismiss the story of a 91-year-old man, so he did it for them. It reminded me of my maternal grandfather, who once swore he saw a monkey lurking in the palm trees outside my aunt and uncle’s home in Florida. “You’ve been in the sun too long, Mr. Brown,” they teased him — until a neighbor announced that a pet monkey had indeed escaped. “Now who’s been in the sun too long?” my grandfather ribbed back. Clearly, our mollusk friend had been. I dashed across the street, conch in hand, to the sound and crept down to the water’s edge. I set the shell in just enough water to wet your feet — or foot if you’re a gastropod. I watched. Nothing. Was it too late? Picked up the shell and set it out deeper, until it was submerged. I held my breath as if I were the one underwater. Almost imperceptibly, just as it had moved across the plastic table before being twice thwarted, it moved across the mud. I went back to the same spot the next day, and of course the shell and its tenant were gone, whether by tide or scavenger or dint of the most primitive urge to survive. I like to think it was the last one. And I like to think of that shell whenever I need to remember that sometimes things are not what they seem. And that sometimes — as my father or grandfather would tell you — they are. OH Maria Johnson, a contributing editor of O.Henry, can be reached at mariamaria_ when she’s not at the beach. September 2013

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The Omnivorous Reader

David Being Sedaris More amusing monologues from the pen of a caustic modern master

By Stephen E. Smith

Apparently, I

do what almost everyone else does: When David Sedaris publishes a book, I begin reading it as soon as I can lay my hands on a copy. I’m always up for an occasional belly laugh, and given the backbiting and bickering that monopolizes our national discourse, it’s good we have a popular satirist to remind us that we’re capable of laughing at ourselves and each other.

It’s been five years since the publication of Sedaris’ last book of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames (I don’t count Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, a collection of modern fables), and the news regarding Let’s

Explore Diabetes with Owls is generally good. Sedaris’ scornful, self-effacing insights into the contemporary quirks of the human condition are as edgy and clever as ever, and he remains a master of verbal irony and the comic image, a commingling of P.G. Wodehouse’s syntactical wit and the situational slapstick of Jean Shepherd. In “Obama!!!!!” Sedaris satirizes the BBC’s response to the election of America’s first black president: “Barack Obama, who is black, is arriving now with his black wife and two black children, a group that will form America’s first black First Family, which is to say, the first group of blacks elected to the White House, which is white and not black like them.” And as always, he’s able to focus on the commonality of experience. In “Now Hiring The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Friendly People” he directs his wrath at those chatty slowpokes who queue up in front of us when we’re in a hurry: “I wanted to shout: DO YOU NOT NOTICE THAT THERE’S SOMEONE IN LINE BEHIND YOU? SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN STANDING HERE ROCKING BACK AND FORTH ON HIS GODDAMNED HEELS FOR THE LAST TEN MINUTES WHILE YOU AND THAT BRONTOSAURUS RUN YOUR STUPID MOUTH ABOUT NOTHING?” As in many of his earlier works, Sedaris’ father is much in evidence, slinking around in his boxers and commenting in the unflattering and insistent way fathers do, and his plainspoken mother lives on in her scoldings — “‘That’s right,’ she said. ‘I want you to marry someone exactly like me, with a big beige purse and lots of veins in her legs. In fact, why don’t I just divorce your father so the two of us can run off together?’” In a departure from his usual apolitical approach, Sedaris compares European and American health-care systems and chimes in on various political annoyances such as same-sex marriage and overzealous conservatives. And there are a good many essays that hearken back to his Raleigh childhood: “The better country club operated on the principle that Raleigh mattered, that its old families were fine ones, and that they needed a place where they could enjoy one another’s company without being pawed at. Had we not found this laughable, our country club might have felt desperate. Instead, its attitude was Look at how much money you saved by not being good enough!” He takes on race and sexual orientation, the drudgeries of air travel and book tours, taxidermy, and even attempts a scatological essay, “#2 to Go,” on bathroom habits in China. In his author’s note, Sedaris acknowledges the inclusion of “Forensics,” a form that’s a cross between “speech and debate” that students edit down September 2013

O.Henry 23


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to a predetermined length and recite aloud in a competitive forum. These are exercises in which Sedaris assumes the persona of fictional characters he wishes to take to task for their extremist beliefs. In “If I Ruled the World” a religious zealot, one Miss Cassie Hasselback, attacks those secular components of the culture that have strayed from what she perceives as Christian precepts: “I’ll crucify the Democrats, the Communists, and a good 97 percent of the college students. Don’t laugh, Tim Cobblestone, because you’re next! Think you can let your cat foul my flower beds and get away with it? Well, think again!” “Just a Quick E-mail” is a sarcastic thank you note sent to the ex-wife of the writer’s husband: “I myself would use it [the term ‘bitch’] to describe someone whose idea of an appropriate wedding present is a gift certificate for two pizzas! Offering it to your ex-husband, I can understand, but to your own sister? That’s just tacky.” The humor in these stories is derived from the discrepancy between what the character says and what we know Sedaris means, thus the underlying motivation is negative and will likely leave the reader with a feeling of being manipulated. Granted, the monologues are amusing, but only to those readers who disagree with the characters’ points of view. So what’s new in Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls? Not much. Over the twenty or so years I’ve been reading Sedaris, I’ve come to expect a modicum of artistic and intellectual growth which has failed to materialize. Certainly, he’s as funny as ever — it would be difficult to be much funnier and still maintain an acceptable level of readability — but he fails to bring a fresh perspective to his subjects. Since most of his humor is an attempt to conceal anguish, I find myself yearning for a greater degree of revelation. Instead, there’s a nagging sense that I’ve laughed at this before. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls has its share of hilarious moments, but hardcore Sedaris enthusiasts — the effete corps of impudent snobs who listen to NPR while tooling around in their BMWs — will probably find the collection mildly disappointing. I was left longing for the energy and insights I discovered in his earlier books, especially Barrel Fever and Naked, wherein Sedaris lifts the commonplace into the realm of poetry. OH Stephen E. Smith’s most recent book of poems is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro






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The Art & Soul of Greensboro



Over the past century many colleges have come and gone. So, making it to the ripe old age of 122 says a lot about an institution’s strength. Longevity, however, is just one of Meredith College’s assets. Since its founding, Meredith has helped strong, bright women become even brighter and stronger. Today, Meredith has grown into one of America’s Best Colleges (according to U.S. News, Forbes, and The Princeton Review) with undergraduate and graduate students from 31 states and 42 countries. In other words, we’re going strong. Go strong at

September 2013

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Hop Head

First in Liberty and Beer Brewer Todd Isbell has quietly climbed to the top ranks of North Carolina brewing

By David C. Bailey


Photograph by sam froelich

against forty-two brewers and 396 beers, Todd Isbell of High Point’s Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery was on his way off the stage at the Hickory Hops Brew Festival in April, having won first place in the best-in-show category for his American premium lager. But just as he got to the stairs, the announcer stopped him, saying, “Don’t go too far.” Second place winner in the 2013 Carolinas Championship of Beers? Todd Isbell with his American IPA.

What’s more, Isbell’s little-known, out-of-the-way brewpub, off Eastchester Drive on a side street in front of Oak Hollow Mall, also won three silver medals and five bronze medallions, making Isbell the winner of more medals at the festival than any other brewer in four of the past five years. Taking first place has thrust Isbell into the top ranks of North Carolina brewers. “Todd makes great beers,” says Steven Lyerly between pouring samples of his Extra Special Bitters at Greensboro’s Summertime Brews Festival. And his first place award, says Lyerly, master brewer at legendary Olde Hickory Brewery, was for a light lager, “which is very challenging to brew, and Todd hit it square on the head.” “Todd is making wacky, phenomenal, off-the-wall beers in this little brewpub in the middle of nowhere in North Carolina,” says Robert Owen, a sales rep at the well-respected Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, who was also at the festival, “and nobody knows about him but other brewers.” That’s sort of true if you don’t count his cadre of loyal ale and beer lovers, a mix of High Point University students and suits mixing with home-brewing nerds and workmen in khakis, who together, each year, drink almost every drop of the almost 900 barrels of beer Isbell brews. By contrast, WinstonSalem’s Foothills Brewing has a capacity to brew 25,000 barrels a year, reminding us that the word “microbrewery” still means something. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“We are definitely undersized and maxed out,” says the pink-faced, blue-eyed 39-year-old Isbell. “Hey, Mark and Jerry,” he says, picking up my digital recorder and raising his voice: “I need another fermenter.” (Mark Cumins and Jerry Scheer own Liberty Steakhouse and ten other restaurants under the Charleston, South Carolinabased Homegrown Hospitality Group, many of them in the Charleston and North Myrtle area, including TBonz Gill and Grill, Liberty Tap Room and Flying Fish Market & Grill.) Isbell grew up in a house quite literally built by beer. For sixteen years while Isbell was growing up, his father, Richard, was a production manager for Miller Brewing in Fulton, New York (his mother, Sandy, was a nurse). And when Isbell got an environmental engineering degree from Clarkson University in Potsdam, he attended on a $20,000 scholarship from Miller. Plus, because of times more tolerant to underage drinking — and his dad’s allowance of several cases of product a month — Isbell grew up sipping his dad’s and uncles’ beers (“Neither I nor Liberty Brewery condones underage drinking,” he says, commandeering my digital recorder once again). In high school, he admits to drinking Milwaukee Best with his pals, but he quickly adds they’d always buy one sixpack of an interesting import beer to go along with it. Adept at math and sciences, Isbell concentrated in college on hazardous waste management and remediation. His motive was altruistic: to land a “technical job doing something good; I’ve always been interested in a sort of saving-the-world concept.” But when he graduated $25,000 in debt and Miller closed his dad’s plant, Isbell decided to join the Army and take advantage of the government’s student loan repayment program. Stationed in Germany with the chemical corps, Isbell began an informal, self-guided post-graduate program, concentrating on the culture of yeast, the fine points of Bavarian yeast and the malting of barley: “We were stationed in the suburbs of Frankfurt and I was dating a girl. We would take long road trips all the time, visiting castles, art museums and breweries” — not necessarily in that order of preference. Steeped in history, Germany’s breweries appealed to Isbell’s latent love of history: Andechs Abbey, for instance, where monks have been brewing beer for something like 900 years. “It’s really neat to realize you’re in a beer hall that’s three times older than your country,” he says. In 2000, Isbell came back to the States and went to work for the private September 2013

O.Henry 27

Hop Head

engineering firm of Stearns & Wheler out of Cazenovia, New York. He found himself moving from project to project — “Have car, will travel” — and, with his new-found obsession for lagers, wheat beer and ale, from brewpub to brewpub. Meanwhile, he and a buddy began home brewing, transitioning from extract to all-grain. His best effort? A brown ale that included maple syrup a friend had made. In Syracuse he became friends with Andy Gersten, brewmaster of Empire Brewing Company, a venerable and prize-winning microbrewery known for its classic straw-yellow kölsch and dry Irish stout. “I went up to him one night and said, ‘Hey, do you need any help?’ He’s like, ‘Sure, right,’” having heard that a dozen time before. “‘What are you doing tomorrow morning?’ he said. ‘Can you be here at 8?’ I was there at 7:50 and helped him out for a year.” They must have made an odd couple, Isbell clean shaven and neatly coiffed for his day job, Gersten with long hair and an awesome goatee, toiling in Empire’s seven-barrel basement brewery, layered with steam and hot as Hades. “He would play really hard-core, heavy-metal music all the time, really loud. Luckily he would put Frank Zappa on every once in a while so I could get a reprieve,” Isbell recalls. “It was there that I fell in love with brewing. And that was when I also had the epiphany in life when I realized that money isn’t everything, and you have to do what you love.” Unmarried, untethered and having left his girlfriend in Deutschland, Isbell dropped environmental engineering, moved to California in 2004 and enrolled in the University of California at Davis’ master brewing program. He then headed straight to Colorado, ground zero at the time for small-batch, artisan breweries. In some ways, you could say Isbell worked his way from the Rock Bottom up, starting out there while sleeping on his brother’s couch while he “did a little bit of everything” at the renowned brewery’s flagship Westminster brewpub. Often working at two breweries at the same time, he landed a job as head brewer at Ironworks in Lakeland, Colorado: “beer so fresh you have to slap

it” — and home to the current Hop Killa IPA, which hitchhikes off of Isbell’s Hop Delivery Vehicle. “In two-and-a-half years, I never had the same recipe twice,” he says. “I brewed four times a month — 120 different beers.” In 2007, he applied for the job at Liberty, which was looking for someone to kick things up a notch. “They flew me up for the interview, and I was hired on the spot.” The trick, he says, was to improve the beers, one at a time, without offending regulars. “See that guy there?” Isbell says, indicating someone with his back to us at the bar. “He comes in almost every day and orders nut brown ale.” Almost any beer can be improved — unless you ask those who have become die-hard fans of it. “You have to be careful when you change the recipes and do it very slowly over time,” he says. “I changed the yeast on Miss Liberty Lager; I started bringing the fermentation temperature down over time.” Little by little, he perfected the recipe of every beer that’s served regularly — a lager, a wheat, an IPA, a red ale, a brown ale, an oatmeal stout and a blackberry wheat. Olde Hickory’s Lyerly praises, in particular, Isbell’s Blackberry Wheat, a barrel of which is sometimes on tap at his Olde Hickory Station. Its base is his very-popular-with-the-college-Shock-Top-loving crowd Deep River Wheat. Isbell adds eighty pounds of blackberry puree from Oregon, but don’t get the idea that it’s syrupy. “It’s really dried,” says Dan Morgan, owner of the homebrewers’ mecca, Big Dan’s Brew Shed. “The sugar in the fruit is fermented out.” It is, in fact, a surprisingly subtle beer with an almost champagne-like character.” Morgan says he eagerly anticipates Isbell’s two rotating seasonals. In September, he looks forward to Isbell’s Oktoberfest and Winterfest. “He’s always learning, always growing,” he says. Doing what he hoped he would do when he set his life’s goal in college: “saving the world” and “doing something good” — one beer at a time. OH David Bailey, senior editor of O.Henry, aka The Hophead, makes his world better, one beer at a time.

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10:39 AM The Art & Soul 8/9/13 of Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Street Level

Please, Mr. President, Pardon O.Henry Ask yourself, Mr. President, what would Teddy Roosevelt do?

150th anniversary of O.Henry’s birth. Interestingly, the two men made sure the application was based not on O.Henry being P.S. Ruckwrongly convicted, although many believe he was. man chuckles at the irony. O.Henry Instead, Ruckman and Henson argued O.Henry deserves a pardon because he was a first offender, wouldn’t have been amused though had been a model prisoner and had gone on to he was a master of irony. To help become a world-renowned success after he was freed from prison in July 1901. Two years were O.Henry, who was very secretive lopped off his sentence for good behavior. He had about having served time, Ruckman not a single demerit on his prison record. “We feel the compelling evidence of Porter’s has been telling the world the writer rehabilitation and his life of accomplishment was an ex-con. are more than enough to support our request,” For Ruckman, it started in November 2011 Ruckman and Henson wrote. on the day when President Barack Obama, with Furthermore, the two men pointed out that much fanfare, pardoned two turkeys from being O.Henry was a “master of surprise endings and his sentenced to serve as Thanksgiving dinner. life story deserves a better ending.” During the ceremony, the president quoted, alThe U.S. Pardon Attorney, Donald Rodgers, though not by name, one of the nation’s best short through whom all applications flow, summarily These are not the kind of bars Will Porter preferred. story writers, Greensboro native William Sydney rejected O.Henry’s pardon application. Porter, better known as O.Henry. September 11, by Rodgers surprisingly responded that Ruckman’s and Henson’s request was the way, marks the 151st anniversary of his birth. based more on O.Henry being wrongly convicted than on his rehabilitation. He “A great writer,” Obama said, in freeing the turkeys, once called Thanksgiving said with records of the trial incomplete it would require his office “to undertake the “one day that is ours . . . the one day that is purely American.” the difficult and time-consuming task of scouring the more than 100-year-old Whether he knew it or not, those lines came from “Two Thanksgiving Day conviction” to determine whether or not he was an innocent man. Gentlemen,” a short story O.Henry wrote for New York’s Sunday World newspaAs for O.Henry’s ability with the pen, Rodgers said, “Although Porter’s per on November 26, 1905. writing is certainly praiseworthy, his literary works in and of themselves do not Since his death in 1910, Will Porter, as he was known to friends, has been establish rehabilitation . . . .” He added he didn’t think Ruckman and Henson turned down several times for posthumous presidential pardons, despite writsupplied enough information about O.Henry’s rehabilitation. ing so many beloved short stories, including the Christmas classic “The Gift Here’s another irony. The same day Ruckman and Henson filed the applicaof the Magi.” tion for a pardon, the U.S. Postal Service, with much fanfare, honored O.Henry Before he became established as a writer with a pen name in New York in with a postage stamp celebrating his 150th birthday. 1902, Porter was convicted in Austin, Texas, in 1897 of embezzling from a bank “They can actually profit from his images,” Henson says. that had a record of sloppy bookkeeping practices. He was sentenced to five years Previous rejections of O.Henry were justified mainly on his being dead. In a in an Ohio prison. letter in 1985 to the late Jesse Helms, the pardon attorney (not Rodgers) indicated Ruckman, who teaches political science at Rock Valley College in Illinois, was posthumous pardons are rarely granted. flabbergasted that turkeys should be favored over O.Henry, while at the same Ruckman knew the task was daunting. Obama, despite being considered a time the president presumably thought enough of O.Henry to quote him. liberal, has been the most reluctant pardon granter of any modern president. In Last year, Ruckman and Scott Henson, an investigative blogger and 2012, he approved only thirteen. reporter from Austin, filed a lengthy application for a pardon. They went the By contrast, Theodore Roosevelt, president during the last nine years of formal route because they discovered that most of the other requests had been O.Henry’s life, granted more than a thousand. He likely would have approved more informal — letters from distinguished people such as North Carolina’s one for O.Henry had he been asked. Roosevelt was once quoted as saying that own former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms. Others came from the O. Henry as New York police commissioner the motivation for the reforms he attempted Museum in Austin. Austin is one of the Texas towns O.Henry lived in after on behalf of low-paid, overworked shop girls in New York came from reading leaving Greensboro at age 19. O.Henry’s stories. A formal application meant going through the office of the U.S. Pardon But while alive, O.Henry wasn’t about to apply for a pardon. That would have Attorney. An application is lengthy, demanding such information as all the meant revealing that he had been in prison in the first place, something practically known previous addresses of the pardon seeker and all known employers, dates no one in the New York publishing world was aware of, much less his loyal readers. included. All of this for a guy who has been dead 104 years. He even kept his prison record a secret from his daughter, Margaret, telling her he Ruckman and Henson submitted the application September 11, 2012, the

By Jim Schlosser


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Street Level was away writing short stories while he was actually in jail. The prison doctor said he had never encountered an inmate “so deeply humiliated by imprisonment.” As for Rodgers’ response, Ruckman was dumbfounded: Rodgers “misrepresented the application,” he says. “He turned down an application we didn’t write.” Henson goes on to say that Rodgers’ office has been chastised by the Department of Justice inspector general for failing to live up to department standards, though not on the O.Henry ruling. The inspector general complained that Rodgers’ office had failed to inform the president about how both a judge and a prosecutor favored clemency in a case in Florida. The inspector general wondered what other misleading information might have been given, or not been given, to the president in other cases. Calls for Rodgers’ ouster followed, but at the time of publication, he was still in office. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful. Despite Rodgers’ claim, Henson’s and Ruckman’s application is heavy on O.Henry’s good deeds before and after prison. Before the allegation of bank embezzlement arose, he had never had a run-in with the law. He was a loving father and husband and was well-liked in the Austin community, who loved his wit and the cartoons he dashed off. He sang in four church choirs. And he sang with a group that went house-tohouse serenading people, The Hill String Quartet. Yes, Will Porter jumped bail and fled to Honduras while waiting trial. But Ruckman and Henson point out that when he turned himself in, he was thought to be trustworthy enough to be allowed to remain free on bond and to go about town as he pleased. In prison, he was so trusted he was allowed to leave the main prison at will to go to adjoining administration buildings, walking the streets of Columbus, Ohio, as if a free man. As for habilitation, O.Henry moved to New York after prison and established himself as a major literary figure, writing several hundred short stories that were published worldwide and are still entertaining millions of readers. He made

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excellent money but was always broke, partly because he was inordinately fond of drinking, but also because he had a reputation as an easy touch for beggars and anyone in financial trouble. “He was clearly rehabilitated in every sense of the language, by any reasonable measure,” Ruckman and Henson wrote in their application. The two say Rudyard Kipling is the only short story writer who has sold more hardcover copies of his books. Yes, Henson and Ruckman admit, O.Henry had a drinking problem, one that contributed to his early death at 47. They say he would be defined by today’s standards as an alcoholic. He drank heavily in Austin before his arrest. One exaggerated account has him drinking a gallon of whiskey without removing his lips from the bottle. He also played the horses and before his marriage, was a lady’s man. But there are no accounts of anyone ever seeing O.Henry drunk or acting out of sorts. They also point out that one of the three counts of embezzlement actually happened eleven months after O.Henry left the bank. The authors go on to say that a first grand jury refused to indict O.Henry. He was indicted only after a federal bank examiner, determined to make someone an example at First National Bank of Austin, insisted that a second grand jury be called. A jury convicted Porter of embezzling funds, even though other bank employees and top officers were known to have taken money. He was convicted despite testimony from others that the bank’s practices were so “lax that the potential for error was very high.” O.Henry himself complained of the bank’s procedures. People could stroll into the bank, take money from the till and sometimes walk out without so much as an I.O.U. Although O.Henry was not present at the time of each and every one of the transgressions, the jury found him responsible because he was, after all, the cashier. Even the prosecutor and bank examiner consented they had no evidence

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level that any of the missing money went to O.Henry’s own use. The record showed that no depositor lost money at the bank. And it appears that whatever went missing, O.Henry paid it back, probably with loans from his father-in-law. Years later, the foreman of the grand jury and the foreman of the trial jury said they would have never indicted or convicted O.Henry based on what they later came to know. The presiding judge said the same. But there were a number of circumstances that made O.Henry look less than completely innocent. There was the matter of his skipping bail and going to Honduras for six months. He did, however, return when he learned that his wife, Athol, was close to death from tuberculosis. Also, O.Henry didn’t testify in his own behalf. Jurors are not supposed to consider that as culpable, but they do. Henson and Ruckman believe O.Henry didn’t testify because he was devastated over the loss of his wife. Henson is convinced that O.Henry was suffering from severe depression. He wouldn’t even communicate with his own lawyer. And he might have harmed his case if he had testified, Henson says, because his thoughts were so jumbled. A mock trial staged by the O. Henry Museum a few years ago acquitted Will Porter. Even if O.Henry “borrowed” some funds from the bank, Henson speculates it would have gone to support a magazine O.Henry started in Austin, Rolling Stone. The magazine was, in fact, a big money loser, but that didn’t stop the enthusiastic, would-be publisher from starting a second Rolling Stone in San Antonio. Henson says O.Henry was always broke, begging friends for loans and tapping his prosperous father-in-law for funds. Ruckman and Henson are doubtful O.Henry will ever be pardoned. For one thing, posthumous pardons are rare. And as long as Obama and Rodgers remain in office, chances seem slim to none for O.Henry. Besides, says Henson, “the granting of pardons has been declining for years . . . The executive clemency power is essentially withering on the vine.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Governors and presidents are declining to use that authority.” No one, nowadays, wants to appear to be soft on crime. This is regretful, the two say, because pardons and granting of clemency (reducing sentences) once had an important role in the judicial system. Henson and Ruckman insist that a pardon “is not a gift. It is earned.” Schoolteachers could teach students how pardons can be used as a reward for rehabilitation. One final piece of irony. Al Jennings, a confessed train robber and close friend of O.Henry, was never shy about bragging about his own lawless days. When Jennings applied for a pardon, Theodore Roosevelt granted it. Meanwhile, mark your calendars and get out your pens. Not a September will pass, professor Ruckman vows, without his filing an application for a pardon for O.Henry. And the more people who support his application with letters, the better chance it will have. Besides, Rodgers won’t be in office forever. Maybe someone who used to be read “The Gift of the Magi” each Christmas will come into office. If that happens, O.Henry may finally gain forgiveness for whatever misdeeds he may or may not have committed. Henson sums it up this way, “Eat the turkey, pardon O.Henry.” OH Contributing editor Jim Schlosser, who can be reached at, will be celebrating O.Henry’s birthday on September 11. O.Henry loyalists in Austin, Texas, and a professor in Illinois shouldn’t be the only ones fighting to secure a federal pardon for William Sydney Porter. Greensboro, too, has a stake in clearing the name of the literary icon best known as O.Henry. Join the effort. Email professor P.S. Ruckman at psruckman@aol. com or call him at 815-921-3392. You can also visit Ruckman’s blog that focuses on the broad issue of pardons at or read the 2013 application at

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Gate City Icon

Walking into History

A new educational initiative between the International Civil Rights Center and sponsors aims to bring 100,000 North Carolina school children face-to-face with events that shaped their lives.

By John Cruickshank

Cassandra Williams leans

forward, planting her palms on the front of her black suit skirt and, with a warm, understanding tone, addresses the kids who are about to see the famous Woolworth’s lunch counter.

She asks what “segregation” means. A small hand shoots up. “When people can’t be together.” Gesturing to a diorama showing four young black men sitting at a 1960 lunch counter in Greensboro, Cassandra, an exhibition tour guide, asks why they were not served when they sat down. A talkative, heavyset boy in a white T-shirt, athletic shorts and Velcro sandals raises his hand. “Because, at that time, black people couldn’t sit with white people.”

Photographs by Sam froelich


This fall, school buses will pour into downtown Greensboro. Where are they headed? To the site of the landmark sit-in initiated by the Greensboro Four, a group of freshmen from what was then the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina, now N.C. A&T State University. With help from foundations, private individuals and corporate sponsors, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, located in the former F.W. Woolworth building, has spent months putting together an ambitious educational initiative, Building a Better America Through Core Democratic Values. This new effort targets fourth-, fifth-, eighth- and eleventh-graders in North Carolina public schools. Students who are visiting the museum get in-class material from the museum before their visit, while in the museum and after they go back to school. Museum officials hope that as many as 100,000 students will participate in the first year. Fighting for the museum’s very financial survival, CFO John Swaine The Art & Soul of Greensboro

hopes that the initiative will further the institution’s educational mission while raising its profile across the state. “When the students come, we will give to them a return pass, so that they can come back to the museum with their parents,” Swaine says. He notes that visiting families give a revenue boost to all of downtown and that neighboring businesses are rallying around the museum to support the initiative. “We are a historic landmark, a museum and an educational resource, all rolled into one,” says Bamidele Agbasegbe Demerson, the center’s executive director. This summer, O.Henry dropped by the International Civil Rights Museum & Center (134 South Elm Street, Greensboro, (336) 274-9199 or to see what the experience is like for kids.


Kayla Beckett shares a bench with Dasia Hester and Kennedi Smith, waiting for the tour to begin. Their eyes explore the expansive lobby. The Art Deco interior is magnificent: high, intricately molded ceilings, etched mirrors, two-toned wood paneling, white columns, pebble mosaic floor tiles and long brass railings. An enormous, sepia-toned image of the A&T Four walking shoulder-to-shoulder is printed on the gift shop’s glass partition. “I expect this experience to be life-changing. Especially for these young men,” Kayla says, referring to her peers from John Avery Boys and Girls Club of Durham. “They’ll see what the other young men of the past generation have gone through for us to be able to come here and learn about them.” Behind her rectangular glasses are grown-up eyes, calm and keen. She wears her hair pulled back in a ponytail with a white bow. Her teal T-shirt reads “No Time For Haters.” “I actually did a little research on this museum because my mom says that everywhere you go, you should know something,” Kayla says. “I’m expecting to see a little bit of Jim Crow, especially lynchings, bombings.” “Miss Brittany, she’s been showing us some of the things,” she continues, referring to Boys and Girls Club coordinator Brittany Chambers, who is accompanying the kids on their tour. “We’ve seen bits and chunks, but I think, in this, we’ll get to see the whole story.” September 2013

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“So somebody tell me, really quickly: What did the A&T Four want to do?” Cassandra asks. “Integrate!” the kids call out, unsynchronized. Cassandra nods. “And show me what they wanted to do.” They interlock their fingers. This is the way she showed them. Integration: hands clasped. Segregation: hands apart, fingers wiggling. The audience consists of elementary school-aged children and chaperones from the Smithwick Chapel Year-Round Enrichment Program in Williamston, near the coast. Adults sit in two rows of folding chairs, kids cross-legged on the floor. The lunch counter diorama, on a low wooden table, faces the group. Cassandra and her assistant, Shenele Hinton, flank the display in handsome upholstered chairs. “Why are the prices so cheap?” the boy in the white T-shirt interjects, referring to the five and ten cent items listed on the menu in the diorama. “Because at this time, or through the 1960s,” Shenele says, “prices were much cheaper than what we have today.” “I wish I was there so I could get some of that cheap cherry pie.” “I know,” Shenele responds playfully. From behind the table, Cassandra pulls out a picture book, Freedom on the Menu, by Carole Boston Weatherford. It is the story of the Greensboro sit-ins as told by Connie, a little girl whose college-aged siblings become involved in the movement. Heads swivel from Cassandra reading to Shenele holding up the beautifully painted illustrations. “I heard one of them order ‘coffee and a doughnut, please,’” Cassandra reads. “‘I’m sorry, we can’t serve your kind,’ said the blondehaired waitress, wringing her hands. The boys didn’t budge.” At the end of the story, the kids clap. There are a few questions. Cassandra reviews how the Greensboro sit-in was sustained, from the Greensboro Four, then their classmates at A&T, students from Bennett College and Woman’s College (now UNCG), and over the summer, by students at Dudley High School. Meanwhile, similar sit-ins, many of them initiated and organized by students at black colleges and universities, were spreading like wildfire across the South.


Around a corner, there it is: the lunch counter whose original has not been moved since the day the sit-ins began. The room is large and dimly illuminated. The L-shaped counter spans two walls. Everything is painstakingly preserved and presented, down to the worn,

36 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gate City Icon vinyl seats of the fixed stools. Above a strip of cherry red molding midway up the wall is a full array of 1960s menu items. Pepsi for five cents. Turkey dinner for sixty-five cents. Cherry pie for fifteen cents, cheap indeed. Brittany has her hands crossed on her chest; the emotion seems to have surprised her. “This is amazing,” she whispers to her mother. “When they came here that evening,” exhibition tour guide Janet McCoig says of the A&T Four, “they thought they might get arrested and go to jail. They also thought they might get expelled from A&T. And they even thought they might face violence from other customers, from the employees or even from the police department. But they came here anyway and occupied four of these seats.” Greensboro police did not arrest them. “And the next day they came back,” she says. On screen, the sit-in is re-enacted. The events — from the first act of courage to the moment, nearly six months later, when the counter was integrated — are shown on a row of five flat monitors mounted behind the counter. The salt and pepper shakers, cake stands and sugar jars on the screens perfectly match those on the counter.


The passage to “The Battlegrounds” is a reproduction of the “Colored Entrance” to the old Southern Railway Depot in Greensboro, its blunt phrase looming large on an arch of brick and cement built into the wall. In Greensboro’s train station, as was once typical in the South, waiting rooms, ticket counters, bathrooms, lunchrooms were entirely segregated. A blueprint of the depot on the wall shows two separate stations under one roof. Separate, but hardly equal. The exhibit documents differences, some large, some insidiously small. A large photograph on the wall, looking forward from the back of a segregated train car, reveals that the overhead handles in the car’s white section are coated in shiny, durable white plastic, while those in the “colored” section are of a rubber and leather mixture prone to dry rot and breakage. “Of course, it seems like ancient history to them,” Cassandra tells me after the tour, “but when I think in my lifetime, fifty-three years ago, that the lunch counter was integrated, it doesn’t seem that long ago because I was born and raised in Greensboro.” She recalls that her father came downtown at the time of the sit-ins, while she and her sister stayed at home with their mother. She knows that for visiting children, the stories of her lifetime can be surprising and inspiring. “It makes you take on a personal responsibility The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

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Gate City Icon to make sure that there are no longer walls between people,” Cassandra says, “whether it’s here in America or across the world.”


The Boys and Girls Club group enters the “Hall of Shame.” It is a dark, serpentine hallway lined with glowing red lights. Disturbing images line the walls: Protestors being blasted with fire hoses. Three men hanging from a thick tree limb, a lynch mob thronged around them. A cross burning at a Klan rally. The Reverend Ralph David Abernathy standing by the firebombed remains of what was his home. A little girl lying in a hospital bed, her face disfigured by a bomb planted in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-yearold Emmett Till’s mutilated remains in his open casket. Each image glows on tiles that look like broken panes of glass. From hidden speakers, faint sounds of water gushing, people screaming, wood burning. The children’s faces are slack, pupils dilated. Kennedi covers her mouth with one hand when she sees the lynching scene. Brittany nods grimly when she comes to the image of Emmett Till. It can only get better. Next is the “Walk of Courage,” where we see a video re-enactment of the Greensboro Four reviewing their plans in a dorm room at A&T, the night before they begin the sit-in. Later on, there are exhibits titled “The Church and the Movement,” “Courts and the Quest for Justice.” Oppression gives way to action. The final exhibit is “A Changed World,” a photo collage of significant people in the history of civil rights, all forming a large image of President Obama. Janet points to individuals, asking the kids to identify them. Frederick Douglass. Gandhi. Harriet Tubman. Jackie Robinson. Shirley

Chisholm. Each of the Greensboro Four — Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr., now known as Jibreel Khazan, and David Richmond. W.E.B. Du Bois. John F. Kennedy. Fannie Lou Hamer. Thurgood Marshall. The kids know nearly every one.


The Boys and Girls Club group is outside, boarding their bus back to Durham. I catch up to Kayla. Her voice almost quavers. She says the visit has changed her perspective. “You can’t assume that just because a person’s white that they have a grudge against black people,” she says, alluding to the collaboration among races she saw in the Greensboro sit-in and the civil rights movement at large. “You just have to be willing to experiment and meet different people.” “A lot of times, we talk about it, but [we, as students] don’t get to see it. Coming here and seeing it, here in color, is completely different,” Brittany says. “When I told [the other students] where we were going, they were excited. They want to know their history.” It’s a history that seems to have impressed these kids in an uncommon way. “I’m going to behave really differently,” Smithwick Chapel fifth-grader Rashid O’Neil says, “because I know what African-Americans have been through.” “Everybody came all together, and we all agreed on the same value. To treat everybody fairly. And nice.” OH John Cruickshank is a native of Greensboro and a student at UNC Chapel Hill. He can be reached at


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The Sporting Life

Three Best Friends The good Lord gives us dogs to teach us how to live

By Tom Bryant

My old yellow Lab, Mackie, died

in 2006, the year I retired from my day job at The Pilot newspaper down in Southern Pines. She was 14. She had been sick for a long time, developing diabetes during her last year. She struggled the last couple of months and I would have to give her shots of insulin. The week before she left us, I put her in the back of the Bronco and drove her out to the farm we leased for dove hunting. I parked at her favorite spot and helped her down out of the back of the truck. I pulled out my dove stool and sat back in the pines that bordered the field. She sniffed around, did her business, walked out into the cut cornfield a short way and came back to sit beside me. We sat there looking over the field to the far tree line. No birds were flying with the exception of a lone red tail hawk. We really didn’t expect to see any doves since the season was long over, but we watched for thirty minutes or so. With a sigh, Mackie finally lay down. In just a little while, I picked her up and put her back in the Bronco. She couldn’t have weighed more than thirty pounds.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The following Friday morning, I called the vet and told him that Mackie couldn’t get up. He said it was time to let her go. When we arrived at his office, one of his assistants met me in the driveway. I opened the back of the Bronco, picked up Mackie and put her in the assistant’s outstretched arms. The lady smiled sympathetically and said they would take real good care of her. I couldn’t say anything. I got back in the Bronco and drove out to our farm to the same spot where Mackie and I had parked the week before, pulled out my dove stool and sat there by that lonesome cut-over cornfield. The big red tail hawk still circled over the south end of the little cut that opened to the pond. I had a huge lump in my throat that just wouldn’t go away. Losing my friend and hunting companion was hard. I didn’t lease the farm for several years. Joe, the owner, was kind enough to let me cut Christmas greenery every winter, and those were the only times I went back to Mackie’s favorite hunting spot. That is, until this year. I decided to call about leasing the land again. Joe, in his country gentleman’s manner, said, “Sure, Tom, you’re always welcome. Come on by here and get a key.” So I’m back in the business. It’s going to be good to walk around that familiar farm again. My life’s calendar can be arranged around three dogs. When I was 7 and in the third grade, my dad surprised me one morning with a soot black, curlycoated retriever puppy. I named him Smut. He was 8 weeks old, and he and I became practically inseparable. It was the perfect time to grow up in Pinebluff, and Smut and I roamed the area from the railroad tracks to the east to Addor to the south. We were foot loose and fancy free. Smut wasn’t the best hunting dog or even the best behaved. Sometimes he wouldn’t come when I called, he would look back at me as if to say, “Look, I’m busy right now. I’ll be there in a minute.” He had a mind of his own, all right. On Sunday morning if I didn’t get him in the basement before the church bells started ringing, he would meet us at the church steps. More than once he barged through the swinging doors to the sanctuary and the preacher would September 2013

O.Henry 41

Celebrating the life of a loved one.

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September 2013

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The Sporting Life have to stop his sermon, amid snickering from the kids, and ask me to take Smut home. Smut and I grew up together. Somewhere Mother has an old photo of Smut and me taking a snooze in the front yard of our Pinebluff home. We’re both stretched out in the shade, supine on the pine straw. I’m using his flank as a pillow like we were both puppies. Smut died at the age of 14. I was a sophomore in college. It was my first experience with the death of someone close to me. It was a while before I got my next furry friend. My business partner, Jim Lasley, and I had just started a little weekly newspaper in Alamance County. We were both putting in long hours, trying to make a go of the fledging endeavor. It was rough duty. Jim had always had bird dogs when he was growing up but was without one at the time we started the paper. Needing a diversion, he bought Sandy, a little golden retriever puppy, and that got me to thinking that I needed another dog. I found out about Paddle in an advertisement in the Retriever News magazine. She was from a small kennel in Pennsylvania, and when I called the owner, he said she was the third puppy in a litter of six and was the last one left. He promised to ship her in two weeks. On a Wednesday morning, I picked up my new friend at the Raleigh Airport. She was 9 weeks old, a cute little yellow fur ball. Little did I know at the time that Paddle would become not only the smartest dog that I had ever owned, but one of the smartest I’d ever seen. Coincidentally, five of my hunting friends acquired retrievers at the same time Paddle came to live with us, so every weekend that spring we would be down at the Alamance Wildlife Club training dogs. There was a golden, a black Lab, two yellow Labs and a Boykin spaniel. All those puppies grew up to be some of the finest retrievers in the area and made all of us extremely proud. Paddle and I lived together for fourteen wonderful years until she, too, left us. She passed away peacefully one evening. Tommy, our son, was home from college, and he and I found her in her doghouse the next morning. He took over and buried her for me in a shady corner of our lot. I was too emotional to help. I think that the good Lord gives us dogs to teach us how to live. I know that the three who have lived with me have certainly helped. And now that I’m entering the supposed golden years, I’m going to see if I can get one more little yellow puppy to show me the way. 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.

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Then and Now

Baby’s First Steps At iconic Sills Shoes, a good fit makes for great memories

By Carole Perkins

While cleaning out my

attic recently, I opened a pale blue box I hadn’t seen in years. Nestled inside were three pairs of white, sturdy baby shoes, dubbed Walkers for being the best fit for a baby’s first steps. I smiled to myself as I took each pair of my three daughters’ Walkers out and found the size stamped on the supple leather inside the shoe. One pair had the size 4D on the left shoe and 4E on the right shoe, measurements taken by expert shoe fitters at Greensboro’s iconic children’s shoe store Robt. A. Sills Co. Inc.

I fondly recall the small gurgling fountain in the store window and how my daughters loved tossing coins into it. Green leather couches, circa 1960, lined one wall. Another wall featured black-and-white scenes of Old Greensboro in the 1800s and 1900s, including pictures of the store in four of the five locations it’s occupied since the company’s founding in 1905 as Ward Shoe Company. Namesake Robert A. Sills managed the store for years and changed the name to Robt. A. Sills Co. Inc. when he bought it in 1922. After World War II, Sills’ son Walter took over the family business. In 1964, the store was moved to Irving Park Plaza. That same year, the elder Sills died and Walter Sills became owner. Well-known around town for his appreciation of history, Walter Sills decided to sell only children’s shoes, having developed a great interest in the proper fitting of children’s shoes during the polio epidemic in 1948 when he helped fit shoes on children recovering from polio. When the younger Sills died in 1999, his longtime assistant David Newnam became manager. Newnam fondly recalls how as a teenager, he and Walter Sills would ride around town, with Sills pointing out landmarks and places where people he knew had lived. “He was huge into Greensboro history,” Newnam says. “That’s why we have pictures of old Greensboro here in the store. Walter even wrote and published two books that were memoirs and anecdotes of his time growing up in Greensboro. Whatever funding he made from the book sales went straight to benefit the Greensboro Historical Museum.” Except for the ages of Newnam and long-time employee Terrie Jarrett, little has changed about the shoe store over the years. That’s especially true of the personable and personalized service. Newnam straddles a green leather stool so he can

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

measure the feet of a 4-year-old girl named Reagan. “Whatcha been doing this morning, Reagan?” he asks. “That sure is a pretty bow in your hair.” As Newnam goes to find the right size shoe for Reagan, she jumps from her spot on the sofa to Newnam’s stool. “Hey, you’re in my seat!” Newnam playfully chides as Reagan jumps back to the sofa next to her dad. “Can I wear my new shoes home today?” Reagan asks her parents. They agree and she picks out a red balloon, which Newnam blows up for her. Customers Andrea and Damon Smith sit patiently on the green leather couch. Both parents were brought into Sills as children, and they continue the tradition with their four boys, ranging in age from 6 months to 9 years. “You can’t find shoe companies like this anymore,” Andrea Smith says. “You just don’t get this kind of service anywhere else.” As Jarrett is measuring the boys’ feet, Newnam gives them lessons in how to perform magic tricks. The boys look on in rapt fascination as he appears to remove the end of his finger — and then miraculously reattaches it. He then shows them how it’s done. “It’s all about doing it the right way,” he tells them. That’s the kind of philosophy that keeps Sills in business despite competition from chain shoe stores, big-box retailers and Internet providers. In the mid-1990s, the peak of Sills’ success, customers had to take a number when they came in and hope for a spot on the couch. Things have slowed down a bit, not so much because of the recession, Newnam speculates, but because people don’t dress up as much as they used to. For Newnam, the need for a separate store that sells children’s shoes is simple: “As an adult you know how your shoes are supposed to fit, but children won’t be honest. Sometimes they say they fit just because they like the shoe.” Sure, you can buy shoes for less at any number of places, he says, “but we provide a guarantee that the shoes will fit properly.” Newnam, 60, is determined to keep the store afloat. “I’d like to keep it going as long as I can,” he says. “Somewhere along the line you don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m too old to make changes to the store, but if someone else wanted to take over and make the changes, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.” I think about change, uncertainty and getting older as I place each of my daughters’ Walkers lovingly back in the pale blue box, thinking that if this box could talk it would tell the tales of twenty-some years of laughing girls who pursed their lips and blew bubbles from plastic rings in the driveway of their childhood home, only to move into a fancier home where trouble sneaked up and dealt a hard blow. I wish I could buy them Big Girl Walkers to steady their feet in turbulent times. I wouldn’t mind a pair myself. In the meantime, like the toddlers trying on their Walkers from Sills Shoes, we will find our way, one baby step at a time. OH Carole Perkins, who can be reached at, loves telling stories, in print and in person, about her hometown, her children and The Avett Brothers band. September 2013

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1 46OHenry-Sep2013.indd O.Henry September 2013

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Life of Jane

The Great (Wall) Debate Who you are in modern China depends on many things, including ancient customs

By Jane Borden

Her name was Emily.

That wasn’t her name. It was one of her names. It’s complicated.

I’d splurged for a private tour of the Great Wall of China and my guide, a student at a Beijing university, introduced herself as Emily. I asked for her Chinese name, repeated it until I nailed the pronunciation, and then acquiesced to her suggestion that I call her Emily anyway, a pattern I’d grown accustomed to since landing in Beijing two days earlier. The Hyatt employees wore name tags reading Tabitha, Kevin, Susie, Steve, I assumed, for the ease and comfort of their predominantly Western clientele. And when our pressjunket handlers and ambassadors had English names on their business cards, I figured it was just another way in which media are coddled. But when Emily, halfway through our hike, got into a shouting match with an elderly woman, I decided she wasn’t one to kowtow or put on airs, and, consequently, that I may not have figured out this English-name thing after all. The elderly woman started it, really. I would’ve just given in to her demands. But Emily was rigid. We’d reached a section of the wall far off the beaten path, as the tour advertised. The massive restoration plan under way at the time, in 2008, hadn’t yet touched these patches of crumbling stone and wood. We walked carefully, and in solitude; no one else had come to this section. Except the elderly woman, who sat in the shade of a guard station. In weathered garments, with deep lines in her face like those on a piece of paper someone has crumpled into a ball and then tried to put right, she stood, a rounded presence hobbled over a cane, and said something in what I guessed to be Mandarin. Emily replied cordially. And then they started shouting. This continued for several exchanges before my guide paused to say that the woman demanded a toll. This was insufficient explanation as we’d passed a toll collector previously, whom Emily had paid. We’d bypassed the sanctioned tourist entry to the wall by hiking up the hillside through private land, which the owner allowed in exchange for a small price. Halfway up, we’d met an elderly woman — who looked remarkably like the one on the wall, replete with cane, and weathered garments and face — who’d extended her hand, leading Emily to cheerily place a few coins in it. In between shouts, I asked how this was different. As Emily explained it, the wall is owned by everyone. And that was that. Basically, this woman was trying to make a buck off clueless tourists. I didn’t ask, but I’d bet that if she’d begged on the street, Emily would have tossed her some change. On the wall, however, she’d unwittingly engaged Emily in an ideological battle between the individual and the state. And Emily wasn’t backing down. I was uncomfortable with the altercation and suggested we turn back. Emily responded by ignoring me. So I assumed we’d push past the woman and continue our hike. Wrong again. Emily took her backpack off and remarked that this was the perfect spot for lunch.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

So we sat. Two feet from the elderly woman. Making small talk as if it hadn’t happened, as if she weren’t there. Intermittently, she’d speak, returning to the argument, I presume, since each time Emily replied in shouts, and then turned back to me smiling, finishing her answer to my question regarding studies or travel. Meanwhile, the woman sat there, sullen but not returning to her shaded perch, not giving up. And I looked around to strengthen my slipping sense of existing in the three-dimensions of the earthly plane. It was a candid-camera experience, an analogy I use because it felt like I was on a prank show, yes, but also because it was a situation in which I had no agency. Nothing I could do would affect the situation in any substantial way. I didn’t understand the centuries of cultural and socio-political developments that created the current sense of community and individuality in China. I didn’t even speak the language. I didn’t know how to get home. So I sat and chewed, a pawn helping Emily make one giant, passive-aggressive point. I could have been anyone. We were atop one of the wall’s peaks. It runs along a mountainous ridge of hills, rolling up and down the topography. From its base, the wall isn’t much to look at. It’s the view from on top that punches you in the lungs. At 5,500 miles long, it took hundreds of years to build and hundred of thousands of workers’ lives, and even so, as a protective blockade at least, it only kind of worked. A sweaty, fruitless effort. From one of its many hilly peaks, it appears to go on infinitely in both directions. But of course it doesn’t. When we finished lunch and started packing to leave, back the way we came, the elderly woman tried one more time to extract her tax, soliciting one more principled down-dressing. And then we left, never speaking of it again. Back home, I investigated the prevalence of English names in China. It turns out that, frequently, they’re given or chosen at the start of English class, the same way American Camerons and Katelyns become Carloses and Colettes in Spanish and French classes. But then, unlike in the States, the foreign names stick. This is in part because of a rising interest in economic, a practice associated with the West. But even so, the larger explanation for the adoption of these names, from what I understand at least, is that the Chinese already have several other names for themselves. Depending on which generation is speaking to you, or where you are in life, or with which places you’re associated, you are called a different name. The individual is modified by the context. I’d always taken my name to be a fixed part of my identity. In China, it seems, identity is more elusive. I thought Emily was telling me this is what she was called, who she is. But perhaps she only meant it’s who she was on that hike. So it was. And also it wasn’t. As for the elderly woman, she disappeared, it seemed to me, back into the wall itself. And I never caught her name. OH Jane Borden is a native of Greensboro and the author of the highlyacclaimed memoir I Totally Meant To Do That.

September 2013

O.Henry 47

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September 2013

Dream Defense Monsters can show up at night . . . They have glaring all-white eyes, ragged, rotting faces. Fortunately I learned by accident that they hate poetry so I manage to pelt them with silver apples of the moon, golden apples of the sun, trample them with two vast and trunkless legs of stone. I confront them with what the angel wrote for Ben Adhem. They do not like to have the woods fill up with snow or see wolves opening cold, sober eyes. And if all else fails I can threaten them with a runcible spoon.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

‚ Isabel Zuber

September 2013

O.Henry 49

Everywhere Man

Brilliant and internationally acclaimed for his revolutionary art, Greensboro’s Noé Katz remains high above it all and something of an unknown treasure in his adopted home. But probably not for long. By David C. Bailey • Photographs by Stacey Van Berkel


ne day as a youngster, Noé Katz, arguably the most celebrated artist in Greensboro that nobody knows about, made a rare visit to the workshop in Mexico City where his father cut the diamonds that had provided him with the cash to escape Nazioccupied Poland and had supported the Katz family ever since. Approaching his father’s worktable, the already artistically inclined Katz was mesmerized by an uncut diamond the size of a walnut. As he gazed into the labyrinth of flashing light and alternating colors, the boy’s mind posed the same question that most of us would have had: “Instantly I asked, ‘How much is it worth?’ because it was a very big diamond,” Katz recalls. His father looked up from his work, “and he was very mad. He said, ‘You never ask the price, you look at the beauty of the stone. You must first look at the beauty of things.’” Though Katz was 12 at the time, his memory of the exchange is as clear as the stone that he coveted. His father loomed over him, jeweler’s loupe in one eye, a stern look on his face. “I asked him, ‘What is beauty?’ And you know what he answered me? That you will have to seek that all your life. That you will have to find what’s beautiful on your own. That you will have to fight to understand beauty.” Katz’s lifelong struggle to understand the nature of beauty has led him all over the world — to a kibbutz in Israel just after high school, where he connected to European Jewry and became a citizen of the world; to Florence, where he studied Renaissance art; to San Diego, where his uncles lived and where he was introduced to emerging American artists; to Barcelona, where he worked on a commission and studied the works of world-famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi;

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Hidden Silence The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Little Matador

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

to Japan, where he designed the monumental gates of a modern art museum . . . The list of where he’s exhibited goes on and on — Paris, Miami, New York City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco. But for the present, it has brought him to Greensboro, to a studio on the 14th floor of the Center Point Building downtown. “I love this view,” he says, standing on his balcony one sunny day, with Greensboro and the leafy, green expanse of Piedmont North Carolina receding into the distance. “There’s the library, there’s the historical museum,” he says, pointing. But “Close the door, and it’s so very quiet.” Each morning, as the rising sun spills through his studio windows, Katz, 60, goes to work — laying in a razor sharp line on a half-finished canvas using a brush so small the bristles are almost invisible — or adding another eccentric flourish to the violin that maestro Zubin Mehta asked him to paint for an auction benefitting the Israel Philarmonic Orchestra. But why Greensboro? That answer involves his eldest son, his wife and his lifelong search for a place where he can create beauty unhampered. Better first to ask him, “Why North Carolina?” “James Taylor,” he says, with a Ricky Ricardo-like burst of irrepressible laughter. As a boy on his way to becoming a classical guitarist, Noé discovered Taylor’s music: “I became a huge fan,” he says almost reverently, “so you see, I’ve had North Carolina on my mind for a long time.” Back in 1941, had it not been for a chance business trip to Antwerp, the diamond capital of Europe, Noé’s father, Moses Katz, would have been shipped off to Auschwitz with the rest of his family by the Nazis. From Antwerp, a close friend who happened to be ambassador of El Salvador managed to get Katz a counterfeit passport and passage on a ship bound for America. But the ship he was traveling on was diverted to Cuba after it was threatened by U.S. warships. In Havana, Moses Katz, in his 30s, set up shop, cutting and trading in diamonds during the war until a doctor advised him to move to Mexico City for his health. There, Moses married a second-generation Polish immigrant, a gifted pianist named Cecilia. They settled in the Colonia Condesa neighborhood, which would later develop into Mexico City’s trendy artist quarter. “He wanted to have five children — two girls and three boys — because he lost all his family,” Katz says. Noé came along in 1953 and grew up in Condesa’s close-knit Jewish community, attending public schools and playing soccer in the nearby Parque Mexico among an international mix of children, most of them immigrants. At age 17, he and his guitar set out on a backpacking tour of Europe and the Middle East, ending up in Israel, where he lived in a kibbutz for four months. “I met a lot of people,” he says, “from Holland, Poland, South Africa and Argentina.” It was then that Katz realized he wanted to be someone who somehow walked upon the world’s stage, who was an international player. Katz can’t remember when he wasn’t interested in visual arts. “I remember going downtown with my father and seeing the murals of Diego Rivera and [José Clemente] Orozco,” Katz says. “‘What is this?’ I wondered. ‘Can one human being paint that?’” The graphic and horrific depiction of the depredations carried out against Mexicans by colonial powers, painted by native Mexican artists, had a powerful impact on the youthful Katz: “That was a huge, huge inspiration,” he says. “I suddenly realized that the importance of art was not in buying a painting to hang in a house, but that public art is very important to understand the world in which we live and to understand the past and future.” Katz talked his parents into letting him attend Mexico City’s prestigious School of Fine Arts and Design. “They were completely in fear that I was going to be an artist,” he recalls. And why wouldn’t they? Katz’s artistic senThe Chile Woman

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O.Henry 53

sibilities emerged during a tumultuous and politically charged era in Mexico’s history. On the eve of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, while Katz was still in high school, the military massacred hundreds of student demonstrators in Tlatelolco Square, spawning a series of guerrilla movements throughout the 1970s that left Mexico in turmoil and resulted in hundreds of leftists “disappearing” or being imprisoned. While still in school, Katz, on the one hand, formed a blues band with fellow students, and yet also painted a mural inside the school that was a forceful indictment of fascism and political repression. Fresh out of art school in 1976, Katz painted canvas after canvas, exhibiting his work in Mexico City and mounting a one-man show in San Diego. In 1977, he began designing books, book covers and posters for the publishing houses of Editorial Hermes and Editorial Patria as a graphic designer, a sideline that has helped him, over the years, pay the bills. In 1978, he won a grant from the Italian embassy to study for two years at the Fine Arts Academy of Florence. The steep trajectory of his art career clearly indicates how talented Katz is, but luck, he says, played a huge role in his becoming a globally recognized artist. That he’s totally charming never hurt. Just after he arrived in Florence, wondering how he would afford to live there for two years, he happened to be standing in a bus line. “Suddenly a person started talking to me in Italian, and I answered with my Mexican accent,” Katz recalls. “He said, ‘What are you doing here?’ And I said, ‘I came to study in the academy of art where Michaelango’s David is.’” When he learned that Katz didn’t have a place to stay, his new friend wondered if he’d like to stay in an apartment he had that happened to be for rent. “You can’t imagine, he rented me an incredible apartment in front of the Duomo. It turns out this guy was the owner of the most important avant-garde gallery in Florence, maybe in Italy.” What’s more, a rotating cast of international artists visiting the gallery and Florence shared the flat with Katz, opening up to him a lifelong network of contacts from all over the world. Katz came back to Mexico City at the end of two years, overwhelmed by Florence’s tourists. “You are surrounded by art, but at the same time, you are surrounded by thousands and thousands of tourists.” In Florence he learned that where an artist lives is all-important. “With art, you have to be very aware of your emotions,” he says. “You need to be free and calm. A city can rob you of your energy. New York is impossible. Florence and Paris, too. You can get trapped by negative energy.” He found his own apartment/studio in Colonia Condesa and set about establishing himself as a international artist. After winning competitions in Oaxaca and Guanajuato in 1982 and 1983, he traveled to Barcelona in 1986 to create a series of lithographs that had been commissioned. A number of solo exhibits in Miami, New York and Pittsburg followed. A mural he painted in 1992 caught the attention of the iconic Mexican critic Raquel Tibol, who praised Katz for “wishing to break with orthodox classifications” and experimenting with material and space. But his reputation as a world-class artist arose from big commissions for a number of monumental sculptural works, a stainless aluminum piece at the Fiesta Mexicana Hotel in Mexico City, for instance. Or an invitation by the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach to create a 700-pound, permanent steel sculpture that was placed at the very entrance to the museum’s sculpture garden. But the humongous twin doors, each weighing a ton each, at the entrance to the Tokoro Modern Art Museum in Japan perhaps best illustrate the measure of difference that Katz delivers with his art. The doors, one a gigantic face of a man in profile, the other of a woman, slide open along the ground, making them the host and hostess of the museum. When they’re opened, the couple is apart. When they’re brought together, it’s as if the couple were kissing. “Yes,” says Katz, “my art has a lot of humor in it. It’s like that old saying, ‘If we don’t laugh, we cry.’” Katz, his wife, Yoheved, and his three children might have happily lived out their lives in Mexico City had not their oldest son, Guilad, decided to go to school in the United States. After reviewing a number of choices, he chose Greensboro’s American Hebrew Academy. Guilad loved it. “I’d never heard about Greensboro,” Katz says. But he and his wife, were soon making regular visits to Greensboro. “We started to come to see him,” Katz recalls. “One day my wife told me,

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The Politician

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Kissing Doors

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Memories of Venice

The Swimmer

‘Listen, I think we’re going to live here.’ And I said, ‘What, are you kidding?’ I’d have to change everything, my studio, my friends, my life.” Reminding him of Mexico City’s overcrowding, its pollution, its paucity of trees and lack of nearby natural areas, she gradually talked him into relocating. “I asked my wife, ‘How am I going to find inspiration here?’ And you know what she told me? ‘Cezanne went to Aix en Provence when it was nothing. From now on look at the trees. Look at the lakes. And look at the people. Who told you that inspiration can only come from neurotic cities?’” His wife went on: “She said, ‘I don’t want to live in a big city. It’s very quiet here. People are nice.’ I said ‘OK,’ but I was completely in fear.” Katz moved everything but couldn’t let go of his beloved studio in Colonia Condesa, which also preserved his connections in the art world there. Their arrival in the middle of the hot North Carolina summer turned his world upside down. “The first seven months, I felt like a zombie, no energy, no work. Some days I couldn’t believe what I had done.” But he made himself get out and meet people while he looked for a studio. Katz found studio space in Greensboro dark and depressing, most of it in converted warehouses and abandoned buildings. “ I didn’t want to work like that.” “You have to be very careful with your energy. Do you believe in feng shui?” Katz asks, referring to the traditional Chinese philosophy of aligning buildings and interiors in a way that promises to produce harmony and bring success. “The energy of a place is very important. When I saw this building, it was my savior.” Katz happened upon the Center Point Building one day when a friend The Art & Soul of Greensboro

stopped off at her apartment to pick up the purse she’d forgotten. “When she opened the door and I looked out the window, I said, ‘Wow. It’s beautiful.’” Katz bought his 1,600-square-foot apartment, spare and angularly elegant, within months and moved his brushes, paints and unfinished paintings into it. “I came here and I installed my things and started to work. My energy came back instantly,” he says. “I really wanted to have a place facing the direction where the sun rises. The entrance is here; the sun rises there. It allows me to work all morning. I love this light.” But Katz’s father was right about the quest for beauty: “Believe me, it’s a day-by-day fight to be an artist,” Katz says. “You have to have creativity. You have to have imagination every day.” Now that Katz has settled into Greensboro, he wants the community to know he’s here, which is why he introduced himself to O.Henry magazine. In April, Greenhill gallery is planning a two-man show featuring Katz’s work in conjunction with the landscape paintings of John Beerman. Katz is also designing a poster for the Greensboro Symphony. He has come to love Greensboro and to see it as his Provence: “Greensboro is a beautiful place. It’s small, no traffic and the downtown is very walkable. The environment is very calm, and it is very quiet. It’s inspiring.” But he would like to see more art on display in his newly adopted home. “That’s the thing; in Greensboro we need more art, not just malls.” A city, after all, is defined by its art: “Without the art you don’t understand anything about a city,” he says. “It’s just a bunch of stones.” OH September 2013

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SideBar: Who is Noé Katz, you may be asking, and what’s the big deal? The short answer is, he’s one of Mexico’s most influential artists. That’s according to a February story in The Jerusalem Post, which goes on to say that you can’t characterize Katz’s work under a single style, such as abstract or figurative or conceptual or surrealistic. Katz, the Post says, “infuses a variety of approaches in his creations.” Don’t try to pigeonhole him, Katz says, looking out over the Greensboro skyline, surrounded by paintings that defy pat classification. “Art can’t be channeled in one direction. You can’t say I only make conceptual art. If you are an artist, you can make whatever you want.” Katz’s strength, says art critic Cristina Hijar Gonzalez in a long scholarly article, is “he does not stagnate or conform.” One art critic says Katz’s paintings have “a childlike appearance that turns out to be deceiving as one goes beyond the first visual impression.” “The notable architectural commissions Katz has produced in Mexico and Japan,” says Edie Carpenter, director of the Greenhill gallery in Greensboro, “corresponded to the artist’s desire to bring his work into the public sphere.” Of the large glass windows that look out over the heart of Greensboro, she says, “It’s appropriate because his distinct figurative style places man often in connection with a stylized landscape or architecture, much like the geometric street grids and curving paths viewed from his studio window.” Though Katz’s art is vividly underpinned by political tension, it is never without a sense of irony or outright humor. Getting people to laugh, Katz believes, is a direct path to communicating with them. But make no mistake, “I believe that art itself is definitely revolutionary,” he says. And don’t even think about asking Katz what his art means. That’s up to you, his one-person audience: It is a “dangerous thing,” he says, “to ask one-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

self, what does the artist means? That is not what it’s about. It’s about there being something there, made by one person, and another person is looking at it, and between the two of them, through the work, a link is established.” So you’re that one person Noé is talking about. You know what to do. Look at his art, Greensboro, and make that connection with one of our newest residents. “I paint with my heart and you are my eyes,” he says. You can see a video of Noé Katz’s studio by Googling his name and “YouTube.” He can be contacted at, and the coffeetable book of his art, With Freedom in My Heart, is available from OH

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Fiction by Fred Chappell • Illustration by Harry Blair

olume,” her father said. “ If you expect to make enough money to buy a horse, you must sell your famous Kaleburgers in volume.” To Mary Ellen volume was a knob on the TV set, the one her mother made her turn way down during the nature shows. Even with the sound off, the howler monkeys gave her headaches, she said. And she could not bear to watch the parts her daughter liked best, when the lions caught up with the zebra and devoured it with loud, satisfying growls. When that happened, she would switch the channel to Jeopardy and claim it was the more educational show. “I don’t need to know the names of Jupiter’s moons,” Mary Ellen objected. “They are worse than Language Arts.” “This is a different kind of volume,” her father said. “It means large amounts. Lots and lots. I am going to sell James Patterson novels in volume

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at the bookstore today.” He rose from the breakfast table and looked at his reflection in the window at the sink. He was wearing a white shirt with a cool blue tie and a light rayon jacket. Nike sneakers instead of dress shoes. To be kind to his feet, he explained. As the day wore on, the Pattersons got heavier and heavier. He looked nice, Mary Ellen thought. Every day he dressed carefully for work and then every Monday evening at the dinner table he slipped a fivedollar bill into a large brown envelope. The words “Lost Vegas” were marked through with black Magic Marker and the name Scallion printed below in Mary Ellen’s ungainly block letters. She watched the transaction closely, but she had no faith in this method of saving up for the animal. Five dollars a week. Horses will be extinct. Almost all animals on the nature shows would soon be extinct. The narrator said so at the end of every program. He blamed Mary Ellen and the other viewers for their impending demise. Her father adjusted his tie once more, gave his wife a hug and a goodbye kiss on the mouth, gave Mary Ellen a pat on the shoulder and a forehead kiss, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

New fiction took a final sip of coffee, and went into the hall, whistling an atrocious tune. “Your father must be happy,” her mother said. “It’s been ages since I heard him whistle.” Mary Ellen had never heard him whistle before. She had never heard any grown-up whistle. She muttered to herself, “Volume.” Then she said to her mother, “To make lots and lots of Kaleburgers, I need lots of lots of ingredients. How can I get all that stuff?” “You have to bargain and do business. As Eric says, you have to wheel and deal.” “How?” “You have to talk to your suppliers and get them to sell you the makings on credit. Then you pay them back when the Kaleburger becomes popular.” “I don’t know if that will work.” She thought of her supplier, the soft-spoken Mr. Ponder whom some people called Jacklight. He seemed a mistrustful man who did not believe in the future. But he was the only supplier she was acquainted with, so she took up the copy of Fine Wine Cuisine from the kitchen counter and began making a list of necessities.


he took off her pajamas and bathrobe and dressed in tan shorts and white T-shirt and slipped on her small black book bag, but she did not bear her list of comestibles across the highway to the Joyful Sunrise Grocery Emporium until eleven o’clock. Mr. Ponder would not open early; his store stocked almost nothing anyone would eat for breakfast — some eggs and milk and dust-shrouded boxes of Octagoats, an eight-sided bran

cereal flake. When she pushed confidently into the establishment, she saw that Mr. Ponder was behind the counter, standing between two policemen. They looked her over carefully as she came down the aisle. Both of them loomed large and meaningful. They wore huge pistols. Mr. Ponder nodded gravely and said, “Good morning, Mary Ellen. How fares the Kaleburger enterprise?” “I need lots of ingredients,” she said. “I came to wheel and deal.” He looked at her gloomily for quite a while. Then the policeman on his right poked him in the ribs. “Answer the lady, Joshi.” “Joshi?” said Mary Ellen. “My father was from Delhi in India,” said Mr. Ponder, “and my mother was named Adeline Joshua. She came from Alabama. Folks called her Josh. My name is not Jacklight.” “I’m glad,” said Mary Ellen. A great deal of time passed. Then the policeman nudged him again and he said, “Oh, please excuse me. This is Mr. Wilson Hannah. He plays the role of the Good Cop. Mr. Washington here is the Bad Cop.” “Don’t lay that on me,” he responded. “I am a likeable creature.” “How old are you, little girl?” the Good Cop asked. “Fourteen. I’m not a little girl.” “I was comparing you to my girlfriend,” he said. “She is built solid.” “Did you come here to buy dope?” asked the Bad Cop. “I need kale.” “That is very suspicious,” he replied. “Nobody on earth needs kale.” “Mary Ellen has developed a burger recipe,” said Mr. Josh Joshi. “It is a vegetarian delight made of kale and black-eyed peas and other wholesome delicacies. She plans to perfect her recipe and open a chain of Kaleburger palaces all across America. When she has amassed five hundred thousand dollars in personal profit, she will buy a horse called Scallion. That is the golden summit of her ambition.” “Five hundred thousand K will buy a lot of pony,” said the bad cop.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“So, can we wheel and deal?” she asked Mr. Joshi. “Not right now,” said the policemen. “Jacklight has to come with us down to the station. He was just closing up.” “When will you be back, Mr. Joshi?” The Bad and the Good exchanged glances. “In about two hours,” said Mr. Good. “If he’s lucky,” said Bad. Mr. Joshi said, slowly, to Mary Ellen, “If you will look after my establishment while I am gone, I will pay you some money and then we’ll talk business. Is it a bargain?” “What am I supposed to do?” “Just give the folks the groceries they want and take the money they hand you and put it in the cigar box under the counter.” “That’s all?” “Yes. Try to be pleasant and helpful.” “What if somebody wants to buy dope?” “Take down the name and address and telephone number and I’ll be in touch. Now I have to go.” Mary Ellen stood aside as the trio came from behind the counter and trudged down the aisle to the front door. The policemen crowded Mr. Joshi between them as if to prevent an attempt at flight. In the parking lot Policeman Good helped the storekeeper into the back seat, then sat beside Policeman Bad in the front and the cruiser pulled away slowly and without benefit of siren. I wonder if he is busted, Mary Ellen thought. She hoped that was not the case. Mr. Ponder had promised to wheel and deal with her and if he would not, who would? he Joyful Sunrise Grocery Emporium seemed not joyful in the least now that Mary Ellen was alone. The only bright light shone from the tall freezer case against the back wall. It was empty except for four packages of broccoli and many frozen pizzas. The other illumination was from bare bulbs set in the high ceiling over the aisles; they cast more shadow than light. She wandered aimlessly for a brief spell, then opened her backpack and took out her little square, wire-bound notebook and a purple ballpoint that advertised a urology clinic. She read down her list: hamburger buns, canned spinach if there was no kale, black-eyed peas and cornmeal. To these substances she had added freshly cut and thoroughly washed lawn grass to compose the Kaleburger that had thrilled her father beyond all expectation. She located the buns and peas and spinach but not the cornmeal. There were three boxes of Masa and the cellophane windows revealed a powdery substance that looked usable. So now she could almost duplicate the makings of her first triumph. Her cookbook called for Fine Wine in all the recipes. But Mr. Ponder did not stock alcohol. She went methodically from aisle to aisle, writing down the names of products that might prove toothsome. She noted raisins, canned sauerkraut, canned sweet potatoes, baked beans and other possibilities. She rejected a small box of grainy stuff called Farro — what was that? — and picked beets — absolutely the wrong color for Kaleburgers — and a disgusting largish jar of pickled pigs’ feet. She was working through the last row of shelves in the dark aisle on the far side when the door opened and a man leaned through it. Mary Ellen had seen him when she was here before. He blinked a gold front tooth at her when he talked and there were pointy tufts of hair on his head like small upside-down ice cream cones. “Hey, little girl,” he called. “Where’s Jacklight at?” “He had to go with some policemen to a station. Did you come to buy dope?” His eyes widened and he shook his head in puzzlement. “Say what?”


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New fiction “My. Joshi said whoever came to buy dope I am to take down their name and address and phone number.” “Mr. Who?” “Joshi, the person who owns the grocery emporium.” “Jacklight, you mean? How come you be calling him Mr. Mushy?” “Mr. Joshi is his name. Mostly I call him Mr. Ponder.” He blinked energetically. “I must be in the wrong establishment.” He closed the door as he departed. Mary Ellen resumed her inventory of this last row, discovering Old Bay seasoning, Karo syrup and a lost and lonely can of Shinola shoe polish. Then she went behind the front counter, pulled up a tall stool and wrote in her notebook a few possibly useful items from her shelf inspection. She turned the page and began drawing a picture of the stable she would build for Scallion when that horse came into her possession. Concentrating closely, she bent over the notebook to draw the rails of the lot fence.


he door swung open almost silently, but she opened her eyes and raised her sleepy head from her drawing. Mr. Ponder had entered alone and, after an approving glance at Mary Ellen, looked down the length of each aisle, inspecting the vacancy. “I thought you got busted,” Mary Ellen said. “I thought the policemen would lock you up in the hoosegow.” “They could not lock me up. I am a special policeman myself.” “Policeman?” “Did anything happen while I was making my report at the station?” “A man with pointy hair came in. I don’t know whether he wanted dope or not. He would not leave his name and address. What kind of policeman?” “People call him Warthog because of his hairstyle.” He spoke gravely. “He is not dangerous.” “Why does he call you Jacklight?” “I used to work for the Forest Service, arresting lawbreakers for poaching deer.” “How do you do that?” She pictured herself at her kitchen stove with a tiny deer in one hand and a poaching pan in the other. She could not form a clear image of the pan. “You must procure a small but extremely bright spotlight and in the nighttime shine it in the deer’s eyes. He is frozen in place and unable to move. Then you shoot him with a Remington rifle and load him into a red 1999 Chevrolet pickup truck, license DAR 1778, and drive away. That method of taking game illegally is called jacklighting. I was skilled at apprehending offenders and thus acquired the informal sobriquet, Jacklight.” Mary Ellen fell silent for half a minute, trying to understand what she had heard. “What made you,” she asked, “so good at comprehending deep poachers?” He stepped around the counter and stood beside her. “Intelligence.” His voice went deep and serious. “I was thorough with intelligence. That is what I do now. In municipal law enforcement, intelligence work.” “Did you have to take an intelligence test? I took one in school last year. It was real silly.” “You took an IQ test. That is different.” “It was dumb. Why did they make me take it?” “The IQ test measures how smart you are against how smart you think you are. Most people perform poorly. What sort of questions did it ask?” She frowned. “I can’t remember exactly. Something like, If cats were bats,

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how many gnats would they eat compared with rats?” Mr. Ponder meditated. “That must have been a defective test. We must never trust the results of IQ tests.” “Have you shot lots of criminals?” It took a while to form, but Mr. Ponder’s frown was expressive. “I am careful not to shoot people. It leaves a bad impression.” “Well, what do you do? On TV they shoot criminals.” “A fictional television story concludes in an hour. In real life, things go on for a long time. I specialize in preventive detective work so that no one is wounded. Firearms are not dependable teaching tools.” “I don’t understand.” He gave her a searching look and fetched a deep sigh to accompany it. “I am a certain kind of snitch.” “What is a snitch?” “Tattletale, some would call me. Do you know what a tattletale is?” “Cousin Tommy. And he makes stuff up.” “I am a fore-snitch. I tell the police on people before they do anything bad so that they can be dissuaded from problematic behavior.” “Do they go to jail beforehand?” “No. That would be unjust. Let’s pretend that you are planning to become an evildoer. I would watch you carefully to see how your behavior changed. Maybe you would put on different clothes and do sneaky things and talk smartass. Then I would tell the Big Boss Detective of my suspicions and he would pay you a visit.” “Would he put me in jail?” “No. He would speak sternly to you and give you a list to read, The Ten Best Ways to Stay Out of Jail. I composed the list. The guidelines are sound and will benefit anyone, regardless of religion, race or social class.” “You must be real smart yourself,” she said. “It would be pretty to think so. But I copied most of it from Benjamin Franklin.” “Is he your friend?” “The friend of all mankind. One of these days I might give you his picture.” “OK.” “But today I am going to give you a picture of a person I consider to be a degree or two inferior to Mr. Franklin. His name is Andrew Jackson.” Mr. Ponder withdrew a patched-up cigar box from under the counter and opened it to reveal a few bills of varying denominations. He plucked out a twenty and handed it to Mary Ellen. “This is for taking care of my store while I was absent.” “Twenty dollars? I thought you might not pay me because I went to sleep and didn’t sell anything.” “You plan to wheel and deal. Twenty dollars might help you get started.” “Thank you,” she said. She opened her notebook and turned to the third page. “I made a list of stuff you have that maybe I could use.” “Let us examine it,” he said. “Perhaps we can do business. It is good to wheel and deal.”


“Twenty whole dollars!” “I see,” he said.

hen her father came home from work Mary Ellen was waiting for him by the door to the apartment. Before he could greet her, she displayed the twenty-dollar bill, holding it by the two edges as if she might stretch it to a more impressive length.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

New fiction “It’s mine.” “Where did you get it?” He looked at his wife, who sat in the chair beside the sofa with her arms crossed. “I have a note for you. Mr. Ponder sent it. He wants you to read it. I read it first. He’s nice. Some parts I didn’t understand.” Her father unfolded the paper torn from Mary Ellen’s notebook and began reading aloud. “Eric Ackerman, dear sir, do not be dismayed by the money your daughter has in her possession. She earned it most honestly, tending to the Joyful Sunrise Emporium while I was called to separate duties. She is an astute young lady of whom you must be most proud.” He paused and rubbed his chin. He looked at the signature. “I can’t read his name.” “He is Mr. Joshi. I call him Mr. Ponder. You didn’t read the other part.” He continued, haltingly, as if he did not wish to speak the words. “I feel confident that Rembrandt and the other familiars of Spindleshanks would send their respects.” He frowned and folded the note and laid it on the scarred coffee table. “Who are Spindleshanks?” Mary Ellen asked. Her mother answered in a cool tone of voice. “It is a pool hall. Your father doesn’t go there anymore, do you, Eric?” “A billiards arena. I have not been there for a long time.” “Who is Rumboot?” “Rembrandt. A famous artist who lived long ago. Also, it is what a fellow I used to know called himself.” “Was he an artist?” “He said he was an epidermal enhancer. He put tattoos on people.” “Do you have a tattoo?” “You father certainly does not have a tattoo,” her mother said. “That is too bad. When I get to be old enough, I will get to have a tattoo. It will be IQ in big flowery letters.” “I.Q.?” “That is the name of the horse I will have when the Kaleburger chain of drive-ins takes off.” “What happened to the name Scallion? You changed Lost Vegas to Scallion.” “I.Q. means Intelligence Questions. If you have intelligence, you don’t have to go to jail.” “Well, that’s a relief. I don’t want to go to jail.” “Mr. Ponder has a list of things so you can do them and stay out.” “Why does he need a list?” her mother asked. “If you don’t want to do bad things in the first place, you don’t need a list. I don’t need one.” “You have to be careful. Lots of things are bad, but you may not know. He said I might have to go to jail.” “Wait a minute,” her father said. “What are you talking about?” her mother said. “I am already guilty of False Advertising. My Kaleburger did not have any kale in it.” “How’s that?” her father said. “I couldn’t find any, so I had to use some canned spinach from his store and some secret ingredients.” She was not going to reveal that the most secret of these was a batch of grass from the back of the housing project that she had cut with her mother’s pinking shears and washed in the sink. Some things should remain Trade Secrets, Mr. Ponder told her. “You haven’t done any advertising, False or True,” her mother said. “That is what I am going to do next. I am going to mount an advertising campaign. He looked up some stuff and wrote down information to use. About vitamin K. Also I have to make up a catchy jingle that will get on people’s nerves so they will remember and buy my product.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Well, that’s easy,” her father said. He raised his left hand to shoulder height and curled his palm. His right hand he placed near his belt buckle and wiggled his fingers. Her mother said, “Eric, what – “ “Air guitar,” he explained. He closed his eyes and raised his head and sang in a voice loud and anti-musical: “Kale, kale, wonderful kale, If you don’t eat kale, you’ll go to hell.” He opened his eyes. “What do you think?” “It sucks,” chirruped the females. After a supper of hamburgers with tomatoes and lettuce, Tater Tots and milk, Mary Ellen retired to her room and sat at the little desk with its gooseneck lamp and took the clipping from the back pocket of her shorts. Mr. Ponder had given it to her, saying it contained information that might possibly be perhaps helpful in composing advertising copy and catchy jingles. It came from someone she pronounced Uzzdah, USDA, and it was but a single paragraph: Kale. Rich in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting, kale also contains lutein, a nutrient that reduces the risk of cataracts and other eye disorders. One serving of cooked kale has nearly triple the amount of lutein that a serving of raw spinach has. She labored to puzzle it out. She didn’t know how to say “lutein” and she did not know what cataracts were. But the words meant that kale was good for the eyes, even better than raw spinach. That had to be true. Only crazy people would eat raw spinach, unless their eyes were so bad they couldn’t see what was on their plates. If they ate kale, they could see OK and wouldn’t make that mistake. She thought and thought. Maybe her father’s jingle wasn’t so bad, after all. Maybe it was just that he looked so dumb in his dress-up jacket playing air guitar. What had he sung? Kale kale wonderful kale, raw spinach can go to hell. She wasn’t sure about “spinach,” but she was real sure about “hell,” which she was not allowed to say. She thought some more. She closed her eyes and opened them. She scratched her head. Today her hair spiked out in all directions like a dandelion blossom dyed red. She began to imagine her wonderful horse, IQ. Mr. Ponder said that people with big IQ’s had fast workings of the brain. She wanted her horse to be fast. “As fast as lightning,” the Language Arts workbook wanted her to say. It should be “as fast as a busted shoelace.” Lightning was fast, but you could see it happen. Two days ago she had been tying up her red sneakers. She had one lace in her fingers, then two. It happened so fast she couldn’t see it and for a few moments was bewildered. But if she wrote down as fast as a broken shoelace, she would earn a putrid grade instead of an A. Then she would not have all As on her report card and she and her father and mother and everyone would all be back where they were before in what her mother called the Dismal Dumps. “I have much work to do and shining goals to reach,” Mary Ellen said. OH Retired UNCG creative-writing professor and former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell first wrote about the headstrong Mary Ellen in the November 2012 issue of O.Henry, and then again in April, 2012. Both issues are archived online at

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Born in a

Barn How and why Greensboro’s legendary dinner theater is still going strong after half a century. By Maria Johnson • Photographs by Lynn Donovan 64 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

In the office, in what would be the hayloft of the Barn, a window airconditioning unit struggles against the late summer humidity. A graying butterscotch Chihuahua named Bruiser roams the tired maroon carpet. The only young things in the room are the computers and the part-time employees, all fresh-faced and expressive, as freshly minted theater graduates are wont to be. A black-and-white copy of a newspaper clipping clings to a bulletin board. “Barn Dinner Theatre Construction Starts,” says the story, which is paired with a picture of three beauty queens — Miss Guilford County, Miss High Point and Miss Winston-Salem — each with a pump-clad foot perched on the blade of a ground-breaking shovel. They grasp the handle with white-gloved hands. That’s how long the Barn Dinner Theatre has been in Greensboro: going on fifty years. Mid-life for a human, Methuselah-like for a dinner theater. But don’t be fooled by the oak-slab paneling and wagon-wheel chandeliers that have hung in the lobby since September 1964. The heart of Greensboro’s Barn Dinner Theatre — the nation’s oldest continuously running dinner theater — beats young.


The idea of fusing dinner and theater has been around for centuries — at least since the madrigal dinners of the Renaissance — but the modern-day version sprouted in 1953, with the opening of the Barksdale Theatre in a historic tavern in Richmond, Virginia. A decade later, Roanoke-based architect, inventor and businessman Howard Wolfe opened the first Barn Dinner Theatre, also in Richmond. Wolfe built the Barn near his first venture into the theater business, the Wedgewood Playhouse, which he installed in an old tomato cannery in Toano, Virginia. Within months of the Richmond Barn’s opening, Wolfe announced a second location, on a rural road called Stage Coach Trail on the western skirt of Greensboro. Wolfe’s daughter Cecilia Carr, who lives in Warrenton, Virginia, says her father located his theatrical Barns in the middle of nowhere, often near cemeteries and airports. “The joke was, he got ’em coming and going,” Carr says. Wolfe’s idea was to bring theater to the masses by making it comfortable and affordable. In a 1970 interview on a Roanoke TV talk show, Wolfe, who entertained clients in New York, bemoaned having to pay $50 for a black market ticket to see Hello, Dolly! on Broadway. “I was in New York last week, and the hotel bill was $42 for one night,” he told the interviewer. “I know what you mean!” the interviewer said. On Sunday nights, the Barn charged $4 for dinner and a show. Wolfe, who’d grown up on a small Virginia farm during the Depression, designed his gambrel-roofed theaters to resemble barns as a nod to his rural upbringing, his daughter says. He dictated that franchises furnish the interiors with farm tools and other rustic touches. Wolfe also patented the Magic Stage, an elevator platform that descended on cables from the Barn’s “loft” into the center of the dining area once the buffet was cleared away, making a theater in the round. In the early days of the Barn, the actors waited tables, then disappeared after dessert to prepare for the night’s show. Wolfe built twenty-seven Barn Dinner Theatres across the South and West, including locations in Raleigh and Charlotte. The Barns were not just a chain, but a circuit. Shows were cast and rehearsed in New York, then rotated from one Barn to another. Local talent supplemented the New York actors, who bunked in bedrooms that Wolfe put on the second floor of his Barns.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Wolfe’s childhood friend Conley Jones and his wife, Anna Jones, owned the Greensboro franchise, and they rode the swell of popularity that dinner theaters enjoyed in the 1960s and ’70s. The shows were good places to catch rising and falling stars. Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Rooney and Jessica Lange played the Greensboro Barn. Robert De Niro also delivered lines from Greensboro’s “Magic Stage,” before he made Taxi Driver in 1976. Barn lore holds that De Niro was booted from the Barn’s stable while in Greensboro. Cecilia Carr remembers hearing that De Niro rebelled against the Barn’s living quarters, waiter’s duties and pay. She adds that her father and Mansfield knew each other through business. Mansfield was a spokeswoman and model for one of Wolfe’s inventions, a tanning lamp. She appeared in advertisements that were shot in front of the stone fireplace at the Greensboro Barn. Wolfe and Mansfield — who were married to others — also had a relationship outside of business, Carr says. “He was human, not Superman,” she says of her father, who died in 1989. “He did a lot of amazing things, and he did a lot of awful things.” For a while, the Barn was one of the amazing things, especially for local actors. “The Barn was the elite opportunity, certainly in terms of getting paid and getting experience,” says James Fisher, head of the theatre department at UNCG. It was 1974, and Fisher was a graduate student at UNCG when he got the lead in Beginner’s Luck, a situation comedy at the Barn. He went on to act in half a dozen shows and direct a handful of others. “It was an extraordinary experience,” says Fisher, who competed with dozens of actors for the two or three roles that each show offered to locals. “It honed our ability to audition. You got to experiment, and grow, and work with the directors, and push to get better if you wanted to.” Then, as now, an emcee greeted the customers after dinner, calling attention to large groups and guests marking special occasions. Couples who were celebrating an anniversary were asked to stand and kiss as they had kissed on their wedding day. If they pecked, the emcee made a joke. If they smooched too long, the emcee made a joke. Then, the Magic Stage lowered and the show began. Between scenes, actors came and left via draped exits at the corners of the dining room. In the lobby, they wiggled in and out of costumes and sprinted around the outside of the building when the director called for them to enter from a different direction. By the time the 1990s rolled around, the public’s appetite for haddock and farce had waned. The Barn Dinner chain had already dissolved — partly because of the diminished demand for dinner theater and partly because of Wolfe’s tendency to lose interest after he launched a project — but the Joneses, who were keen on a dollar, hung onto the Greensboro property and ran it independently until 1996. That’s when the curtain almost fell.


Ric Gutierrez, a part-time bartender at the Barn, had been dispensing beer and shots of Crown Royal for not quite a year when one of the Barn’s owners, Conley Jones, died in 1996. A week later, Conley’s widow, Anna, went to Ric with bad news. Here, Gutierrez slips into his best Hungarian accent — think of a cross between Zsa Zsa Gabor and Bela Lugosi — to remember what Anna Jones told him: “Ric, zee Barn must close. I have no munnney. You must take zee employees out and tell zem no jobz.” After a show one night, Ric herded the employees to a downtown restaurant, The Paisley Pineapple, for drinks. As they entered, Ric saw Bill Baldwin, who owned Tijuana Fats, a restaurant where Ric worked part-time as the general manager. “Bill, the Barn is for sale,” Gutierrez whispered as they passed. September 2013

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Can you get me some numbers?” Baldwin asked. Gutierrez nodded. He followed the Barn employees to a table and adlibbed. He said the Barn was in financial trouble and might be closing. Two weeks later, the deal was done. Gutierrez, Baldwin and local restaurateur Charlie Erwin, who owned Ham’s, got the barn for a steal. Gutierrez, a food-side guy, agreed to run it. He warned his business partners that it would take time for him to understand theater and its people. “Theater people . . .” Gutierrez says, waving his hands as if trying to grab the right word out of the air, “are different. They don’t mind nudity, but they don’t take criticism very well.” He checked out library books on theater. He joined the National Dinner Theater Association. He attended as many conventions and workshops as he could. He listened to his gut. “I looked at the shows I had, and a light went off. It was Broadway fluff. People didn’t want to see that stuff,” says Gutierrez, a lean and kinetic Colorado native with a hey-y’all accent acquired during his family’s military trek around the South. What the Barn patrons wanted to see, Gutierrez learned from his peers and from comment cards that diners left on vinyl tablecloths, were musicals. Fun musicals. And seniors wanted weekday matinees. Gutierrez discovered that tour buses full of white hair were bypassing Greensboro for daytime theater in Myrtle Beach. He added a Tuesday matinee. He scheduled smaller shows, with fewer actors, for the lean winter months. He made sure his line-up contained a country or gospel show like Smoke on the Mountain, a hymn-filled production that lured Richard Petty to the Barn. When Gutierrez found out that black patrons wanted more shows that spoke to them, he brought in Tony nominee Mabel Robinson of WinstonSalem to direct Ain’t Misbehavin’. “Ever since then, our African-American series is to the point I need to do at least two shows a year,” Gutierrez says. Three years ago, Wake Forest alum and NBA superstar Chris Paul brought his family to see Love Machine The Musical: Celebrating Classic Motown & Soul. Love Machine, currently in its fourth run, is the most popular show ever at the Barn. It has a primarily black cast, but it draws an audience of all shades. So does Soul Sistas, a musical revue that’s tied with Smoke on the Mountain and Church Basement Ladies for the second-most-popular show. Love Machine was written by Nathan Alston, who owns Naroshmi Theatre Company, an enterprise headquartered at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in downtown Greensboro. So was Sistas. Alston also wrote Dreams of a King: The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., which the Barn stages a few nights every January. “He started as an actor here, and he kept pitching shows to me,” Gutierrez says of Alston. “He has been a huge asset for me.” Alston and others might say the same of Gutierrez, who still provides an accessible proving ground for local playwrights and actors. Today, homegrown actors far outnumber the imports. Case in point: Legally Blonde, a musical comedy that proved popular. Lead actress Erin Sullivan, a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, lives in New York City. The Barn hired her and a supporting actress from Ohio and put them up at an extended-stay hotel. But nearly twenty cast members — and the four-piece band — were locals, many of them recent graduates of area college drama programs. Their youthful energy captivated the middle-aged audience during sexy numbers like “The Bend and Snap.” Matthew Bradshaw, an actor and writer with a full-time gig as the Barn’s technical manager, says the Barn remains an important source of income for The Art & Soul of Greensboro

local actors. It’s not an Equity house, meaning it doesn’t use union actors, but Barn shows typically run longer than those in Equity theaters, so the actors end up with decent money. “For an actor who wants consistent work, six weeks of pay is a good deal. It’s a really good deal,” he says. It’s a good deal, too, for customers who pay $40 for dinner and a show — less if they buy tickets on special, at a group rate, or with a coupon. The discounts reach thousands via Facebook, Twitter, email and other marketing tools. “We’re holding our own,” says Gutierrez, who still owns the business with Bill Baldwin. They added a new partner, Mark Cole, after Charlie Erwin died earlier this year. The Barn’s persistence is a minor miracle considering the current state of dinner theater. Nationwide, about twenty dinner theaters operate today, down from a high of about 150 in the 1970s. The Greensboro Barn is one of only three locations that survive from the original Barn chain. The others are in Nashville and Little Rock. But you’d never have guessed the scarcity of dinner theaters from a recent Friday night when Legally Blonde packed the 262-seat Greensboro Barn. Gina Edmondson of Walkertown was in the crowd. She brought her husband and 16-year-old son with a Groupon she’d bought online. Like 35–40 percent of the crowd at any Barn show, the Edmondsons were first-timers. “I just thought it would be a good family thing,” Gina said. “Something different.” Dennis and Holly Boring of Kimesville had been to the Barn before — about twenty years ago to see Fiddler on the Roof. They returned because Holly bought a pass at a drama club fundraiser. After the show, they gave good reviews to the roast beef, the chicken and the performance. “We’re about to launch the last kid off to college,” Holly said. “We’ll be back.” If Gutierrez and company have a say, the Barn’s doors will be waiting for them. OH

Line-up for the Greensboro Barn Dinner Theatre’s Golden Anniversary Year January 17-February 23: Band of Angels February 28-April 27: Church Basement Ladies: A Second Helping May 2 to June 29: Groovin’ July 13-August 24: Show Time in Harlem August 29-October 5: Soul Sistas October 10-26: A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline October 31-Nov. 30: Southern Hospitality December 5-15: Black Nativity December 19-23: Christmas show to be announced 120 Stage Coach Road, Greensboro (336) 292-2211 or

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O.Henry 67

Book Excerpt

Paper Dolls By Lee Smith

Guests on Earth is set at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville during the years 1936 through 1948, the year of the terrible fire in which Zelda Fitzgerald perished along with eight other women patients in a locked ward on the top floor. Her body was identified only by her charred ballet slippers — for the brilliant Zelda was still a talented dancer and choreographer as well as a writer and a visual artist. In this novel I offer a solution for the unsolved mystery of that fire. My narrator is a younger patient named Evalina Toussaint, daughter of a New Orleans exotic dancer. Evalina is a talented pianist who connects to Zelda on many levels as she plays accompaniment for the many concerts, theatricals and dances constantly being held at Highland Hospital. As Evalina tells us at the beginning of this novel, “I bring a certain insight and new information to that horrific event which changed all our lives forever, those of us living there upon that mountain at that time. This is not my story, then, in the sense that Mr. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was not Nick Carraway’s story, either — yet Nick Carraway is the narrator, is he not? And is any story not always the narrator’s story, in the end?” — Lee Smith

Excerpt, Chapter 3 Finally I found myself face to face with the woman in the black ballet slippers and tights again, in the art studio at Homewood, several months after our first scary encounter. I sat at a long table, dabbling half-heartedly in watercolors, attempting a still-life of the fruit which the art teacher, Miss Malone, had piled up in a wooden bowl before us. Yellow pears, red apples, dusky grapes. Miss Malone padded from person to person with quiet words of encouragement, her thick gray braid hanging down to her hips. Meanwhile a summer breeze blew through the studio, with its heavy leaded windows propped open, its doors ajar. I wanted only to be out of there, to be in the swimming pool, newly filled and open, shimmering in the sunshine. Miss Malone struck her hanging gong, the sign that the class was over. “Next time, we shall paint in plein air,” she announced.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Book Excerpt These French words caught me unaware, bringing me back to New Orleans where suddenly I could see the dusty summer streets, hear the clip-clop of the horses and the buggies down by Jackson Square, taste the multi-colored ices the old man sold from a cart at the corner. I bowed my head to hide my tears as I washed out my brushes and packed my supplies away. “There, there,” a kind voice said, and I looked up in surprise to see the fearsome Mrs. Fitzgerald now changed entirely. She wore a loosefitting artistic smock; her brown hair swung to her shoulders. She looked younger and prettier than she had before. ”Now let me see.” She smoothed out my “painting,” which was terrible. “Not bad at all — though it must be boring for you, such a fuddy-duddy old assignment.” It was boring, though I hadn’t thought of that. Determined to be a good girl, I did everything that I was told at Highland, as I had with the nuns, questioning nothing. I loved rules. “I had a little girl, too, once upon a time,” she told me gently, smiling. “A little pie-face girl like you. She was awfully cute.” “Where is she now?” Too late I realized that perhaps I should not have asked this question, but Mrs. Fitzgerald’s answer was calm. “Oh, she’s away, far far away, away from here, at a boarding school named Ethel Walker. She likes it there, she’s better off.” Her tone was wistful. Better off than what? I wondered. Others were leaving now. Miss Malone had come up to hover behind us, listening to our conversation, though she did not interrupt — according Mrs. Fitzgerald, as did the others, a kind of special respect. At that time, Mrs. Fitzgerald was spending almost all her time in the art studio, as much as Dr. C would permit. “I know what little girls like.” She was smiling at me. “Paper dolls!” Inadvertently I clapped my hands, for I had never had any paper dolls, though I had always fancied them. “I would love that,” I said sincerely, “but I’m afraid I am too old for them now.” “Well then, we shall make some very sophisticated older paper dolls for you,” she said, “with very exciting lives. Look here.” She hauled a leather portfolio up on the table and began pulling out big sheets of paper, all the colors of the rainbow. “Scissors?” she said to Miss Malone, who produced them without a word. “Get the glue,” she said to me, and I ran to do so, while the studio emptied out around us. She pulled up her chair; I pulled up mine, all thought of the swimming pool vanished. Now the scissors began to flash in earnest as the silhouettes of girls — three, four, five, six, ten girls! — emerged, fluttering out onto the table. “Well, make them some clothes, then!” Mrs. Fitzgerald shot at me, and I did, clumsily at first, tailoring their skirts and jackets as best I could, Miss Malone appearing with bits of lace and cloth and sequins to glue on. Soon the table was filled with these girls and their rudimentary clothing, as the dappled sunlight shifted outside and the sounds of a faraway game floated in the window. “Now look,” she said, folding the biggest sheet of paper just so, then snipping quickly, expertly, before pulling them out suddenly — a string of six girls, then twelve more after that, holding hands, dancing. I was blissfully happy. It was all the friends I had ever wanted. “But where will they all live?” I blurted out, for this was the question I worried about all the time. Where would I live, once I got out of this hospital? “Draw them some houses, then,” Mrs. Fitzgerald said imperiously, pushing over another of the largest sheets, and I did so, an entire street

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of houses, something I was very good at, drawing houses with two stories, houses with three stories, houses with pointed windows in the eaves, some with balconies, some with chimneys, some little houses with picket fences surrounding them. I drew a grand stone mansion with a crenellated roofline like Homewood, the building we were in now, and then a real castle with a similar roofline and a high tower with a flag flying from it. I cut out a piece of blue cloth for the flag, and glued it onto the flagpole. Then I took up one of our paper dolls and gave her a smiling face and blue eyes and a long blue dress and a yellow crown — this took quite a while, it was by far the most detail I had yet lavished upon any of my friends — I was working so hard, concentrating so intently, that I did not at first realize that Mrs. Fitzgerald had ceased her own fierce population of our town and sat quite still, observing me. “Now she has been chosen princess by everyone in the country,” I said, glueing the crown on her head, “and now she is going to claim her kingdom.” I placed her up on top of the tower, next to the flag, and drew a happy smiling yellow sun in the sky above. “There now!” I said. “Ta-da!” imitating trumpets. Mrs. Fitzgerald said not a word, reaching forward in a lightning stroke to grab

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Book Excerpt

up my beautiful princess and crumple her into a ball, which she tossed under the table. I sat paralyzed, like a paper doll myself, feeling my own blood and all my volition draining out of my body. “You have killed her,” I whispered. “Don’t be such a silly little pie-face,” she said abruptly. “It is far better to be dead than to be a princess in a tower, for you can never get out once they put you up there, you’ll see. You’ll see. You must live on the earth and mix with the hoi polloi.” At this she began gathering up all our other paper dolls and crumpling them up, throwing them into the air where they were caught by the breeze and fluttered everywhere. “Now, now, Mrs. Fitzgerald, let’s save these, perhaps you and your young friend could create a fine collage,” came the reassuring voice of Miss Malone, but I did not stay to see whether this suggestion had any effect or not. I grabbed up my chains of hand-holding friends and ran for dear life out the door, heart pounding, and did not look back. PS Guests on Earth, to be published in October of 2013 by Algonquin Book, is excerpted by permission of North Carolina author, Lee Smith, who has published twelve novels and four collections of short stories.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When Scott Fitzgerald, newly published author of The Far Side of Paradise arrived in Greensboro in 1920 with his wife, Zelda, they may have been at the far end of a gin bottle. After they pulled up to the Bellemeade Street entrance to the O. Henry Hotel, they came close to getting thrown out of the hotel. They’d driven their second hand Marmon auto that had been giving them fits as they motored from New York to Montgomery, Alabama, to see Zelda’s parents. At the registration desk in the spacious O. Henry lobby, the couple caused a fury among the management and guests. The two were were dressed in identical white knickerbocker suits. Zelda was chastised for wearing pants and men’s attire as she had been in other cities. “They thought a man and wife ought not to be dressed alike in white knickerbockers in 1920, and we thought the water in the tubs ought not to run red mud,” Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a 1934 article, “Show Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald to Number_______.” Zelda must have been in a subdued mood that day. Rather than raise hell as she had done in Clarksville, Virginia, the previous day when criticized for her attire, she finally agreed to cover her trousers with a skirt, and they were given a room. In Clarksville, too, the management had backed off a threat to oust the Fitzgeralds. Later, as Zelda and Scott were leaving, Zelda overheard “two fat women” commenting about her white suit. She responded by shouting, “Look at those two horrible women.” Nancy Milford writes in her book, Zelda, published in 1970, that the Fitzgerald’s New York to Montgomery journey “was a series of minor catastrophes; there were blowouts, lost wheels and broken axles. Zelda, who was to navigate, had no idea how to read a map.” There were also the frequent differences with hoteliers. And Scott, although he had royalties coming in from The Far Side of Paradise, couldn’t manage money. He was usually broke, even though they seemed to have the means to divide their time between New York and Europe The couple was down to their last $25 at the O. Henry. Scott had told writer Edmund Wilson to wire him money, but the instructions were to send it to a hotel in Greenville, South Carolina, 200 miles away. The Marmon, which Scott called “the Expenso,” was the big money eater on the trip. Wherever they were, on the Southern trip and/or motoring in New York, Scott and Zelda seemed to delight in confrontations and making fools of themselves. Alcohol motivated them. Scott, who always seemed to be drinking, was ejected from the Biltmore Hotel in New York after guests complained of his walking on his hands through the hotel, according to Andre Le Vot in 1976 biography, F. Scott Fitzgerald. The biographer cited other times when Zelda rode on the hood of a New York taxi while Scott clutched the roof. Zelda dove into one New York public fountain while fully clothed, and into another nude. She was nearly arrested for pulling a fire alarm after she concluded a party she and Scott were attending “was going cold.”The antics added to their legend as boozy flappers in a wild decade, the ’20s. Oddly, Scott seemed to be writing about two different two hotels in “Show Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald to Room____” and another story, “The Cruise of the Rolling Junk,” which he published in Motor magazine in 1924. In the latter, he made the O. Henry’s mud sound romantic. “We bathed in faintly reddish water, which lent a pleasant crimson glow to the bathtub,’’ he said, “and we ate a large dinner. This last, with the tip, used up four dollars and fifty cents of our money, but we were too tired to care.” — Jim Schlosser September 2013

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Short Stry Contest Winner

The Sun Fiction by Sandra Redding


ature was the best I could offer my boy after I left his mom. On Sundays, when he was mine for the day, the two of us tromped through the watershed trails of Guilford County, our senses awakened by the crunch of leaves or the mere swish of a squirrel’s tail. We liked nothing better than watching hawks soar overhead or inhaling the musky scent of rabbit tobacco. I probably shouldn’t have admitted to Artie how, as a teenager, I’d once or twice rolled the dried leaves of the plant in paper and smoked it. “Doesn’t contain nicotine,” I let him know. “So why won’t you let me try some?” he giggled. Artie giggled like no other. Every cell in his thin body joined in. A boy any man would take pride in, that was him. A chunk of pale red hair, almost identical to mine, fell across his intense green eyes. Don’t get me wrong, my boy wasn’t perfect. Impatient with school, he had difficulty remaining still. He said he hated when his fifth-grade teacher Laura Bumpkins required him to do the same stuff over and over. “Here in the woods with you,” he said, lifting his freckled face and looking around, “there’s always something new.” During the time we spent together, my boy usually wore the pale blue flannel shirt, at least two sizes too big for him, that had once belonged to me. His mom complained about the stinky old thing. She also griped that he forgot to wash behind his ears and rarely flossed his teeth. None of that detracted from his inner goodness.

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Trudging along paths swollen with tree roots or through fields of clover invigorated both of us. We studied the habits of birds nesting in trees; we got down on our knees to observe minnows and water bugs in the creek beds. Once, out near Lake Higgins, we spotted a black bear, a mammal rarely showing up in Piedmont North Carolina. Impressive and hefty, the critter got so close we caught a whiff of him. Artie said he smelled of honey. “Nah,” I said, “he reeks of bear poop.” When my son laughed, I feared the bear would attack. Instead the critter stood its ground, moving its head from side to side, as if charmed by my son, before lumbering away. Artie often studied turtle families lined up on the trunks of fallen trees suspended over streams. He watched as one poked its shriveled head from the shell, then another. We remained on the lookout for herons. Usually we’d spot only one. Artie figured it out. “It’s the guard bird we see. The others hide out while he protects them.” Most of all, he took a hankering to deer. We often came upon small groups of them. Raising their heads, the graceful creatures would sniff regally, as if hoping to detect the scent of intruders lurking on their sacred ground. I made it clear to Artie that they, not us, ruled the wilderness. “They trust us, Dad,” he said late one afternoon, as the descending sun stretched like a rubber band across the horizon. When I asked how he knew, he answered, “They never skitter away.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Solace — that’s the redeeming gift of recalling the two of us meandering through the woods. But when I remember the time Artie questioned me about splitting up with his mom, excruciating pain replaces all previous pleasure. The day he asked, I waited, hoping my brain would come up with a sensible answer. “The two of us were different, you see, just as squirrels differ from rabbits,” I finally told him. “We had separate agendas.” “What’s agenda?” I attempted a smile. “What a person longs for. We discovered we didn’t want the same thing, except for you.” “Oh, like Mom doesn’t like the woods cause of chiggers and snakes, and you can’t sit long enough to attend church?” I reached out, ruffling his hair. How could I explain the whole of it. I had nothing against Shelby. Even to me our divorce made no sense. One morning when I woke up, I glanced through the open bathroom door. I watched as she brushed her teeth and gargled with green mouthwash. I realized that deep-down I no longer knew her. I wondered if I ever did. The feeling rose from my gut, not my heart. I wanted to still care, but I no longer could. The simple sweetness of our being together skedaddled soon after Artie came along. She believed that for the sake of our boy we should act more like normal people. Normal people? What the heck did that mean? To Shelby, I suppose, it meant dressing up, wearing makeup and hanging out someplace besides Dink’s Bar. Even before Artie started first grade, both Shelby and I realized that changing wouldn’t be possible for me. I was stuck pretty much where I’d always been. Shelby was my first love. A glow connected us the afternoon we first met at Frankie’s, a local diner. Dressed in a short waitress uniform, her hips, still slender then, swayed from side to side as she made her way to my table. A pencil stuck out from behind her left ear. “What can I get for you?” she asked. I blushed, the answer steaming my brain. Back then she wore a light fragrance, something called Moon Glow. Now it’s Beautiful she dabs behind her ears. Her earrings have to be long, the heels of her shoes, high. She paints her fingernails a sparkly shade of blue. Two months ago, the morning Shelby called me at the sock factory, I thought nothing of it. She often needed or wanted something. “What?” I asked. When she didn’t answer, I almost closed my phone and would have if I hadn’t detected a sniffling sound. I waited impatiently as she blew her nose, then asked, “Artie OK?” “He’s in the hospital. They’re not sure what’s wrong.” By the time I reached the ICU, taking with me the blue flannel shirt my boy favored, Artie had drifted into a coma. Oh, how I wanted to pull him into my arms, running with him to the healing woods and streams. That’s how crazy his sickness made me. The doctor eventually applied a name to my boy’s affliction — encephalitis, a condition caused by the bite of a mosquito. Some with the disease never wake up, he explained, but since Artie was young and healthy, the odds shifted in his favor. After the doc left, my ex looked out the window. “Kenny,” she asked me, “when you took Artie to Providence Creek last Sunday, did you see any mosquitoes?” My stomach knotted up; I felt as if my brain would explode. When I knelt beside the hospital bed, I noticed my boy’s face was white as the sheets. Leaning in, I kissed his cheek. “It’s going to be right,” I promised. Artie never once opened his eyes. Not that day or the next. On the fifth day, I took him by his thin shoulders and demanded he wiggle a finger or a toe. Still, even when I draped the ragged flannel shirt over him, softly begging, “Let me help you put on your lucky shirt, Pal,” not one single body part moved. They buried Artie on a bright August afternoon. I didn’t attend. Instead I

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

stayed in my cabin, sitting in my worn-out recliner. My neighbor Norma Jenkins forced her way inside my door five days later. Wanting to make sure I had something to eat, she brought a tuna casserole and a sweet potato pie. I never ate a bite. Gradually I healed enough to return to my job at the sock factory, but I no longer cared for hiking. Just wouldn’t be the same without Artie. Actually I vowed that I’d never go into the woods again, but one October day Shelby showed up at the sock factory. That afternoon bright sunlight peeked from behind a cloud long enough to thaw both of us. For the first time in a long while, something stirred in my gut. I smiled when I noticed she wore none of the makeup she usually applied religiously. I envied the thin tracks left by tears on her cheeks. How I wished that I, too, could cry. “Artie would want you to have this.” She handed me the paper bag tucked beneath her arm. Forming words became a great burden. Finally I managed. “I appreciate it.” After she left, I opened the bag, already knowing what I’d find. Balled up in the bottom, I found the flannel shirt, the one I’d left draped over Artie before I took off running and screaming through the hospital corridors. I rubbed its softness over my face. The fabric smelled of my son. I drove at least twenty miles over the speed limit in my dented Jeep. Once I reached Providence Creek Trail, I slammed on the brakes so hard the tires squealed. Getting out, I took all that remained of my boy with me. Varying shades of orange, yellow, red and purple tinted tree leaves. I passed by healing jewelweed. Fields of goldenrod glittered in the sun and bright seeds of hearts-a-bursting covered the ground. When I inhaled the tangy scent of ripe muscadines, I recalled how Artie had loved gobbling the wild grapes, seeds and all. As I stopped beneath the gnarled arms of an ancient oak tree, the sun streamed through leaves with such intensity, I felt as if I were being bathed by golden light. Hugging all that was left of my son, I pleaded, “Help me.” Tears finally spilled down my face. I wiped them away with the shirt. Would I be led to a cool comforting end in the lake? Would I walk until I could walk no more in this place my son and I considered sacred? Or would I find the courage to go home, eventually becoming whole and sane? I did not know. Still, as long as I could cling to a piece of Artie, I didn’t care. For the first time since I’d last viewed my son’s face — tranquil against the white sheets of the hospital bed — I smiled. Artie giggled. OH Sandra Redding, who can be reached at, lives in Greensboro and has published four books and hundreds of stories, articles and reviews.

“The best decisions are those that are nearly impossible to make,” says Terry Kennedy about his struggle to find a winner for the 2013 O.Henry Short Story Contest. “I enjoyed all of the work, and it was pleasure reading them.” “Several of the pieces caught my eye,” says Kennedy, who is the associate director of UNCG’s graduate program in creative writing. “But ‘The Sun’ by Sandra Redding stood out from the rest for both its story and control of craft.” “The Court Gesture” by Felton Foushee, a story about a basketball match between a son and a father that can be read at, took second place. Two stories tied for third place, both of which are also available on O.Henry’s website — “Sun Flowers” by Candace D. Call, about a grandmother’s special tie to a wayward grandson, and “Nocturnal Encounter,” a story by Ole Giese about a window-washing intruder.

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Story of a House

By a House Possessed The resurrection of a classic Latham Park Georgian — with a whiff of ghost and a strong link to Greensboro’s past — provides a grand, on-going love affair. By Cynthia Adams • Photographs by John Gessner


e were head-over-heels for the Ralph Lewis house before we knew its back story. And we tackled the old dowager with the irrationality love inspires. Only later did we find out she had provenance — oh, how we clung to that! — and to the couple who built it, “Major Mayor,” we call him, and his writer wife, Laura Linn (La La to her family). We employed an ill-advised, zigzag course of restoration, hopping from house to garden as energy and whim inspired. The languishing two-story and vanquished garden needed an infusion of love and money. We at least had plenty of the former. Nineteen years later, our home sweet home still needs at least nineteen more things done. The original shutters need duplicating and replacing. The garage needs razing and rebuilding. We have two baths awaiting the contractor and a den about to be redone. For us, this is business as usual. Our house is a jealous mistress, and she demands most of our shekels. We just say, “Yes, Ma’am!” And pay up. When I was in my 20s, a friend visited my 1940s postwar cottage. She shot me a sidelong look and said, “Wow, you sure like old stuff.” She didn’t see the cabbage rose climbing the fence, the funky kitchen, nor the ranch burger’s endearing imperfection. Just age. Some of my finds were so old as to be dead. I once discovered the pewter vase on the mantel contained human ashes in a false bottom. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Not much has changed concerning my love of old stuff. I’m lucky that hubby Don, a man of courage, signed on for residences with few closets, wonky wiring and supernatural quirks — and possesses knowledge of house CPR. A lesser man would have bolted. We left the cottage for a 1911 house in Westerwood that had sent us a frantic S.O.S. Its porches were collapsing and the dining room sagged so much I tiptoed as lightly as possible when passing through. Then, the house’s ghost showed up around 2 a.m. every night, walking up the stairs. (Supposedly to thank us?) Once, I crouched on the landing, listening to each heavy footfall. A nearby closet contained nothing but another set of steps that did not reach the attic, but ended in a wall. The mysteries of the ghost and the Twilight Zone stairway remain unsolved. The scariest issues remained our dwindling savings and a shared driveway. The latter was untenable. Then Realtor Bill Guill called me about our current home in 1994. It had a strong pulse, but was ailing. The Latham Parker sat at the mouth of Irving Park — or the back end. Let’s just say it was along the alimentary canal that is named after Robert Cridland, a Philadelphia designer who finished the design of Irving Park. On the plus side, there had been only three owners. The house sat on a half-acre and had a driveway of its own! We bought it as fast as we could get back to a phone and make an offer. We had to pay full price, which stuck in our craw. Our Mendenhall Street house was now practically rebuilt and sold to a young couple, ghost and all. September 2013

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The new senior citizen possessed 14-inch deep walls, six-over-six windows with wavy glass, handsome keystones, handmade doors, brass doorknobs and fittings with many keys remaining, nine-foot ceilings and patrician molding in the main rooms. The red brick house was neither the most impressive in the neighborhood nor the least. It was just solid, good Georgian style. It also had a whiff of ghost. We know that at least one person has died here — an almost famous someone, named Colonel Ralph L. Lewis (Or perhaps it is our former ghost who followed us the odd mile or so to Latham Park?). A second death is strongly suspected. In the first week, I woke with a start, staring at what appeared to be a seated person calmly regarding us. I moved the chair, and the ghost moved, too. We, on the other hand, have stayed nearly twenty years. We stay because this house owns us, and we are OK with that. Stephen Catlett, retired curator at the Greensboro Historical Museum, confirmed one fine day that the Lewises built it. “And, he was a Colonel.” I was incredulous! A real Colonel? I admit it: My pulse raced. We first heard a rumor to that effect from an elderly woman attending our yard sale. We discounted the information, given she was busily bargaining us down from a 25-cent hardback novel. “Colonel Lewis was the Greensboro mayor,” Stephen explained. “And we have his historic papers.” I broke a toe hurrying off to the museum, and opened box after box of news reports and papers. The Colonel lived from 1893–1955, and his was a moving story of accomplishment, loss and triumph. It had all the classic points of a good read: a city leader and military man, faced with personal sacrifice and tragedy. This was a sadly familiar story of a middle-aged veteran facing sudden and extended redeployment. Ralph Lewis was called for active Army duty in September of 1940, at the age of 47. He had served in World War I and was called back to resume a role as an officer and commander in the run up to the Second World War. Between wars, Ralph was a key figure in the life of Greensboro, guiding the city’s move into a

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new era post the Great Depression. His brother Elbert was also civic minded and became the namesake of the Lewis Recreation Center. In 2005, while signing in at an event, a woman exclaimed, “You live in my grandparents’ house!” The woman was Bess Lewis, granddaughter of Ralph. We became fast friends. After that, I seldom walked to our front door without thinking, “Ralph and Laura’s house . . .” But ghost or no, provenance or not, what our house needed most was help from a half-hearted 1970s “ruin-ovation” wrongly or rightly attributed to Charles “Buddy” Lambeth. He rented the house from Ralph Jr. after the Colonel’s death and eventually bought it. Like Ralph, he had political interests, and his campaign signs shored up the ruined floor of the garage servant’s room. (Where we also found a small iron “laundry stove” manufactured by the defunct Carolina Glascox Stove and Manufacturing of Greenboro. There, we also excavated Guilford Dairy milk bottles, a 1920s fly rod, and a tiny lead soldier and lead cars. None of Ralph Lewis’s old car tags mentioned by Bess had survived — all were stolen from the garage.) When Buddy bought the vintage house he went modern. In went lurid, poppy-printed, silver wallpaper, carpet and big box hardware store fittings. Out went all the most attractive original fixtures and vintage lights. What he endeavored to recreate was the good life circa 1970. The kitchen was savaged and half the butler’s pantry was torn away. The top half was left in the termite-riddled garage. Stranger changes had occurred, including an addition to the rear that was like half a FEMA trailer, with two leaking sunlights and faded pink, shagadelic carpet. The master bedroom and bath made me close my eyes in denial. There was an unsightly, gazillion-pound wood stove in the living room that had belched smoke over the mantel. The now-painted cypress paneled den had loose carpet lying atop unfinished wooden floors. Underneath were multiple pet stains. Plywood was nailed over one ruined French door leading outside. We spent our July 4th in 1994 prying layers of tar-backed linoleum in the kitchen and hallway along with the white carpeting from the foyer, stairs and The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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landing. The woodstove was gifted to the floor refinishers, who probably have the hernias to prove it. We scraped, painted, refinished. We counted the layers of painted-over wallpaper on every wall and ceiling, and sighed. When Delancey Street Movers shuttled our furniture the mile from Westerwood to Latham Park, the guys shook their heads in implicit sympathy, and said, “Whew.” The house suddenly looked like a lot to tackle. We tackled things in inexplicable order. Early on, we excavated a gravel-filled fish pond. We stripped vintage wallpaper. We painted and plastered. Then, only then, could we relax a little. But never long. One night Don started shouting, “Stop hitting me with mud!” The air conditioner in the attic was leaking all the way through to the first floor and the ceiling was collapsing behind him, and wet plaster was falling, pelting his shoulders and neck. The original red oak floors came up nicely once refinished. We trolled antique shops and consignment stores looking for vintage lights to replace bad reproduction ones. Don crept around the house with a sensing device to determine where previous lights had been plastered over. He found four. A boarded up window at the top of the stairs was a vexing eyesore. (Two windows were sealed when the addition was built.) A Greensboro theatrical set painter named Brad Archer, in need of $300 to get to New York, reproduced a funky painting of “Flora” there. The goddess of flowers remains. More recently, we removed the hated skylights and built needed cupboards in the master bedroom. We installed pine floors in place of the pink carpet. We redid the strange powder room that was part of the ruin-ovation — placed where the original bedroom previously opened to an exterior terrace. Major water damage necessitated restoring the porch below, enclosed as a sun porch after the Lewises. Beyond the sun porch, a courtyard was planted and defining hedge installed, along with wrought iron and brick to replace wooden fencing. Arbors went up. We relocated the hideous and huge air conditioner from the front driveway to the back of the house. We did our best to bring the garden back from destruction and began putting in stone walls. Our neighbor, Dub Early, had a carpenter reproduce a rotting original garden bench that he admired. We attempted to return the small kitchen to a semblance of the original and at least give it a sympathetic nod to the past. Bath fixtures were returned to the same vintage — most had been removed. We sourced lights, pictures and mirrors from antique and junk shops locally and in Charleston and Savannah. Locally, Mary Rhyne, Jae-Mar Brass and Lamp Company, Kinnamans Furniture Store and Antiques, the Shoppes on Patterson, Super Flea, the (now defunct) Shops at Pomona, and Adelaide’s Corner Cottage yielded finds. But nothing is precious or important, nor even historically accurate. The house is a jumble of more trash than treasure, more shabby than chic. The Colonel and La La might not approve of us as much we admire them — we are hardly a power couple. “The only club that will have us is a wine club,” Don jokes. We use their basement as a handy wine cellar. The garage redo still awaits — third in line after other planned projects. Ralph and Laura Linn built the house in 1926 when he was 33 and she was 28. Ralph Jr., known as Sandy, was born upstairs on October 2, 1927. Bess Lewis grins wickedly; “and he was circumcised on the kitchen table!” Most of her stories concern Laura Linn. “My earliest memories of the house are when my Grandmother La La babysat me. We would sit on the screened porch and eat out there. My

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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grandfather’s portrait was over the mantel.” The portrait is owned by Bess. The portrait artist, Warren Brandt, was a Greensboro native and became an official portraitist for the Army during World War II. “Warren Brandt’s father was also a mayor of Greensboro and namesake of Lake Brandt,” Bess explains. Indeed, Leon Joseph Brandt was Greensboro’s mayor from 1907-09. He died at age 46 from influenza. His son Warren subsequently studied at the Pratt Institute and his artwork became collectible. The Weatherspoon Art Gallery has some of his art. Laura Linn became a writer, publishing articles and book reviews. She studied under Randall Jarrell at Woman’s College and became close to him and his wife. Laura Linn was a civic-minded, active woman who was frequently in the papers with her husband. He was already a veteran of WWI and a ranking major in the Guilford Grays, and president of the Greensboro Country Club. She became president of the Junior League and active in the Greensboro Garden Club. People commented that her husband, a tall and imposing man, resembled General Eisenhower. The couple entertained friends, neighbors and occasionally national figures in the living room, which is tiny by today’s standards. “La La had a piano in the main room,” Bess recalls. “She always had caramels in a dish. The dining room had wallpaper my grandfather had picked and she refused to change it. It was there till she died in the 1970s.” The popular Lewises were the precursors to today’s “power couple.” Ralph was a longtime city councilman and popular mayor. He acquired a realty company (J. E. Latham), then a bond and insurance company. He managed, insured and sold multiple properties in plummy neighborhoods like Fisher Park, Irving Park and Bessemer, along with industrial properties. The Depression created opportunities for those with cash. Posting $25,000 in good faith, he bought a bank facing liquidation, making front page news in September 1938. Then Major Ralph Lewis and Huger S. King, a Greensboro attorney, acquired the remaining assets of North Carolina Bank and Trust at the Guilford County Courthouse with Judge Sink presiding over the bidding and reporters watching. They paid $351,500 for the bank’s assets. The assets were appraised at $423,675.10. Ralph was now 40 years old. He moved his office from the eleventh floor of the Jefferson Building to the first floor, joining his new partner, Albert F. Stevens. Ralph brought his secretary (Miss Eleanor Petree) and advertised the new phone number with only five digits: 2-3707. On December 15, 1938, the newspaper reported the two men had formed “Lewis-Stevens Company for real estate, insurance and bond business.” The article ended, “Both men are popularly known in their field.” Everything soon imploded. The War to End All Wars wasn’t. On September 17, 1940, Greensboro’s Daily Record announced: “Major Ralph Lewis, who resigns as mayor of the city of Greensboro today, is to embark on a year’s training with the local unit (sic) militia.” His only child, Ralph Lewis Jr., was 13. He held major business concerns. Lewis had been on the council for seven years and mayor for one. In 1980, reporter Jim Schlosser recounted how Ralph Lewis got Uncle Sam’s call “while going about his duties as mayor of Greensboro.” More than three hundred area men had their lives disrupted. Others returned as late as 1947. Greensboro had to find a new leader since Mayor Lewis was the commanding officer of the mobilized unit officially known as the 2nd Battalion, 252nd Coast Artillery. They were nicknamed “the Guilford Grays.” Greensboro chose business partner and friend Huger S. King as Lewis’ replacement. When King was sworn in, the city council, who had closely worked with Lewis, fondly presented him with a “resolution of regret.” The city threw a parade in Ralph’s honor and 2,000 residents came to the Memorial Stadium to cheer and show support for their 42-year-old former mayor and fellow guardsmen of his command. Soprano Gwendolyn Farrell sang “God Bless America,” and the aging soldiers stood tall. “Let’s prepare now and make an honest investment for peace,” said a former commander. Another said they had to “face the crisis.” They gave the Major

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gifts, including a Winchester rifle. “A friend has it now,” Bess Lewis muses. “Today, it seems to me, the world is facing a crisis, and I feel it my duty to enter another field — that of the armed forces of the United States, in the interest of defense,” Ralph Lewis wrote before taking command of the 252nd coast artillery of the North Carolina National Guard. He asked the city to support his projects in his absence — better housing, increased water and sewer facilities, improved garbage collection and better financial processes. Major Lewis assured the crowd and the guardsmen of good treatment. On September 20, 1940, his fellow reservists left in twenty Army trucks for Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, then to Fort Screven, Georgia. The Major was posted to British and Dutch West Indies bases. Lewis became a Lieutenant Colonel, and took commands in St. Lucia and Jamaica before ultimate deployment to Trinidad. If it sounds too good to be true, it was. In Trinidad, there was a leper colony, an epidemic of venereal disease and vampire bats at Chacachacare, the outpost where men lived in barracks and tents. Before the soldiers’ return sixty months later, Laura Lewis and the new mayor’s wife helped raised $250 for radios and magazines for the Triad soldiers. In December of 1945, Colonel Ralph Lewis returned home with commendations. Only seven of his Guilford Grays did not. His son was now off to college. Ralph Lewis Jr. graduated from Davidson College and afterward went to New York to work in the bond industry for Spencer Love. We learned through Bess that a room and bath were added when the formerly vigorous Colonel developed heart problems. “That’s when the (first floor) addition was put in,” Bess says, “and he slept there. He could no longer manage the stairs.” The Colonel suffered a heart attack in August of 1954, and recuperated at Wesley Long Hospital. The papers reported on his condition. He survived less than a year — undoubtedly living a circumscribed life, coping with confinement. Curiously, the Lewises had built a straightforward, sensible house outside Irving Park, where their business had developed and sold many lots. But Latham Park suited him best. The tax bill for his home and other properties was $141.41 in 1948, and the Colonel kept strict accounts. While abroad, his letters home gave thorough instructions for the house’s care. Bess laughs. “If he was like my father, then my grandfather deliberated over every dollar he spent.” She doesn’t know if modesty or thrift drove the decision to opt for Latham Park over Irving Park. Bess says her dad was known as “The Deliberator.” And Ralph Sr. also seemed a pragmatist. The family always called the parklands facing the house “the meadow,” Bess recalls. They also kept a “country getaway” place on New Garden Road near Battleground Avenue, which cracks Bess up given the short distance from town to country. “Imagine — it’s not that many miles,” she says. There was affection for big cars by the Lewises, and always there was a family dog. On May 30, 1955, at 4:45 a.m., Ralph Lewis died at home on Cridland Road. Bess never knew her grandfather, whose death preceded her birth. In published photographs, he appears older than his 61 years. My own father died at the same age as the Colonel, also from a heart attack. The poignancy of their mutual fates connected me to the Lewises with a fine, relational thread. The more we learned about the occupants, the more we felt protectively toward the Lewis house. Writer Isabelle Allende not only opines that a house has a spirit, but that it will speak to you and tells you what it needs if you are patient. So believes my husband. The imprint of Ralph Lewis can still be found on a namesake street. It can be found on concrete markers laid in various neighborhoods, reminders of his once-thriving realty business. (One is near Fishbones Restaurant on Walker Avenue.) And, of course, his imprint is strongly within us. OH Cynthia Adams lives and writes in Greensboro and keeps an office near the Jefferson Building. Overnight guests in the Lewis house report sensing the friendly presence of Ralph and La-La. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

In a Teacher’s Garden

Ellen Ashley shares her passion for gardening by making her students get down and dirty.


By K aren M. Alley • Photographs by Cassie Butler Timpy

s I drove down Ellen Ashley’s peaceful, artfully landscaped driveway at her Summerfield home, I spotted her, oblivious to the world, lavishing love on her plants and snapping out offending weeds. “After years in sales, calling on Fortune 500 companies and spending my time in airports and hotels, I woke up one day and realized I had missed too many springs,” Ellen says. It all started, she says, with one little tomato plant. “I was tired of sitting in front of a cubicle while the azaleas and dogwoods were blooming,” she adds. She came home from work that day to her home in Dallas, Texas, and planted it in a pot out on her deck. The tomato flourished and she discovered that you can, in fact, fall in love with plants, not only for the sweet taste of a freshly picked tomato, but also for the joy of caring for another living thing. These days, Ellen has left the harried world of sales and traveling to share that joy with other people through what she refers to as a teaching garden, inviting people right into her own garden to learn more about the ins and outs of gardening. “I want people to know the joy that growing things can bring,” Ellen says. “Sometimes people who haven’t been out in nature have a fear of gardening, and I want to help them learn there’s nothing to be afraid of.”


hen Ellen and her husband, Jim, first moved to their 10-acre property in Summerfield over eleven years ago, she was by no means a novice. After that first tomato plant, she began gardening in Texas wholeheartedly, taking classes and expanding her gardens on her lakefront property. Her passion for gardening also has strong roots from her childhood spent in the small town of Hurt, Virginia. Her parents are both of Czechoslovakian descent, and in their culture they wouldn’t dream of having a home without at least a vegetable garden. Ellen’s mother also had a large cutting garden and was always sharing flowers with the neighbors. Her father grew everything from vegetables to fruit trees, in addition to working hard to support his five children. Gardening was just a part of life for Ellen’s family. But even with that, she knew that she needed some help with starting a new garden in our clay soils of the Piedmont. “When I first moved to Greensboro I searched for gardening classes and groups to join,” Ellen says. True to form, Ellen dove right in, joining the Greensboro Horticultural Society and signing up for a class at Rockingham Community College. Then, thirsty for more, she joined the Guilford County Master Gardener program, where she The Art & Soul of Greensboro

volunteered for five years. “Both of those opportunities were great, but the classes were inside. I just don’t think you get the full experience of gardening unless you’re outside, getting your hands in the dirt and seeing the actual seeds, blooms and even bugs,” Ellen says. Last year, she decided the best way to give people in Greensboro that hands-on experience was to open up her gardens and teach a course herself. Although Ellen is not formally educated as a teacher, she uses her knowledge from her own garden training to create a fun, hands-on learning experience. Through a total of eight classes she gives people the confidence and knowledge they need to get outside and start gardening. Her courses cover everything from soil basics and pruning techniques to flower arranging and plant propagation. “We get right out there and experience things,” Ellen explains. “I take them out behind my workshop and we look at the bins of compost and mulch to learn the difference between the two.” All this sumer she had her “students” walking around with magnifying glasses “to look at bugs and learn how beneficial they are to our gardens.” The best part of the classes is that each one includes a tour of the gardens, to see what’s in bloom and learn about the different plants and how they change over the seasons. It all starts at the top of the driveway, where you’re greeted by Ellie, the 1,000-pound stone elephant. As her first piece of garden art purchased in North Carolina, Ellen knew it was important to plan Ellie’s home carefully. There’s no carrying around an elephant that heavy to a new spot! As the tour continues you feel like a botanist on a great expedition. Everywhere you turn you see something interesting and unique. Over here are the delicate blooms of bleeding heart hanging over the last of the Helleborus foetidus in the shade garden. Voodoo lilies loom several feet tall in the tropical garden, marking their territory not only with their striking, pointy blooms but also with their strong, almost foul smell. At the edge of the edible garden is a Chinese mayapple, looking as if it could house a fairy’s home under its wide, flat leaf. Like her mother, Ellen has a large cutting garden that provides fodder for her beautiful arrangements any time of the year and are living lessons for her students. In the summer the tall, blooming stalks of sunflowers, zinnias and celosia are so full you can hardly move through the paths. Variegated Solomon’s seal and Chinese viburnum fill up the spaces along the garden and provide greenery for Ellen’s arrangements. Even old-fashioned nandina, the plant often called heavenly bamboo that graces front doors of older homes around the Piedmont, serves a purpose in the cutting garden as its red berries can be used to brighten up arrangements in the winter. Next to the cutting garden is an edible garden, clearly an homage to her father. Interspersed among fruit trees are beds full of September 2013

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herbs and vegetables, all growing healthily in organic soil, of course. And as a tribute to her Czechoslovakian grandmother, Ellen planted American chestnuts along with her own favorite, Japanese maples, along the driveway. “My grandmother always said, if you plant a tree it has to be useful, either producing fruit or nuts. Otherwise it’s just a waste of space and resources.” Other gardens reflect her own personal preferences as they’ve developed over the years, including a woodland garden that surrounds her workshop, a tropical garden bursting with color from canna lilies and various other heat-loving plants in the height of the summer, and a Zen garden for a relaxing spot near the house. Thanks to her eye for design and love for plants, each garden moves seamlessly one from another. While it’s hard to pick a favorite place among all of this beauty, I particularly enjoyed sitting in the woodland garden, chatting with Ellen about the merits of moving to this part of the country. Surrounded by the cool blues of woodland phlox and tiny irises and the pungent scent of wild geranium, it’s a very peaceful spot. “Jim and I just fell in love with this place,” Ellen says. She had met Jim while she was working in Texas, and as a native Texan it was somewhat hard to get him to move out of the state. But Ellen longed to get back to the area of the country where she grew up, where flowers, fruits and vegetables grow bountifully and you can enjoy a taste of all four seasons. Once they visited, Jim fell in love with the area as well. “I think people who have lived here all their lives take it for granted, but we’ve got perfect weather for gardening, a wonderful array of arts and culture, good roads and friendly people.” Like everyone who takes her classes, I came away from Ellen’s gardens reveling in the joy that comes from walking through such beautiful gardens, full of a newfound knowledge of the way microbes work in the soil and carrying a few of her own wild geraniums that she pulled right out of the garden to put in my own shady spot at home. It’s easy to see why Ellen’s classes fill up so quickly — her passion for this area and for gardening are contagious. Without any advertising, just word of mouth, she was completely booked last year and this year expanded her offerings to include more people in her classes. Through her teaching, her work with the horticultural society and Greensboro Beautiful, and her support of the Summerfield Farmers Market, where she sold cut flower arrangements last year, she is communicating to as many people as she can the importance of getting outside, soaking up the beauty that’s all around us, and living healthier lifestyles by gardening organically and eating locally. OH Karen M. Alley is a freelance writer and editor of Carolina Gardener Magazine. Learn more about this year’s classes and get information on next year’s offerings by visiting Ellen Ashley’s website, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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86 O.Henry

September 2013

Dr. Beth Borden (336) 644-2770 1009 Hwy 150W Summerfield The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Carol Bay

Make This Yours NC Teaching Studio

• Specialty cakes •Artisan desserts • Sweet treats for any occasion • Baked fresh daily

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teaching forgotten skills such as bread baking, cooking and sewing

in High Point

2116 Candelar

(Near Oak Hollow Lake)

$284,900 Visit for new class schedule

phone: 336-574-0714 or e-mail:

Jill Oakley Broker/Realtor


1401 Sunset Drive, #100 • Greensboro, NC 27408

Making the world a better place... one cupcake at a time. Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts 1616 J Battleground Avenue Greensboro, NC 27408 336-306-2827 •


Strength and Beauty of Stone

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WINTER 2013 September 27th October 7th


Preston R. Young Broker/Realtor 336.420.1478 cell 336.274.1717 office 1401 Sunset Drive #100, Greensboro, NC 27408

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

1806 Carlisle Road

Please contact us for your personal appointment:

Trude McCarty 336.273.9910

Marble ~ Granite ~ Limestone

Ashley Staton 336.706.4618 WORTHNEWYORK.COM

103 Ward Road, Greensboro NC 27405 336-230-0062* fax: 336-230-0074 •

September 2013

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buy • sell • invest


Our 2nd Annual Gala Fundraising Event*:

Carley Mann & Associates

Friday, October 4, 2013 from 8 PM until Midnight at the Featuring Live Music by

ig ime Party Band

Life & Home

Carley Mann Realtor/Broker 336.337.5672

Enjoy good music, dancing, and heavy hors d’oeuvres, free valet parking, casual attire. Cash bar available.

We stand behind what we sell and install Serving Friends and Families for Generations Products


• Porcelain & Ceramic Tile • Marble & Granite • Brick & Stone • Hardwood • Luxury Vinyl Tile • Carpet • Cork

• Bathroom Remodeling • Kitchen floors & Backsplashes • Tile Repairs & Cleaning Service • Complete installation service by qualified craftsmen

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Event Tickets- $25.00 donation** RAFFLE for TWO GREAT PRIZES!** Just $35 buys a chance at this restored classic Benz!! Provided by Foreign Accents

Only $20 for 3 nights/4 days in a Luxury 7 b.r. Emerald Isles Beachfront home!

(Winter season) Courtesy of David & Cathy Linville, reserved through BlueWater Rentals. Need not be present to win, Not more than 999 tickets sold for each prize.

**Event and Raffle tickets may be purchased by phone at (336) 210–8409 or 288-1484 ext. 107 Event Tickets only may be purchased online at our website: Check or credit card accepted. *PCC is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. All proceeds go to Hands Up & Hands Out programs to provide services for those with low income and no insurance. Donations tax deductible.

4719 Pleasant Garden Road, Pleasant Garden 336-674-8839 |


P hil Barker’s Re finishing


Refinishing of

Antiques • New Furniture • Office Furniture • Finishing available in lacquer colors

30 distinctive designers, merchants, and artists from across the state. Tuesday-Friday: 10-5 Saturday: 11-4 348 N. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 336.455.3593 88 O.Henry

September 2013

1316 Headquarters Dr. Greensboro, NC 336-275-5056 “

Come visit Center United Methodist Church 6142 Lake Brandt Rd. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

By Noah Salt

Please Don’t Disturb

Summer officially departs the scene on September 21, the autumn equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, when day and night are essentially equal in length. From this point forward the daylight will wane, announcing the harvest season and a measure of rest for the farmer and backyard gardener. September is a month of sweet valediction, according to the late novelist John Updike (whom Almanac Gardener actually played golf with one September day long ago), a moment when “the breeze tastes of apple peels” and the “air is full of smells to feel-ripe fruit, old footballs, burning brush, new books, erasers, chalk and such.” Ancient Celts thought of September as Mea’n Fo’mhair, the ideal time to honor The Green Man in us all and the lords of the forest trees with libations for the long sleep of coming winter. This was the time the tribe gathered for public celebrations involving much dancing and feasting on the last of summer’s harvested crops, drinking of cider and homemade wines, meats seasoned with gathered herbs. It’s the perfect time for making bread and hearty stews, a renowned local cook informs us, because humans naturally turn toward home with the shortening of days — a benediction to the growing season enacted through reunions and quiet hours with loved ones, closing up the summer place, the children buzzing like sparrows on the cooling lawn one last time. Out in the garden there is still much happening, rest assured, though somewhat out of sight — new potatoes and turnips and late carrots to be dug, plumping pumpkins to be sized up for future jack-o-lanterns, the last of the Russian sage and black-eyed Susans in glorious fading bloom, bright-hued asters and chrysanthemums bossily claiming the stage, even a showy bit of wild phlox (gathered from a Blue Ridge Parkway ditch) hanging on. For obvious reasons we often find ourselves drowsing in the garden on late September afternoons, reviewing summer’s adventures behind our eyelids, with a good book steepled on the chest, contemplating tasks that yet require our attention. Please don’t disturb. We’re truly hard at work here.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Writer in the Garden “But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness, the sun warming my back instead of beating on my head. The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.” — award-winning nature writer Robert Finch

By all these lovely tokens, September days are here; With summer’s best of weather, And autumn’s best of cheer. — Anonymous

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O.Henry 89

Pick up your copy of

at Greensboro & High Point Harris Teeter stores, Whole Foods Market (3202 West Friendly Avenue) and Earth Fare (2965 Battleground Avenue)

Also from our blue boxes at the following distribution points: 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.

Old Town Draught House 1205 Spring Garden St.

Fish Bones

2119 Walker Ave.

J’s Deli

4925 W. Market St.

NC Farmers Market (Colfax) 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 Farmers Curb Market 501 Yanceyville Street

K & W Cafeteria

3710 S. Holden Rd.

Sacred Garden Bookstore 211 W. Fisher Ave.

Zack’s Hot Dog’s

201 W. Davis St., Burlington

For a complete list of distribution points, please visit our website at

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

17Ways to do17Days

O.Henry magazine loves Greensboro’s annual 17 Days Art Festival sponsored by the United Arts Council, because, well, there’s so blessedly much to choose from, something for every artistic taste in the diverse menu of events. Here’s 17 things we won’t be missing this year . . . Hometown Grammy

Wait and Tremble September 1 - 29

Wait Until Dark is a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse between one blind woman and three vicious men. From the same author as Triad Stage’s favorite Dial “M” for Murder, this thriller, set in a Greenwich Village apartment in the 1960s, proves what you can’t see can most definitely hurt you. Triad Stage, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. For performance times, dates and tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

Super Fans Unite September 6 November 9

Greenhill gallery spans 17 Days with Animated!, an exhibit honoring the art of animation. Twenty-four artists who work in multiple media have chipped in to create a visually delicious show that’s sure to make the good guys smile. Make a super-human effort to catch the Animated! launch party on September 6 at 6 p.m. And, zowie, anyone who is dressed as an animated character will receive a free comic book from Acme Comics. Part of the monthly downtown arts amble known as First Friday, the opening features Greensboro airbrush artist Tyrone Terry and two of his works: a 1995 Suzuki racing motorcycle painted Samurai-style (owner in warrior duds included) and 1992 box Chevy customized in tribute to the Incredible Hulk. You can’t beat that with a big green fist. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 20

Considering his status as a Grammy winner and multiple Grammy nominee, violinist John McLaughlin Williams has been a strangely underutilized figure on America’s music scene,” says Lawrence A. Johnson of the Chicago Classical Review. On Friday, September 20, the Grimsley High grad will be totally utilized when he takes the stage at Christ United Methodist Church at 7:30 p.m., ending a weeklong educational residency reaching over a thousand Guilford County students. Expect to hear some music with deep American roots during his Music for a Great Space violin performance. Williams, a conductor as well as a violinist, began violin studies at 10. By 14, he’d soloed with the National Symphony Orchestra. He’s played with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Portland Symphony — and his mother, a pianist. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 Holden Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or

Men Do Dance September 20

Led by Duane Cyrus, a UNCG dance prof who has performed with both Alvin Ailey’s and Martha Graham’s dance companies, Dance Gala Greensboro: The Vital Grace Project is being touted as a performance that defies “the old adage that dance is something men don’t do.” The evening, beginning at 7 p.m. in Aycock Auditorium on Friday, September 20, promises to “highlight the strength and power of men dancing.” The featured attraction is the premier of a new work by Cyrus, performed by UNCG dancers. Other performers include Lloyd Knight, who has soloed with Martha Graham Dance Company; Ben Ingel from The North Carolina Dance Theatre 2; and Aran Bell, the ballet prodigy featured in the documentary film First Position. At Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 334-4849 or September 2013

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Just One of Us, Sort of September 20

What If God Was One of Us? Joan Osborne wanted to know in her international hit song, singing like an angel herself. Having shared the stage with Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and Luciano Pavarotti — not to mention touring with The Grateful Dead — this multi-platinum-selling recording artist will take the stage at Guilford College at 8 p.m., Friday, September 20. A rare chance to see this seven-time Grammy nominee up close at Dana Auditorium, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

The Magic of Kathy Mattea September 21

Grammy-winning singer Kathy Mattea stops her bus at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, to dish up a helping of country, folk and bluegrass music. She’s on tour with her latest album, Calling Me Home, which harkens to her native Appalachia. Associated Press reviewer Steven Wine says Mattea, a native of South Charleston, West Virginia, brings out the blues in bluegrass on this collection of eleven cover songs crafted by some of the best writers of mountain music. Now a resident of Nashville, Mattea can call Greensboro her home away from home any time she wants. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro.Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or

Get in the Loop

September 24 - 27

Groove and Jam September 21

What do they grow at Doodad Farm? Music, mostly, and the freshest fare from this fall’s harvest will be served up at 3 p.m., Saturday, September 21, at Groove Jam. The tin-roofed tobacco barn, turned volunteer-run-outdoor-stage, is one of Greensboro’s best spots to catch fresh local performers and a cornucopia of talent. Among the long lineup of eclectic acts are free-wheeling rock ’n’ roll from The Groove; contemporary Jewish folk songs and Klezmer (think boisterous Old World wedding music) from the Sinai Mountain Ramblers; hard-edged Americana from The Gooseberry Jam; and hokum — bluesy, jazzy, irresistibly low-brow folk farce, reclaimed from dubious roots in 19th century minstrel shows — from the Swamp Nots. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items and monetary donations of any size for Greensboro Urban Ministry, making Groove Jam’s good vibes more than sonic. Help feed families, support local artists and enjoy a night of music in the woods. Lending a hand on the farm doesn’t get much better than at Doodad Farm, 4701 Land Road, Greensboro. (336) 260-7999 or

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Whether you’re out of the New Music loop or part of it, UNCG’s four-day New Music Festival will take your ears to places you never imagined. Didn’t even know there was such a loop? New Music is a term used to encompass a number of highly composed, structured and complex musical forms that have developed from the written musical tradition. The late John Cage, composer of the famous 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence, would be welcome at the NMF, as would soundtrack composer Philip Glass. The artists and ensembles chosen to play at the 2013 NMF hail from all corners of the globe as well as Greensboro. Performers including James Douglass, Knives of Spain and Oasis Saxophone Quartet. They’ll shake your sonic foundations with evening concerts at the Weatherspoon, Mack and Mack and UNCG. For the truly devoted, the daytime workshops and activities are for musicians and composers of all levels. Details on performances and tickets: (336) 334-5789 or The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ice Cream for the Ears September 26

Beyond Bach

September 27

Her first name is pronounced EEF-ah. Think Eva with an “f.” Getting Aoife O’Donovan’s name right is the biggest hurdle you’ll face in enjoying this American-born songstress with deep Irish roots. Her silky voice, picturesque lyrics and gentle string music are much easier to digest — “like ice cream for the ears,” as one of her Facebook followers puts it.

Cellist Matt Haimovitz “calls forth a dazzling spectrum of sounds from the depths of his instrument,” says The New Yorker. Others call him “electrifying,” undoubtedly a reference to his own arrangement of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Let us hope he plays it — and one of the Bach solo suites — when he perform Beyond Bach on Friday, September 27, at the UNCG School of Music Recital Hall, 100 McIver Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

Taste for yourself on Monday, September 23, when the fair-haired guitarist steps into the spotlight at Triad Stage. Awakened by kindred spirits Dylan and Baez, O’Donovan’s talents were sharpened during summers spent in Ireland and, later, on the study of improvisation at the Boston Conservatory of Music. Her songwriting caught the ear of Alison Krauss, who recorded O’Donovan’s “Lay My Burden Down” in 2011. The same year, O’Donovan’s voice shone on two tracks of The Goat Rodeo Sessions, a Grammywinning album from the fingers of Yo-Yo Ma and other string-music heavyweights. Earlier this year, the 30-year-old O’Donovan — who was raised in the Boston ’burb of Newton and now lives in Brooklyn — released her own first album, Fossils. She has spent the summer traveling with Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion Radio Romance Tour. Like a faerie flitting from place to place, she’ll light in Greensboro for a moment then be off. Catch her while you can. The girl has the markings of a réalta, Irish for star. At Triad Stage, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

Arias in the Air September 28

It’s being billed as “Wine, Women and Song,” and who could be more experienced in those last two categories than UNCG Opera Theatre and Greensboro Opera? For the second year in a row, the two companies are partnering to present an evening involving all of the above. Maestro Joel Revzen, artistic director of the Arizona Opera and the Lake Tahoe SummerFest, will conduct the performance on Saturday, September 28. Included will be arias from Tosca and Madama Butterfly, sung by such singers such as UNCG alumna Jill Bowen Gardner, who has graced the stage of the Chicago Lyric Opera, Donald Hartmann, who has sung at Opéra de Montreal, and JoAna Rusche, who has appeared with Opera New Jersey. A pre-concert tasting of N.C. wines will begin at 6 p.m. before the 8 p.m. performance at Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

Smokin’ and Swimmin’ September 28

If you’re itching to dive into 17 Days but classical isn’t your taste, then go for a JohnnySwim. Formed in 2005 in the heart of Nashville, JohnnySwim is Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano (daughter and former backup singer of disco queen Donna Summer). Known for artfully blending elements of pop, folk, blues and soul — not to mention a little on-stage chemistry, JohnnySwim will present what promises to be a sizzling set at the Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, on Saturday, September 28 at 8 p.m. (336) 272-9888 or

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

O.Henry 93

Elsewhere Tomorrow

September 28

Greensboro’s philanthropists will have free range throughout Elsewhere Museum’s three stories when they attend “Tomorrow,” a fundraising extravaganza that begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 28. With an art sale, performances, DJs, an open bar and catering by Table 16, the party will be as playful and exuberant as Elsewhere, which describes itself as “a living museum using the massive collection of its former thrift store to build futures from old things” — hence, the theme “Tomorrow” — available every day at Elsewhere Museum, 606 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 303-1596 or

Soul Stirring September 30

Death by Chocolate October 4

There could not be a better forum than the International Civil Rights Center & Museum for the We Insist! Freedom Now Suite. Written by North Carolina native, jazz-percussion legend and civil rights icon Max Roach and performed by the UNCG Spartan Jazz Collective, the event will benefit the museum and the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program at UNC-Greensboro. The Spartan Jazz Collective, formed in 2012, is a septet of faculty and students from UNCG that focuses on specific jazz composers or original music composed especially for the group. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 30, at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-9199 or

Save room for the “Ultimate Chocolate Finale,” a dessert hatched by Leigh Hesling, Print Works Bistro’s executive chef, and Dan Rattagan, chocolatier and owner of French Broad Chocolates in Asheville. It will be the culmination of Proximity Hotel’s Chocolate Extravaganza Wine Dinner, part of its Chocolate Lover’s Weekend, beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, October 4. With champagne, wine and chocolate paired to each dish of a farm-fresh five-course dinner, you just might not want to go home — which is certainly an option with three-overnight packages that give guests the option of attending Hesling’s Chocolate Cooking Class at 12:30 p.m. Saturday — at Proximity Hotel, 704 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-8200 or www.proximityhotel. com/chocolate.htm

Mere Truffles and Great Wine October 5

Drop by Grove Winery between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 5 and indulge in truffles, wine and the swinging Gypsy-jazz sound of Django Reinhardt-inpired Swing Triade. Benefitting ArtsGreensboro, the tasting will consist of three truffles from Greensboro chocolate-maker Simply Scrumptious — one with merlot, a second infused with cabernet and a third containing caramel with sea salt. They’ll be paired with a choice of Grove wines, including sangiovese, merlot, chardonnay and rosso dolce, at Grove Winery, 7360 Brooks Bridge Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 584-4060 or

Chalk it up, People

October 5

Earn your chops as a sidewalk chalk artist or just watch as some many-colored magic unfolds in front of your eyes (and beneath your feet) on Saturday, October 5 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Rockin’ Chalk Party sidewalk art competition, hosted by Photobiz and the Center for Visual Arts. Also live music, balloon art and tie-dye crafts. Winners in each category will receive $100 and a one-year membership to the Center for Visual Arts. Registration is requested by September 25th and there is a fee to register. Starving artists should stay at home — food trucks will be on the premises. Check in for contestants begins at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of Photobiz, 516 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. (336) 333-7485 or

94 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arts & Culture


Wine Women & Song

September 28 8pm aY C O C K a U D I T O R I U M Jill Bowen Gardner

JoAna Rusche

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Donald Hartmann

Joel Revzen

Premium Adult Tickets: $45 Adult Tickets $30 Student Tickets $10 September 2013

O.Henry 95


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Friday Sunday Saturday Friday Sunday 11am - 10pm 11am - 10pm 12pm - 6pm Saturday Sunday- 6pm 11amFriday - Dormition 10pm of the11am 10pm 12pm Theotokos Greek Orthodox12pm Church Saturday Friday Sunday 11am - 10pm 11am - 10pm - 6pm 800 Westridge Rd (Corner of Friendly Ave & Westridge Rd)

11am - 10pm 11amNORTH - 10pm 12pmChurch - 6pm GREENSBORO, CAROLINA Dormition of Greek Orthodox Dormition ofthe theTheotokos Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church

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800 Westridge Rd (Corner of Friendly Ave & Westridge Rd) Dormition of the Greek Orthodox Authentic Greek Theotokos Cuisine Indoor/Outdoor DiningCAROLINA Greek Pastries Church GREENSBORO, NORTH GREENSBORO, 800 Westridge Rd (Corner NORTH of FriendlyCAROLINA Ave & Westridge Rd) For For More Information More InformationCall Call292-8013 292-8013 ororvisit

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Authentic Greek Cuisine

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September 14, 2013 7:30 ~ 9:30 p.m.

Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center • Greensboro College

Paintings B y

C.P. Logan

Terra Cotta

48x48” original oil

Proceeds from the show will be donated to the Triad Health Project

Original Oils, COmmissiOns, WOrkshOps, studiO Classes, Online Classes, painting parties

Tickets & Info: • 336.303.8792

96 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

now playing. THEATRE ART MUSIC


Sept. 6-Oct. 6, 2013 Opening reception Friday, Sept. 6, 5-7 p.m.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 1-2, 2013, 7:30 p.m. Greensboro College Opera Workshop presents

by Jessamyn Bailey, alumna, and Katie Claiborne, guest artist, Cowan and Cullis Galleries Exhibit: Sept. 6-Oct. 6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays Free and open to the public

Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center, Odell Memorial Building Tickets: $8 adults, $5 seniors and non-GC students Children admitted free

“Liberty, Equality, Sorority”

Sept. 18-22, 2013

How The World Began

by Catherine Trieschmann, directed by David Schram Annie Sellars Jordan Parlor Theatre A provocative, intelligent, and deeply felt play from the author of Crooked and The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock, Catherine Trieschmann, that earned critical acclaim Off-Broadway at The Women’s Project. A Manhattan woman travels to a rural town in Kansas recently devastated by a tornado to take a teaching job in a makeshift high school. But when she makes an off-handed remark regarding the origins of life, she unleashes community outrage and the particular distress of a troubled senior student. In an intimate and artful inquiry of her characters’ very souls, Trieschmann invites audiences to consider their own beliefs and their perhaps unspoken opinions of others. “Rare and refreshing intelligence.” – The New Yorker “Compassionately, [Trieschmann] takes pains to grant each viewpoint its share of emotional truth.” – The Village Voice 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18 – Saturday, Sept. 21 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22

Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2013, times/locations TBA

Be With You Shortly…

various authors, directed by Dan Seaman and Theatre Education majors Dan Seaman, the most decorated secondary school theatre teacher in the history of North Carolina (The state theatre organization even has an award named after him!), creates the type of theatre that he’s nationally known for — selecting and shaping an ensemble of players who then adapt written material to create theatrical brilliance. This production will be geared for multiple ages and will suit the selection of the pieces to the audience the troupe would be facing — for the college on Sept. 28-29 and then for elementary-age children on tour Sept. 30-Oct. 1, and at other times during the year. IF YOU HAVE A SCHOOL THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTED in hosting a production (free of charge), contact Dan at

“Die Fledermaus”

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

The Meldavians In Concert

Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center, Odell Memorial Building Admission: $10

Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 4 p.m.

Greensboro College Fall Choral Concert

Hannah Brown Finch Memorial Chapel Free and open to the public

Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2013

Blithe Spirit

Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center, Odell Memorial Building Written by Noel Coward, directed by Josephine “Jo” Hall The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married but haunted by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira, who is called up by a visiting “happy medium,” one Madame Arcati. As the (worldly and un-) personalities clash, Charles’s current wife, Ruth, is accidentally killed, “passes over,” and joins Elvira, and the two “blithe spirits” haunt the hapless Charles into perpetuity. Winner! 2009 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Revival “Can still keep an audience in a state of tickled contentment” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times, 2009 “A world-class comedy” -, 2009 Blithe Spirit was first produced on Broadway on November 5, 1941. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30 – Saturday, Nov. 2 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 or call 336-217-7220




All performances and exhibits are open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, tickets for music and theatre performances are available by contacting Greensboro College or on a first come, first served basis at the door. Admission is free for Greensboro College students, faculty and staff.


Arts & Culture

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September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arts & Culture

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

O.Henry 99

September 2013

The Art of the Brick

1940s USO Canteen & Caberet Honoring WWII Veterans


September 6 BEATLING. 10 p.m. If, like so many of us, you wish you could have seen the Beatles back in the swingin’ sixties, take note of the next best thing: Abbey Road Live! Hailed as “one of the world’s premier Beatles cover bands,” Abbey Road Live! specializes in re-creating a Beatles album in its entirety — Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, Sergeant



100 O.Henry

Performing arts

September 2013

might be the next best thing. The lineup of the Swingin’ Medallions; The Tams; Eric and the Chill Tones; and The Craig Woolard Band says it all. The afternoon concert benefits the Kiwanis Foundation — at White Oak Amphitheatre, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: Coliseum Box Office, 1921 West Lee Street or

September 6 FIGURE THIS. You’re invited to the opening reception of a two-person show by Greensboro College alumna Jessamyn Bailey and guest artist Katie Claiborne. Titled “Liberty, Equality, Sorority,” expect an engagement of personal and political aspects of femininity through Figurative painting and photography at the Anne Rudd Galyon and Irene Cullis Galleries in the Cowan Humanities Building, 815 West Market Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-7102 or art-exhibit.

September 7 GEE, THE HAW. 3 p.m. If pizza, paddling and pinot sound good to you, come to Grove Winery for a two-to-three hour paddle down the Haw River with guides, boats and transportation provided, followed by a patio pizza party — with wine that couldn’t get any more local. Grove Winery, 7360 Brooks Bridge Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 260-6465 or

September 7 FLIP FLOPPING ALONG. 3 p.m. If you can’t get to the coast, the Flip Flop Beach Music Festival

September 7 COLLAGIUM. 7:30 The dictionary defines “collage” as “a combination or collection of vari-

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Pepper’s or Abbey Road. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m. at The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. (336) 272-9888 or www.theblindtigercom.

Hirsch Wellness Silent Auction




September 1— October 31 BRICKED. The Art of the Brick, a touring exhibition of monumental sculptures made entirely of Legos, has been breaking museum attendance records throughout the world. Now, courtesy of the Alamance County Art Council, it’s in the Triad. Some might say The Art of the Brick has elevated the Lego medium to art, but it’s for both real kids and inner children — at the Captain James and Emma Holt White House, 213 Main Street, Graham. Info: (336) 226-4495 or

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Flip Flop Beach Music Festival with the Swingin’ Medallions




Arts Calendar


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Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September Arts Calendar ous things,” and that perfectly describes UNCG’s Collage Concert 2013, an evening of performances by artists from the school’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance presenting one work after another without pause at Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336)-334-5789 or

September 7 YOU & USO. 7 p.m. The name nearly says it all: a Sentimental Journey: A 1940s USO Canteen & Cabaret Honoring our WWII Veterans, presented by the Touring Theatre of North Carolina. With era casual and military attire encouraged, the program will include a silent auction, wine and USO canteen food at Magnolia Manor, 8818 West Market Street, Greensboro. Tickets:

September 9 STORYTELLING. 7 p.m. “Stories are how we make sense of our lives,” says musician, storyteller, author and NPR commentator Bill Harley: “Humor is my weapon.” In a free family concert presented by the UNCG University Libraries, the two-time Grammy Award winner will use songs and stories to paint poignant but often hilarious pictures of growing up, parenting and family life at Elliott University Center Auditorium, 507 Stirling Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 256-0112 or event/storytellermusician-bill-harley-on-campus.

September 12 EATING TO LEARN. 5:30 p.m. Lee Newlin, a culinary educator from Peaceful River Farm in Chapel Hill, will share tips for growing — and cooking — foods that enhance health and fight diseases. An Evening with Lee Newlin: Demonstrating and Sharing a Mediterranean Dinner is the first of this year’s Chip Callaway Lecture Series and ends with, yes, a Mediterranean dinner, paired with wine. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street,

Grove Winery Paddle Tour

Carolina Fair 9/




Kernersville. Tickets: (336) 996-7888 or www.

September 12 LIVING ART. 6:30 p.m. Bid for a cause at Art Lives Here, an annual silent auction hosted


• • Art


Performing arts

by the Hirsch Wellness Center, which serves the emotional needs of cancer survivors, patients in treatment and caregivers. While enjoying live music, appetizers, desserts and beverages, guests can meet local artists, including featured print and bookmaker Mary Beth Boone, and then bid on artworks — at Elm Street Center,

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20 DANA AUDITORIUM, GUILFORD COLLEGE • 8:00PM Tickets @ Triad Stage Box Office: 336.272.0160/

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

O.Henry 101

September Arts Calendar 203 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 290-6593 or Hirsch-Wellness-Network/74996937155.

September 13–September 22 FAIR ENOUGH. If you like strutting banty roosters, fancy show pigeons, lop-eared rabbits, aerial acrobatics and bands like HoneySuckle Ridge, the 115th Central Carolina Fair might be the best entertainment bargain around. Five bucks covers all of the above, and for $20 ($25 after 8 p.m. on Saturday), you can ride to your heart’s (or stomach’s) content. The fair begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 13, and extends until Sept 22, when a Hispanic Heritage Festival featuring Hispanic music from noon through 7 p.m., will be held in conjunction with the fair. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets at the gate, (336) 378-4499 or


September 14 FINE WINE. 11 a.m. Nothing could be “winer� than to be in Carolina in the morning — at 11 a.m. if you buy a V.I.P. ticket — or starting at noon for those only moderately important. Taste wine from twenty N.C. wineries and enjoy music, food, crafts and song at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, 2914 Sandy Ridge Road, Colfax. Tickets: (336) 223-4752 or


Alight at Pink in the Park 9/



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Performing arts

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September 14 A STORIED LIFE. 8 p.m. Celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker and civil-rights activist Maya Angelou will take the stage to kick off UNCG’s Performing Arts Series. Angelou will present her storied life, accompanied by original music, dance and visual art created by the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance faculty in Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or


September 14 PRIDE. 11 a.m. Show your support for the LGBT community at Pride in the Park. This year’s Pride Festival will be packed with vendors, food stalls and fun activities, including dueling opera singers, a mini-musical, dance groups and Cackalack Thunder Drum Corps — at Festival Park, Greensboro. Info: or www.


September 16–27 IN THE PINK. Get your pink pumps and prom dress ready. In September, the Alight Foundation plans to paint the town pink to benefit breast cancer patients. Participate by visiting Alight’s tent at Pink in the Park, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on









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September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 103

September Arts Calendar September 20 BREAK IT DOWN. 7 p.m. Poet Thomas Lux mused that if you could listen to poems like songs on the radio, Terry Kennedy’s verses from New River Breakdown would be perfect for an all-night drive across the country. In fact, you could have heard Kennedy reading his poems on NPR’s “The State of Things,” broadcast from Greensboro in August — or you can hear him in person at The Green Bean, 341 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 691-9990 or

Thursday, September 26, at Center City. There you can learn about Alight’s services and get tickets to attend the signature event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at Tyler White Gallery. Abstract expressionist painter Sherry McAdams will be there, along with wine and hors d’oeuvres, plus jewelry from Schiffman’s and art that will be raffled off. On Friday, get primped for the Pink Out Retro Prom ’80s dance party at 7:30 at George K’s, featuring a silent auction. Tickets: (336) 832-0027 or www.

September 16 BASEBALL GREAT. 5:30 p.m. Greensboro native Ralph Hodgin is finally getting recognition — posthumous induction into the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame. Noted for rarely striking out, Hodgin, who died in his 90s recently, spent most of his Major League career with the Chicago White Sox and had a lifetime batting average of .285, playing in 530 games. He was profiled in the inaugural issue of O. Henry in 2012. Among thirteen inductees for 2013, he will join skeet shooter Hunter Galloway, Jr., football great Ted Brown, golfer Bill Harvey and sportscaster Woody Durham. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 378-4499 or guilford-county-sports-hall-fame.

September 21–23 THEOTOKOS. Whether you come to Greensboro’s annual Greek Festival to hear the bouzouki player serenading diners, or to see the traditional Greek dancers, or just to shop in the agora for cookbooks, crafts, icons, ceramics, hats, dolls or other great gift items, you’ll be greeted by air that will smell good enough to eat. From sizzling souvlaki to aromatic spanakopita, from many-layered baklava to nut-stuffed kataifi, chow down — at the Dormition of Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, 800 Westridge Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 292-8013 or www.

Elements of Art Fashion Show 9/


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September 2013

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September Arts Calendar September 21 HIP TO BE SQUARE. 1–7 p.m. What distinguishes the Tate Street Festival from all the others? An exuberant but stubborn spirit of individualism and creativity that ever defies the norm. Since 1976 Tate Street has been opening wide its tattooed arms to welcome the rest of Greensboro to mingle with artists, buskers, jugglers, hipsters, serious students and musicians. Devoted street market crawlers will find vendors and crafts they never knew existed, and die-hard Indie music fans will discover tunes wholly new and fresh — from Brand New Life, for instance — at the corner of Walker and Tate, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3401988 or

September 26 MUSE & MUSEUM. 6 p.m. N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti, who first came to North Carolina to work in the VISTA program and has taught writing workshops in prisons for thirty-five years, will speak about his life’s experiences and read his poetry at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, 6136 Burlington Road, Gibsonville. Info: (336) 449-4846 or www.

September 26 SIGNATURE EVENT. 6 p.m. Bid on dining packages from some of Greensboro’s most renowned chefs at the Greensboro Signature Chefs Auction, in its twenty-second year. Joey Cheek, a Greensboro native and Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medalist and World Champion in speed skating, will be the honorary chair of the event, which benefits the March of Dimes at the Empire Room, 203 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 231-3769 or northcarolina.

WEEKLY HAPPENINGS Tuesdays CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’ 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs from a Southern Kitchen. Sit down to Chef Jay’s signature fried chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends — at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or TOTALLY RAD. While every day is an event at Geeksboro, the second and fourth Tuesday of every month serves up an unexpected blend of high and low tastes. Criterion Tuesdays set a serious tone at 7 p.m. with classic films from the Criterion Collection. Pop culture at both its best and worst comes at 9 p.m. with Totally Rad Trivia at Greensboro’s newest and most intimate movie theater, aka Geeksboro, 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 355-7180 or geeksboro. com/events.

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September 27 GLAMOR & GRACE. 6:30 p.m. Elements of Art Fashion Show is designed to revitalize regional industries that support fashion and design by raising awareness of local designers, distributors and manufacturers. Besides raising funds for the United Arts Council, Elements of Art will be raising threads for Goodwill Industries’ Success Outfitters, which provide less fortunate individuals with business attire — so bring along that blazer you’ve never fit into and enjoy models strutting their — and the Triad’s — stuff on the runway at Revolution Mill Studios, 900 Revolution Mill Road, Greensboro. (336) 235-2393 or


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Performing arts

Wednesdays MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10–15 a bottle and live acoustic music by AM rOdeO — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or

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O.Henry 105

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September Arts Calendar •

AFTERNOON DELIGHT. Noon until 1:30 p.m. Put a swing in your lunch routine every Wednesday with some Tunes@Noon. Soak in the sounds of Americana act Emily Stewart and the Baby Teeth on the 4th; local acoustic duo Clay & Benjy on the 11th; indie guitarist Joshua West on the 18th; and folk-rock group Warren Bodle & Allen on the 25th. Forgot to pack your lunch? Grab a bite from the one of the assembled food trucks. And savor it, folks — Tunes@Noon won’t be back until next summer — at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street, Greensboro. (336)272-1222 or

OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8 — 9:35 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or

Wednesdays through Saturdays PLAYING HOUSE. 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. High Point native Meredith Slane Michener’s miniature rooms, crafted on a 1:12 scale on display, along with an exhibit featuring street scenes and artifacts from the early 20th century, with a slideshow of High Point postcards — at the High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or

Thursdays JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, freshbrewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

Art of Cloth Parsley & Sage Fenini • Comfy USA Winter Sun Chalet • Amma

Fridays & Saturdays IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, plus an 8 p.m. show on Saturday appropriate for the whole family. The Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-of-a-kind — at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or OH

To add an event, email us at by the first of the month prior to the event.

Carolina Fair 9/

••• • •

Key: Art Music/Concerts Film Literature/Speakers Sports

• • •

Performing arts Fun History


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September 2013

O.Henry 107

C ome out & thank your farmers for their hard work producing our food! Greensboro Farmers Curb Market

501 Yanceyville 336-373-2402 Market Hours:

•Saturdays year round 7 am -12 noon •Weds May through December 7-12 noon and 3:30 - 6:30 pm

September 14

Farmers Appreciation Day Serving starts at 8 am Southern Breakfast prepared by Alex Amoroso

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108 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

AllA D’SAlon

alla campanella master stylist

Classic European Style Elegant private setting Online BOOking www.alladsalOn.cOm

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STATE-OF-THE-Art AUTO REPAIR The Triad’s alternative to the dealership for the last 26 years

ASE Certified Technicians Latest Computer Diagnostic Tools and Equipment New Vehicle Warranty Maintenance Courtesy Shuttle Service 24 month or 24,000 Mile Warranty


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September 2013

O.Henry 109



We offer a wonderful array of massages and body therapy services that are sure to melt away the tension from your body and mind, bringing you away from the st stress and feeling your best.

Don’t miss an issue of

Where Nurturing Really Makes A Difference


336-862-1661 1107 North Main St High Point, NC




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336.883.6249 | 1313 n. Main street High Point | |

Photo by Rodney Slate at Autumn Song Photography

Find it at these High Point Locations: Harris Teeter, 265 Eastchester Dr.

Harris Teeter, 1589 Skeet Club Rd.

• J.H. Adams Inn, 1108 N. Main St. • Shores Fine Dry Cleaning, 804 Westchester Dr. • Tex & Shirley’s, 4005 Precision Way • The Rush Fitness Center, 2620 N. Main St. • Theodore Alexander Outlet, 416 S. Elm St. •

Vintage Thrift and Antiques, 1100 N. Main St.

110 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Worth the Drive to High Point The Perfect Goodbye to Summer Say farewell to summer with a visit to High Point City Lake Park and step back in time for some good old-fashioned family fun. In its 43rd year, the High Point Arts Council’s Day in the Park Festival mixes traditional summer pleasures like a merry-go-round, boat rides, hot buttered corn on the cob and miniature golf with some hot tunes from local bands. “It’s the perfect end to your summer and kick off to the fall,” says Arts Council Executive Director Debbie Lumpkins. Lumpkins says to be sure to bring your dancing shoes. Three local bands will play throughout the day. Eric and the Chill Tones bring the sounds of beach music to the shores of City Lake. Cufflinx will get you grooving with some jazz standards from its ensemble. And the Winston-Salem-based EnVision showcases a quartet of rocking vocalists who will belt out classic R&B and Motown tunes. Shoppers can connect to local and area artisans in the Marketplace Bazaar, where pottery, jewelry, photography, woodwork and other handicrafts beckon. And if you think you might have a little Picasso, take your kids to Children’s Adventure Island, where they can complete their own cultural-themed make-and-take art project. Then check out the gallery of artwork by local elementary school students.

But perhaps the best attractions are those tested by time (The park has been around since 1935): a small-scale train ride, the carousel, miniature golf, a 30-passenger excursion boat ride, pedal boats, canoes, fishing for kids and adults, a climbing wall or a quiet walk through a Quaker cemetery. Or if you’re a real history buff, watch spinning, woodturning and blacksmithing demonstrations in the folk life area, as well as a display of Civil War-era medical equipment. Tours of the Mendenhall Meeting House will also be offered. When you get hungry, follow your nose to the food vendors selling hot funnel cakes, roasted corn on the cob, kettle corn and Polish sausages. The park’s concession area also offers nachos, ice cream, drinks and packaged food. Or bring an old-timey picnic. Grills and picnic tables are stationed throughout the park. While vendors charge fees for food and merchandise, entry to the festival, which runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., is free at City Lake Park, 602 West Main Street, Jamestown. Info: High Point Area Arts Council, 336-889-2787 or — Tina Firesheets




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Corporate Packages Available Inn 336.882.3267 Restaurant 336.882.2002

September 2013

O.Henry 111

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem The Art of a Great Estate This fall is a time of wonder at Reynolda House Museum of American

Art, which is presenting Things Wondrous & Humble: American Still Life through December 8. Why still life? “Dating from 17th century Holland, it’s wrapped up in the history of consumerism or something more personal to the artist,” says Elizabeth Chew, the Betsy Main Babcock Director of the museum’s curatorial and educational division. “It’s a genre that’s ripe for interpretation.” And it’s Reynolda-centric: “It’s the first exhibition in three years to focus on our collection,” says Curator Allison Slaby. Among the standouts is Job Lot Cheap, an 1878 trompe l’oeil by William Harnett depicting a bookseller’s assembly of unsold, marked-down wares atop a shipment of new books. “It’s about the permanence of art,” observes Slaby. “What the writer writes will go on forever. Just like the painting.” And your experience at Reynolda will transcend time, if you go on to explore the house, grounds, gardens and barns that comprise Reynolda Village. Experiencing it as an estate, “you can connect Reynolda to the arc of American history,” says Chew, citing its connection to the 17th century with the start of the tobacco trade to the rise of the Industrial South, in which R.J. Reynolds was a major and revolutionary player. But it was his wife, Katharine, who had the vision to create a 1,000-acre agrarian Utopia dedicated to progressive farming practices. “She was a Jeffersonian figure, because she believed human ingenuity could make the world a better place,” Chew says.

Certainly, her granddaughter, Barbara Babcock Millhouse, made Reynolda a better place when she transformed the house into an art museum in 1967. A walk through it is a walk through time, from Grant Wood’s Spring Turning in the hallway to dramatic, 19th-century Thomas Cole and Frederic Church landscapes in the living room to the Gilbert Stuart and John Singleton Copley Colonial portraits in the dining room. Between these gems, a newly launched website and just-completed electronic catalogue — and plans to celebrate the estate’s centennial in 2017 — life at Reynolda House is anything but still. Info: (336) 758-5150 or — Nancy Oakley

Everywhere Man





Brilliant and internationally acclaimed for his revolutionary art, Greensboro’s Noé Katz remains high above it all and something of an unknown treasure in his adopted home. But probably not for long. By DaviD C. Bailey • PhotograPhs By staCey van Berkel


ne day as a youngster, Noé Katz, arguably the most celebrated artist in Greensboro that nobody knows about, made a rare visit to the workshop in Mexico City where his father cut the diamonds that had provided him with the cash to escape Nazioccupied Poland and had supported the Katz family ever since. Approaching his father’s worktable, the already artistically inclined Katz was mesmerized by an uncut diamond the size of a walnut. As he gazed into the labyrinth of flashing light and alternating colors, the boy’s mind posed the same question that most of us would have had: “Instantly I asked, ‘How much is it worth?’ because it was a very big diamond,” Katz recalls. His father looked up from his work, “and he was very mad. He said, ‘You never ask the price, you look at the beauty of the stone. You must first look at the beauty of things.’” Though Katz was 12 at the time, his memory of the exchange is as clear as the stone that he coveted. His father loomed over him, jeweler’s loupe in one eye, a stern look on his face. “I asked him, ‘What is beauty?’ And you know what he answered me? That you will have to seek that all your life. That you will have to find what’s beautiful on your own. That you will have to fight to understand beauty.” Katz’s lifelong struggle to understand the nature of beauty has led him all over the world — to a kibbutz in Israel just after high school, where he connected to European Jewry and became a citizen of the world; to Florence, where he studied Renaissance art; to San Diego, where his uncles lived and where he was introduced to emerging American artists; to Barcelona, where he worked on a commission and studied the works of world-famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi;

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


September 2013

O.Henry 51

Story of a House

By a House Possessed The resurrection of a classic Latham Park Georgian — with a whiff of ghost and a strong link to Greensboro’s past — provides a grand, on-going love affair. By Cynthia adams • PhotograPhs By John gessner


e were head-over-heels for the Ralph Lewis house before we knew its back story. And we tackled the old dowager with the irrationality love inspires. Only later did we find out she had provenance — oh, how we clung to that! — and to the couple who built it, “Major Mayor,” we call him, and his writer wife, Laura Linn (La La to her family). We employed an ill-advised, zigzag course of restoration, hopping from house to garden as energy and whim inspired. The languishing two-story and vanquished garden needed an infusion of love and money. We at least had plenty of the former. Nineteen years later, our home sweet home still needs at least nineteen more things done. The original shutters need duplicating and replacing. The garage needs razing and rebuilding. We have two baths awaiting the contractor and a den about to be redone. For us, this is business as usual. Our house is a jealous mistress, and she demands most of our shekels. We just say, “Yes, Ma’am!” And pay up. When I was in my 20s, a friend visited my 1940s postwar cottage. She shot me a sidelong look and said, “Wow, you sure like old stuff.” She didn’t see the cabbage rose climbing the fence, the funky kitchen, nor the ranch burger’s endearing imperfection. Just age. Some of my finds were so old as to be dead. I once discovered the pewter vase on the mantel contained human ashes in a false bottom.

Not much has changed concerning my love of old stuff. I’m lucky that hubby Don, a man of courage, signed on for residences with few closets, wonky wiring and supernatural quirks — and possesses knowledge of house CPR. A lesser man would have bolted. We left the cottage for a 1911 house in Westerwood that had sent us a frantic S.O.S. Its porches were collapsing and the dining room sagged so much I tiptoed as lightly as possible when passing through. Then, the house’s ghost showed up around 2 a.m. every night, walking up the stairs. (Supposedly to thank us?) Once, I crouched on the landing, listening to each heavy footfall. A nearby closet contained nothing but another set of steps that did not reach the attic, but ended in a wall. The mysteries of the ghost and the Twilight Zone stairway remain unsolved. The scariest issues remained our dwindling savings and a shared driveway. The latter was untenable. Then Realtor Bill Guill called me about our current home in 1994. It had a strong pulse, but was ailing. The Latham Parker sat at the mouth of Irving Park — or the back end. Let’s just say it was along the alimentary canal that is named after Robert Cridland, a Philadelphia designer who finished the design of Irving Park. On the plus side, there had been only three owners. The house sat on a half-acre and had a driveway of its own! We bought it as fast as we could get back to a phone and make an offer. We had to pay full price, which stuck in our craw. Our Mendenhall Street house was now practically rebuilt and sold to a young couple, ghost and all.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

O.Henry 75

Subscribe today and have

September 2013

September Arts Calendar

Arts Calendar

ous things,” and that perfectly describes UNCG’s Collage Concert 2013, an evening of performances by artists from the school’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance presenting one work after another without pause at Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336)-334-5789 or

September 7 YOU & USO. 7 p.m. The name nearly says it all: a Sentimental Journey: A 1940s USO Canteen & Cabaret Honoring our WWII Veterans, presented by the Touring Theatre of North Carolina. With era casual and military attire encouraged, the program will include a silent auction, wine and USO canteen food at Magnolia Manor, 8818 West Market Street, Greensboro. Tickets:

September 9 STORYTELLING. 7 p.m. “Stories are how we make sense of our lives,” says musician, storyteller, author and NPR commentator Bill Harley: “Humor is my weapon.” In a free family concert presented by the UNCG University Libraries, the two-time Grammy Award winner will use songs and stories to paint poignant but often hilarious pictures of growing up, parenting and family life at Elliott University Center Auditorium, 507 Stirling Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 256-0112 or event/storytellermusician-bill-harley-on-campus.

The Art of the Brick



September 6 BEATLING. 10 p.m. If, like so many of us, you wish you could have seen the Beatles back in the swingin’ sixties, take note of the next best thing: Abbey Road Live! Hailed as “one of the world’s premier Beatles cover bands,” Abbey Road Live! specializes in re-creating a Beatles album in its entirety — Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, Sergeant


• • Art


100 O.Henry

112 O.Henry

September 2013

Flip Flop Beach Music Festival with the Swingin’ Medallions



Hirsch Wellness Silent Auction



Grove Winery Paddle Tour

Carolina Fair





delivered to your home!

September 1— October 31 BRICKED. The Art of the Brick, a touring exhibition of monumental sculptures made entirely of Legos, has been breaking museum attendance records throughout the world. Now, courtesy of the Alamance County Art Council, it’s in the Triad. Some might say The Art of the Brick has elevated the Lego medium to art, but it’s for both real kids and inner children — at the Captain James and Emma Holt White House, 213 Main Street, Graham. Info: (336) 226-4495 or

Winston-Salem, North Carolina




1940s USO Canteen & Caberet Honoring WWII Veterans

Performing arts

September 2013

Pepper’s or Abbey Road. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m. at The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. (336) 272-9888 or www.theblindtigercom.

September 6 FIGURE THIS. You’re invited to the opening reception of a two-person show by Greensboro College alumna Jessamyn Bailey and guest artist Katie Claiborne. Titled “Liberty, Equality, Sorority,” expect an engagement of personal and political aspects of femininity through Figurative painting and photography at the Anne Rudd Galyon and Irene Cullis Galleries in the Cowan Humanities Building, 815 West Market Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-7102 or art-exhibit.

River Farm in Chapel Hill, will share tips for growing — and cooking — foods that enhance health and fight diseases. An Evening with Lee Newlin: Demonstrating and Sharing a Mediterranean Dinner is the first of this year’s Chip Callaway Lecture Series and ends with, yes, a Mediterranean dinner, paired with wine. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street,

Kernersville. Tickets: (336) 996-7888 or www.

September 12

September 7





by the Hirsch Wellness Center, which serves the emotional needs of cancer survivors, patients in treatment and caregivers. While enjoying live music, appetizers, desserts and beverages, guests can meet local artists, including featured print and bookmaker Mary Beth Boone, and then bid on artworks — at Elm Street Center,

•LIVING ART. 6:30 p.m. Bid for a cause at Art Lives Here, an annual silent auction hosted • • • • • Key:



Performing arts


•FLIP FLOPPING ALONG. 3 p.m. If you can’t get to the coast, the Flip Flop Beach Music Festival • • • • • Film

might be the next best thing. The lineup of the Swingin’ Medallions; The Tams; Eric and the Chill Tones; and The Craig Woolard Band says it all. The afternoon concert benefits the Kiwanis Foundation — at White Oak Amphitheatre, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: Coliseum Box Office, 1921 West Lee Street or

September 12

•EATING TO LEARN. 5:30 p.m. Lee Newlin, a culinary educator from Peaceful



• • Fun

September 7 GEE, THE HAW. 3 p.m. If pizza, paddling and pinot sound good to you, come to Grove Winery for a two-to-three hour paddle down the Haw River with guides, boats and transportation provided, followed by a patio pizza party — with wine that couldn’t get any more local. Grove Winery, 7360 Brooks Bridge Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 260-6465 or

Call 336.617.0090

September 7 COLLAGIUM. 7:30 The dictionary defines “collage” as “a combination or collection of vari-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro





DANA AUDITORIUM, GUILFORD COLLEGE • 8:00PM Tickets @ Triad Stage Box Office: 336.272.0160/

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry Magazine P.O. Box 58, Southern Pines, NC 28388

September 2013

O.Henry 101

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

49 Miller Street next to Whole Foods Winston-Salem 723.4022 Monday-Friday 10-6 Saturday 10-5

a Visually Stunning Boutique Featuring an INNOVATIVE COLLECTION of American Women Designers Softly infused with emerging collections of EuropEan DEsignErs


45 Miller Street Winston-Salem (next to Whole Foods) 748-1114 Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-5

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

O.Henry 113




4:32:24 PM


Downtown Greensboro



First Friday

Sept. 6

Run 4 Greenway & Party

Sept. 7

East West BBQ Festival

Sept. 6, 7, 8

The City Market

Sept. 19

First Friday

Oct. 4

Rock the Chalk

Oct. 5

The City Market

Oct. 17

Comic Book City

Oct. 26 & 27

First Friday

Nov. 2

Piedmont Pottery Festival

Nov. 9

Zombie Run & Party

Nov. 9







Shop 2013.8.2-citymarket.pdf

Dine 1


4:18:40 PM










114 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Mackenzie Thompson

160th Annual Camp Meeting Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Climax Saturday, August 3, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Brandon Thompson, Amber Parks, Margaret & Clem Royal, Linda Welborn Bobbie Boone, Damian Boone, Susan Davis, Nancy Golden

Savannah SotoMartinez, Destiny Roth, Stacia Roth

Steve & Marguerite Fields, Tyla Marshall Southeast Express - Jeff Wiseman, Ray Coble, Joe Norris, Dale Giddens, Jim Boren

Betty Tillman, Steve & Cindy Fields

Pastor Chuck Hutchens Savannah & Rhyne Thornton

Vickie Flinchum, Dr. Jimmy Siske, Dave Wagner

Tre Miller, Mackenzie Thompson

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Nate Roth, Allie Yokley

September 2013

O.Henry 115

She loves me, she loves me not...

for when you no longer love itConsign it! Downsizing Refreshing Redecorating

Daisy’s is crazy for consignment! 3127 Battleground Ave. Greensboro, NC 27408 336.286.8221 116 O.Henry

September 2013

Hours: Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Marco, Laura, Daniele & Luca Giomini


Major General Nathanael Greene (Doyle G. Moore)

Major General Nathanael Greene’s Birthday Celebration at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park Saturday, August 10, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Michael Mahalak, Mike Nelson, Laura Norman, Robin Taylor, Steve Ware

John Martin, John Brown, John Sullivan, Bill Buchanan

Debby Beach, Jane Thomas

Dan & Margaret Smith, with Clara Petren Parker Huitt, Charles Cranfield

Carolyn Hall, Paula Weller, Teresa Coble, Rebecca Lowe

Charlotte & David Layton Abby Howell, Gene Greer

Keenan Rayfield, Preston Huitt, Benjamin Huitt, Kieran Rayfield, Lucy Huitt

Anne Marie Dickey, Christina Norman, James Dickey

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

September 2013

O.Henry 117

Treasures |Treasures Antiques | | Consignments Antiques | Consignments Clemens and Margaret Sandresky Artist Faculty Series Buyse Renown musicians celebrate the renovation of the magnificent

1965 Flentrop Organ


Reuter-Pivetta Glazer

Flute Phenomenon Leone Buyse

at Salem College

Joined by Barbara Lister-Sink, piano and Debra Reuter-Pivetta, flute Sunday, November 17, at 7:30 p.m. Shirley Recital Hall

Flentrop Organ Restoration Celebration Inaugural Concert

Flute Master Class with Leone Buyse Monday, November 18, 10 a.m.–12:00 noon Shirley Recital Hall


Organist Timothy Olsen

Friday, September 27, 7:30 p.m. Shirley Recital Hall Salem College’s organ professor, Timothy Olsen, begins a series of musical events featuring the magnificent 1965 Flentrop organ.

One of America’s foremost flute pedagogues, Buyse received the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Flute Association.

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Sherry’s On Main

Your best choice for new or gently loved quality furniture and home decor by consignment. Tues - Fri 10 am - 6 pm

Sat 10 am - 3 pm | 336.446.0161

106 W. Main St, Gibsonville, NC 27249

Golden Antiques & Treasures, Inc.

Over 25,000 sq. ft. of showrooms, featuring antiques and consignments! • Unique one-of-a-kind gifts • New & Gently Used Furniture Consignment Items • Jewelry • Art • Home Furnishings 4537 Hwy, 220 Summerfield, NC

Mon. - Sat. 10-6 Sun. 12-6


Legendary Pianist Frank Glazer Friday, October 18, at 7:30 p.m. Shirley Recital Hall

Piano Master Class with Frank Glazer Saturday, October 19, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Shirley Recital Hall This distinguished piano-world statesman returns for a recital that will include Beethoven’s Op. 109 and the Op. 77 Fantasia, Barber’s Excursions, and Liszt’s Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Elberson Fine Arts Center 500 East Salem Avenue at Rams Drive Winston-Salem, North Carolina



Flentrop Organ Restoration Celebration—Organ and Trumpet

Timothy Olsen, organ Judith Saxton, trumpet Friday, November 22, at 7:30 p.m. Shirley Recital Hall Organist Timothy Olsen teams up with his organ/trumpet duo partner and UNCSA colleague, Judith Saxton, for a program of kaleidoscopic colors drawn from the newly-renovated 1965 Flentrop organ and various trumpets and mutes.

Free Admission • 336-917-5493 118 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

GreenScene Mad Hatter Tea Party at the Green Valley Grill & O.Henry Hotel Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marissa Palau, Anna Grace Williams, Hailee Palau, Grace Reaves, Georgia Moorefield, John Dillon, Skyler Brown, McKamie Wofford (Alice)

Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Alice in Wonderland (McKamie Wofford)

Max & Roxanne Allen

Meagan Shoffner, Jessika Joyner

Mally West White Rabbit (Greg Caruolo), Alexander Kacan

Laura Dominguez (Green Valley Grill Pastry Chef)

Emily Johnson-Erday, John Dillon, Skyler Brown, Kenneth Nash Jr

Madison Ogden, Mia Stacy, Abby Talton

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Zakiya Hall, Nel Koenig

September 2013

O.Henry 119


Dan, Erin & Elliot Rais

Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park Hester Park Sunday, August 11, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Dottie Blanchard, Susan DeVaney, Dale Welker

Sophia & Michael Branch Whitney, Zeph & Sawyer Smith

Bob Cybrynski & Julianna Topping Sarah Fitzgerald, Riley Newkirk, Kendall Troutman, Brianne Hinz, Mike Hinz

Andrea Olemanni, Sam Angel

David & Jinni Hoggard, Mebane Ham, Van Lindsey, Michael & Pam Foxx, Gail Murphey, Mary Polkey, Bill Sutton, Bobbie Lynn, Robert Logan, Robert Jones, Bari Davis

Justin & Sammie Autry, Pete & Cara Derounian, Roger & Melissa Wilson

Corey, Andrea, Nokomis & Cameron Williams Ayal, Hannah, Sarah, Nathan Eckstein with Parker

120 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Irving Park

Irving Park

See how your family may benefit from membership at the NEW SEDGEFIELD!

Irving Park

Old Irving Park UNMISTAKABLY THE BEST PRIVATE CLUB EXPERIENCE IN THE TRIAD Multi-Million Dollar Family Activities Center New Champion Bermuda Greens & Updated Practice Facilities Member Access to 9 Private Golf Courses in the Carolinas Innovative Memberships for Current & Future Generations Beautifully Renovated Clubhouse Interior 36 Holes Designd by Legends of the Game Donald Ross & Pete Dye

Chad Flowers | 919.601.2940 | The Art & Soul of Greensboro

111 Elmwood

Prime Irving Park Location - Brick home with master on main. 5BR, 4 full BA’s. Renovated in 2007, 2nd floor finished. New kitchen w/double ovens, pantry, wet bar, hardwoods, 9 ft ceilings on main. Gorgeous sunroom that can be used as dining area. Back yard fireplace and wood burning oven. Huge bonus on 2nd floor. Detached 2-car garage w/extra storage plus additional outbuilding. This is a great, spacious family home for family fun and entertaining both inside & out.

201 Parkmont Dr.

Great family home updated and maintained throughout! Master Bedroom on main level. Office + LR, DR, Den & Sunroom on main level. Upper level had 3 bedrooms and 2 bonus rooms. 3.5 Baths. Hardwood floors on both levels except bonus. Fenced-in back yard. Recently added slate patio with stacked stone walls. Attached 2-car carport with storage area. True warmth and family comfort in great location!

6 Fountain View

Wonderful Main level 3 bedroom, 2 bath unit. Patio with beautiful view of grounds. Updated kitchen cabinets, updated tile floor and appliances new in 2002. Parquet flooring in dining area and hall. Updated HVAC and hot water heater in 2010. Pool and clubhouse on property.

206 Meadowbrook Terrace Old Irving Park - overlooking 2 parks! This charming classic home has been updated and well maintained with hardwood floors on both levels and completely painted throughout. Updated baths, Plantation shutters, wooden blinds and wooden shutters. 2-car garage with office and half bath. A must see!

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

September 2013

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Take the guesswork out Take Takethe theguesswork guessworkout outofof of your retirement plan. your yourretirement retirementplan. plan.

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126 O.Henry

September 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

T h e

A c c i d e n ta l

A s t r o l o g e r

It’s a Reality TV World Out There

September I know my bumper sticker says to honk if you like my new pink Mary Kay Caddy. But y’all have about shot my nerves to pieces! With all them car horns going off everywhere, I went back on my meds. I know, I know, I don’t drink anymore . . . but seems like I don’t drink any less, either. Just a wave and a howdy will do me just fine.

Virgo (August 24 — September 23) Birthday boys and girls, hold your horses and tighten the saddle. You got a lotta yippee going on this month and you’re just a raring to go. Sit low in the saddle and enjoy the ride, Pardner. This month, it’s all about settling down and finding you that special someone. The Autumn Equinox will bring you some true happiness if you use some gumption. If that special someone is out of your league, that don’t mean they bowl somewhere else, Honey. Libra (September 24 — October 23) You may think you are the United Nations of the universe, but sometimes you gotta step down. Great Grandpa Hornblower, bless his heart, used to say never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience. If you keep your peace early this month when things get dicey around the 8th, things will play out nicer later on. Throw some peanuts in your R.C. and let thangs go. Slip back into analytical mode on the 18th and then you can hold your ground. Scorpio (October 23 — November 21) I know it’s a Reality TV world these days, and we got gypsies, tramps and thieves hanging their business out there on the Bravo clothesline. But here’s what your Mama shoulda told you: There are more important things to have than the last word — like having a real friend. Before giving someone else a piece of your mind, remember to keep a little something for yourself. Get a grip on real reality, ’cause things get intense the first of this month. Sagittarius (November 22 — December 21) What has this long, hot summer done to you, Honey Chile? Got you all riled up, that’s what. Around the 9th, you’re going to be jumpier than a metal roofer in a heat wave, and you got more hot weather ahead. If you don’t pay attention to Ole Astrid, you will spend most of the dog days with trouble to start, rumors to spread and people to argue with! Get a new hairdo. Clean out your closet. Take care of business, hear me? The end of the month brings a nice surprise from a special friend, who knows what you like and juuuuust how you like it. Capricorn (December 22 — January 20) What you don’t want to be this month is an inspiration, as in, you may think I’m a fool but you’re my inspiration. Just because you can drive with two fingers don’t mean you ought to. This would be a good time to go to the Yum Yum and stuff your face with two dogs and a cone of ice cream. Anything just to keep your mouth and your wallet shut. Around the Equinox on the 22nd you will be happy you gave that special someone a second chance. Just stop writing to prisoners, even if you think you have discovered your spiritual soul mate. Aquarius (January 21 — February 19) When the chips are down, I always say, find you some onion dip. I’m thinking you got options you ain’t even considered. The stars tell me you got a situation coming up around the 14th that may mean both romance and career opportunities heating up. But reword that memo and blunt The Art & Soul of Greensboro

that tongue, my little Truth Teller. You got a point, it’s true, but if you wear a hat maybe nobody will notice, darling child. Pisces (February 20 — March 20) Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right? Wrong. Except . . . mid-month. Good lord a’mercy, you got a royal flush by the 14th. Miss Astrid here don’t think you can miss. Throw a party. Buy a lottery ticket. Go to Vegas. Light some candles and thank your lucky stars you were born, because the way things are looking you got a lot to be thankful for this month. (And more than a spoonful of loving coming your way, Sugar!) Aries (March 21 — April 20) The first of this month is going to be so tense you gonna need you some of them big old hot flash pearls you fill up with ice water. Chill, Honey. The audience ain’t laughing no matter how hard you dance, so just bow out and wait for the last half of the act. In the meantime, nail that salsa down. Things smooth out and you’ll get the applause you been working for by the final curtain. Then, Rambo, twirl and take a bow.

Taurus (April 21 — May 21) Change is inevitable except from the drink machine. My Magic Eight Ball tells me you got changes coming as you go charging into this month like a raging bull. Buy a Groupon for anger management classes. By the 12th, all that conflict and suspicion rolls off your back and you are looking at a harmonizing trine. After that, the Eight Ball says the “outlook is good.” Stardust and romance thereafter, and things will be Moon Pie fine by the 14th. Gemini (May 22 — June 21) Jumping to conclusions is about the only exercise you get until 11th. Just cause the animals are lining up two by two, it don’t mean you want to invest in an ark, Noah, so work on being less suspicious and relax. You may think you are Mr. Right or Miss Perfect, but nobody likes perfection or Mr. Right All the Time. If you can just be honest with your pals, the latter part of the month is a dreamy time. Take a friend to lunch and things will be all duckies and daisies. Cancer (June 22 — July 23) You may be feeling like someone licked the red off your candy. My cousin’s a Cancer, and it’s a tough month. The only vehicle in his yard that is still mobile is his home. You are going to need a little old boost early in the month, and not the kind you get from a Red Bull, Darlin’. By mid-month you have a lot more energy but Lord a’mercy you might want to stop with the overreactions . . . so dial back. Most of your suspicions are plain ole wrong. Except . . . for just one teensy, tee-ninsey little one. Leo (July 23 — August 23) Red alert! Don’t bust on through when you see the danger sign sitting right in front of you. Ease up on the gas pedal, why don’t you? And get some of that baggage outta the trunk. You may be the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, but you gotta let go of this one, and you know what I’m talking about. Later in the month you can go all out, and let the top down on the convertible. Life’s gonna taste so good it would make a bulldog bust his chain! For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path. O.Henry September 2013 127

O.Henry Ending

How to Order a Hamburger in the South

By Barbara Rosson Davis

A hamburger is a ham-

burger. Not so in the South. Moving to Greensboro from San Francisco in 1979, I discovered that hamburgers south of the Mason Dixon Line were not treated as gourmet items as they were in Napa Valley and the Bay Area.

I was now ordering a hamburger in Nathanael Greene’s and Jesse Helms’ territory, eating my first hamburger in the Triad. This hamburger homage began at a truck stop on U.S. Highway 68, just outside Greensboro. Picture a ramshackle building circa 1960, its neon light flickering, partially lit at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, the sign illuminating the name of this spotless pit stop, The Majorettes. Not a fancy place nor a drive-in, just good old Southern-fried cooking favored by truckers and bikers. We step inside; it’s a clean well-lighted place with four vinyl-covered swivel stools facing the lone fry cook and galley kitchen. Seated atop the stools are four truckers gulping their coffee and demolishing their burgers. It’s an open-style fry-kitchen, the air thick with grease and man-buzz. The fry cook, all toothy, swaddled in an apron and wearing one of those paper hats, the Boy-Scout-fold-up kind of cap, waves his spatula as we take our seats in a wooden booth, painted with multilayers of oil-based paint, sealing forever those hardwood benches beneath the butts of The Majorettes’ faithful customers. The table shines bright, so clean you could lick the sparkle off the Formica. It reeks of Clorox. The waitress, a pencil behind her ear, perm-frizzed red hair smothered by a hairnet, sashays over to our table. Rose is 50, chewing gum faster and louder than a woodchopper. Her twangy voice greets us. “Howdy, folks. What’ll it be?” She freeze-smiles cheek-to-cheek, her carbon-pad at the ready as she whips her pencil from behind her ear to write our orders. No menus are offered. I look at my fiancé; he prompts. “The burgers are great here.” “OK. A burger . . .” I mumble. Rose looks at me, real close. “How you want that burger, honey?” All ears perk up. Now, in California when the server asks you, “How do you want your burger?” they mean: How do you want your burger cooked? An apt reply would be: rare, medium-rare or well-done. Mad cow disease changed all that. Rare hamburger is now a rarity. Most California burgers automatically come with lettuce, tomato, onion and a pickle. You don’t have to ask for these, but if you don’t want these items, you order it “plain” or add things like grilled onions, blue cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms or “hold the onion and pickle. No

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September 2013

mayo.” But that’s California. Back to The Majorettes — Rose asks me again, “How do you want that burger, honey?” I catch the fry cook’s glance; his eyes reassure me that he’s been cookin’ for decades, probably owns the place. But there’s something peculiar . . . a mysterious wad bulges out his left cheek. Poor man, I think; he’s got a tumor. Skinny as a French fry, he looks to be 60-something. Spinning around again, he flips the burgers, jabbering with the truckers who are now eyeing us strangers in the mirror opposite. We certainly don’t look like locals. (Didn’t order sweet tea, neither.) The defining moment that supports Rose’s key question and their observation comes with my answer to her question. “Medium-rare, please.” Sudden silence. Jaws drop. Her pencil falls to the floor; she stoops to retrieve it, looks back at the fry cook, who has just dropped his spatula. All four truckers spin around. Gum chewing suspended, Rose looks me square in the eye, “Honey, where you from?” “California.” (It’s a Pace Salsa commercial moment.) She rolls her eyeballs, smiles, looks at the cook, the truckers. They all sigh, in unison. She looks back at me. “Well,” she continues, “let me tell ya somethin’ — when ya order a burger in North Carolina, you got three choices: lettuce, tomato ’n’ may’nais, chili ’n’ slaw or the works. The works got onions too.” Dumbfounded, I reply, “Doesn’t it automatically come with lettuce, onion, tomato and mayonnaise?” “Nope! Comes nude.” “Oh . . . Can I get onions? Pause. “Hold the mayonnaise,” adding quickly, “Have you any Grey Poupon mustard?” She laughs so hard she doubles over, then she shakes her head. The truckers are howling. “Honey. I told ya. Ya got three choices. Now, what’ll it be?” “The works.” My fiancé and I reply in unison. And, that’s how ya order a burger in the South — at least back in 1979. Oh, I almost forgot — that wad in the fry-cook’s cheek? Plug of chewin’ tobacco! OH Barbara Rosson Davis, who lives in Greensboro, founded Poetry Center South East at Guilford College in the 1980s, which morphed into North Carolina Writers Network. Her work has appeared in Southern Review, Poetry, The Carolina Quarterly and the San Francisco Chronicle. Illustration by Harry Blair The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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