December PineStraw 2011

Page 1

Fine Homes

Comfortable home perfectly situated for your privacy. Walledin patio & garden. $325,000

Middleton Place

Golf front, 3 bdrm villa, screened porch, patio, & wonderful view of the golf course! $349,000

National Golf Club

Good location for military family. Fenced yard, Carolina Rm, hrdwd, 4BR/2BA. $349,000

Kay Beran 910.315.3322

Carolyn Hallett 910.986.2319

Joel Rich 910.315.4009

Historic “Juniper Cottage” a real jewel! 2-living rooms, 2-frplcs, 2 Bdrms, 2.5 Baths. $450,000

Old Town Pinehurst

Great tee to green view of 5th hole. Outstanding floorplan, over 3,400sf. 3BR/3.5BA. $479,500

Talamore Golf Front

Private location, 4,300+sf, Living & Family Rms, Office, large Utility Rm, 4BR/4.5BA. $567,000

Joel Rich 910.315.4009

Frank Sessoms 910.639.3099

Emily Hewson 910.315.3324

Lovely home, move-in ready & priced to sell! Prettiest CCNC home! 4Bdrms, 3Baths. $575,000


Outstanding custom home across from Course #2! Totally renovated. Gracious rooms. $749,900

Old Town Pinehurst

Lakefront executive home detailed to perfection and designed to capture stunning lake views.

Carolyn Hallett 910.986.2319

Emily Hewson 910.315.3324

Kay Beran 910.315.3322

Edgewood Cottage Vintage Dutch Colonial, circa 1928 - Restored. Olympic pool. 4BR/4.5BA.

Old Town Pinehurst

Stunning transitional home! Golf course views at almost every window. Formal & Informal areas.


Magnificent home & lush grounds. Golf & Lake views. See:

Eva Toney 910.638.0972

Carolyn Hallett 910.986.2319

Marie O’Brien 910.528.5669









Village Blue Farm PRU6A5R4



Pinewild Country Club PRU4Y9R9

Pinewild Country Club

Log on to Enter the PRU ID for our Easy Search or Snap & Search with our FREE APP on your Smart Phone

910.295.5504 Pinehurst | 910.692.2635 Southern Pines


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©2011 Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities. An independently owned and operated broker member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license. Equal Housing Opportunity.

December 2011 Volume 6, No. 12 DEPARTMENTS


10 15 17

Sweet Tea Chronicles Jim Dodson

PinePitch Our Favorite Cookbooks PineBuzz

Jack Dodson

19 Postcard from Nicaragua Cassie Butler

21 23

Cos and Effect Cos Barnes The Omnivorous Reader

Stephen E. Smith

27 31 33 37 39 41 43 45 49 53 54 88 100 107



Ballad of the Chinese Buffet A Christmas Poem By Deborah Salomon

58 Wonders of the Sandhills The small things that make this such a Wonder-ful place to call home

68 Please Write Soon

By Stephen E. Smith

The joy of writing a letter 70 Jazz in the Pines A scrapbook from the Roaring Twenties

74 The Gift of the Magi By O.Henry Our tribute to our new sister magazine and America’s most beloved short story writer 78 Story of a House By Deborah Salomon For Sally Wood and her interior designer, Afterglow Cottage was the perfect canvas

87 December Almanac

By Noah Salt

This is the time to plan your spring garden

Bookshelf Hitting Home Dale Nixon The Kitchen Garden Jan Leitschuh

Vine Wisdom Robyn James Spirits Frank Daniels III Out of the Blue Deborah Salomon Birdwatch Susan Campbell The Sporting Life Tom Bryant Golftown Journal Lee Pace Pleasures of Life Joyce Rheeling Serial Eater David C. Bailey Calendar SandhillSeen Thoughts From The Manshed Geoff Cutler 109 The Accidental Astrologer Astrid Stellanova 111 PineNeedler Mart Dickerson 112 SouthWords Sue Pace

Cover Illustration By Meridith Martens 2

December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

DUX The Bed For Life

The Bed Your Back Has Been Aching For ™

Back pain can interfere with your sleep and with your quality of life. The DUX® Bed has thousands of springs that contour to your body to help keep your spine gently supported in a natural position. Back pain eases away as your body stays in perfect alignment. Say good-bye to back discomfort and hello to DUX!

The DUX Bed helps the spine rest in a natural position.

DUXIANA at The Mews Downtown Southern Pines 910.725.1577

PineStraw M A G A Z I N E Jim Dodson, Editor

910.693.2506 •

Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director 910.693.2467 •

Kathryn Galloway, Associate Art Director Ashley Wahl, Editorial Assistant EDITORIAL

Deborah Salomon, Staff Writer Stephen E. Smith, Staff Writer Sara King, Proofreader Mary Novitsky, Proofreader PHOTOGRAPHERS

Tim Sayer John Gessner Laura L. Gingerich Hannah Sharpe


David C. Bailey, Cos Barnes, Tom Bryant, Cassie Butler, Susan Campbell, Maureen Clark, Geoff Cutler, Frank Daniels III, Mart Dickerson, Jack Dodson, O.Henry, Robyn James, Jan Leitschuh, Meridith Martens, Dale Nixon, Lee Pace, Sue Pace, Jeanne Paine, Joyce Rheeling, Astrid Stellanova

David Woronoff, Publisher ADVERTISING SALES

Darlene Stark, Advertising Manager 910.693.2488 • Michelle Palladino, 910.691.9657 Ginny Kelly Terry Hartsell, 910.693.2513 Kerry Hooper, 910.693.2508 Perry Loflin, 910.693.2514 Peggy Marsh, 910.693.2516 Darlene McNeil-Smith, 910.693.2519 Johnsie Tipton, 910.693.2515 Karen Triplett, 910.693.2510 Pat Taylor, Advertising Director ADVERTISING GRAPHIC DESIGN

Kristen Clark, Kathryn Galloway, B.J. Hill Mechelle Wood, Scott Yancey CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS


PineStraw Magazine

910.693.2467 173 W. Pennsylvania Avenue Southern Pines, NC 28387 • ©Copyright 2011. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. PineStraw magazine is published by The Pilot LLC


December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

The Ryder Cup Lounge D r i n k I n Th e G a me


iscover a whole new dining experience at the

Ryder Cup Lounge located just off the porch of the historic Carolina Hotel. From the Rosemary Shrimp ‘N Grits to the Pretzel Panini, our menu is as unique as Pinehurst itself.

We d n e s d a y S p e c i a l

Li v e Mu s i c

Get complimentary Deconstructed Nachos –

Bob Redding

tortilla chips, pulled pork

Friday & Saturday nights

BBQ, queso sauce, hoop cheese, refried beans, cilantro cream, salsa and guacamole – with the


Sunday brunch

purchase of one entrée. *

The Carolina Hotel • Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina • 910.235.8415 •

©2011 Pinehurst, LLC

* Limit one appetizer per table.

Carolyn Ragone Great pinehurst loCation. Cute 3 Br/2Ba home priCeD to sell.

910.603.4114 Carolyn Ragone Real Estate, LLC

2764 Camp easter rD. 4Br/4.5Ba on 4.25aC, Barn & pastures


910.992.6272 Kathy Hawks Resort Properties, LLC

33 GranGer Drive- FairwooDs on 7. 3 Br’s 3.5 Ba . new ContruCtion. GolF Front

$5 00



$3 79 ,00 0 Betsy Robinson

lakeFront - montrose rD. near Five points. 42 aCres, pasture, wooDs, partially CleareD

910.639.0695 Area Real Estate Partners, Inc.

piazzas at “laGo Bella” - 3BD/2Ba GolF view/waterFront home



00 Mary Ellen Josephson






910.315.7754 MEJ Properties


14 BuCkley Court • wh. pines. 3BD/2Ba home with Den/stuDy on 1.25 aC lot.

Binky Albright 910.315.2622 Binky Albright Properties, LLC






$2 Kathy Hawks

Paula Espe

910.315.5622 Paula Espe Properties

00 ,9 99 $7

00 ,9 59 $1

Janice Storrs

910.315.9577 Storrs & Co. Real Estate, LLC

Linda Covington

pristine CCnC GolF Front home 3Br/4Ba renovateD anD move-in reaDy

910.695.0352 Covington Investment Properties

FoxFire area. Custom, 4 Br, 3.5 Ba, 12+ aCres, Guest CottaGe

Each Firm Independently Owned & Operated A Top producing Network of Firms Serving the Moore County Area of NC Sharing Ideas, Techonology, Marketing and Sales Support


A Wonderful Life

I’d really love to have this awesome Orvis Jacket . But honestly, don’t spend all this money on me . Seriously . I really mean it . Okay, but only if you insist . . .


As I bleat to anyone who

has ears about this time every year, Christmas is coming and I really don’t need or want a thing from a soul.

Seriously, I’ll say, and more or less mean it, I have everything a fellow could possibly desire — a great wife, happy kids, kind neighbors, and a job that keeps me out of jail. What more could a man possibly want? Besides, in the true spirit of Christmas, I like to think I’ve moved beyond the shallow material cravings of callow youth and achieved a higher plane of existence that values people over objects. Having said this, the annual Orvis “Gifts for Men” catalog arrived the other day and, for the moment at least, all the above is null and void. A friend of mine calls it “porn for middle-aged men.” One flip though its glossy pages and I become an aging male version of Kim Kardashian on a shoe-shopping spree in Beverly Hills. The only difference is, Kimmy girl buys everything in sight while I just dream. As a kid growing up in Greensboro, it was the Sears Christmas catalog that bewitched my waning December days. It wasn’t called the “Wish Book” for nothing. I’d spend hours looking at pages of toys and athletic equipment, making and revising elaborate lists of I things I desperately hoped Old Saint Nick would show up with on Christmas Eve. Several times during the month, I even made reconnoitering trips on my bike to the downtown Sears retail store just to make sure the objects of my desires were there and as good as they looked in the “Wish Book.” Let me pause here and explain that I find everything about Christmas — from its gaudy secular commercialism to the sacred Christmas Eve pageantry — absolutely irresistible and can’t get enough of Christmas carols in November, shameless holiday specials and TV commercials, and enough eggnog to fill a battleship. This is, after all, a popular celebration that has deep taproots in pre-Christian celebrations related to the return of the sun and is only symbolically connected to the birth of Jesus Christ — a date established by Emperor Constantine’s newly organized Catholic Church in the fervor of the third century, artfully grafting Jesus’ unknown birth date right on top of

the traditional Roman fete celebrating the birth of Mithra, the sun god for whom “Sunday” is named. Christ-mass became, in time, the officially designated name of the holiday. For better or worse, despite the complaints of those who tediously insist the rampant “commercialism” of the holiday obscures its deeper spiritual significance, and the opposing faction of PC spoil-sports who contends the word “Christmas” has no place in public spaces lest atheists be left out in the cold, I say — like Dickens’ Fezziwig — bring on every blessed bit of buying and wrapping, giving and receiving, dancing and celebrating, worshipping the newborn Savior and giving thanks to the most generous and exhausting time of year. Whoever wrote “Christmas comes but once a year” sure knew what he was talking about. Which, in a sense, explains why I’m so susceptible to the material charms of the annual Orvis “Gifts for Men” catalog. Possibly because we lived for nearly two decades almost within sight of rival LL Bean’s front doors (where I did 90 percent of my Christmas shopping), underscored by the fact I’ve grown remarkably thrifty (i.e., cheap) from all those years in Maine. I’ve never purchased a thing from the sporty and swank Orvis catalog, but that hasn’t stopped the kid in me from wishing I could. This year, for instance, were money no object, I could easily indulge in one of those swell “Worlds Finest Cashmere” sweaters at $350 a pop (actually, come to think of it, I’ll take two — one in navy, another in forest green) and would probably look awful dashing in the Country Tweed Vest ($189) and World’s Finest Shearling Coat ($2,900). Are you listening, Santa? Since I’m making a mental list, the Barbour Down-filled Waxed Gilet ($329) on page 49 would also look wonderful beneath our Christmas tree this year, especially if the beautiful Herringbone Field Coat ($495) on page 52 were included with it. Were wishes as read as a Wall Street bonus, why, I’d put on all these sporting togs and go for a spin in the spectacularly restored 1966 Land Rover that traveled the world with a National Geographic photojournalist shown on page 53, the adventure beauty that’s being auctioned off by the catalog on December 11. On second thought, scratch the Herringbone Field Coat in favor of the Vintage Park Ranger Jacket ($695) with its broken-in cowhide shell that spent years braving Sierra winters. I can see myself striding to work in that thing, wrapped in the softest lamb shearling on Earth. The Ritchie Rich kid in me, meanwhile, would dearly love to have the Rubberband Gatling Gun ($1,200) shown on page 69, or maybe the 70th

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



e st in th ur ys in eh da M ps in rs 7P o p u il sh Of Th nt e e n u Th ag pe er ll o b Vi l be em c il e w D

APPAREL CoolSweats Gentlemen's Corner The Faded Rose The Village Fox Boutique

BOUTIQUES Eye Max Optical Boutique Green Gate Gourmet Green Gate Olive Oils The Potpourri Old Sport & Gallery Le Feme Chateau

SALONS & SPAS Elaine's Hairdressers Glam Salon & Spa Taylor David Salon

RESTAURANTS & INNS Lady Bedford's Tea Parlour & Gift Shoppe Pine Crest Inn Restaurant & Pub Tenya Japanese Cuisine and Sushi

SERVICES Brenner Real Estate Village of Pinehurst Rentals & Golf


Anniversary Model of the USS Arizona Battleship at $4,500. If Santa’s not feeling flush this recessionary Christmas of 2011, well, I’d probably settle for the Red Ryder Commemorative BB Gun, a steal at just $89. The aging sport in me won’t even mention the Cattleman’s Sports Jacket ($695), Foreign Legion Belt and Rabbit-Fur Gloves I probably won’t get this year. Which raises a good point — or at least brings me back to reality. In another life, I might have actually saved up and owned some of these luxurious gifts for men. But in the life I’m presently living along with most Americans these days, one in which frugality and faith seem somehow more companionable and useful than indulging one’s ephemeral material wants, I’m not really sure I need or want that awesome Park Ranger Jacket and wouldn’t know what to do with that snazzy restored Range Rover if the Lords of Orvis gave it to me. Actually, not long ago, I learned from a movie-buff friend that “Christmas comes but once a year” is the title song of a famous holiday short film made in 1936 by Max Fleischer. In the delightful cartoon classic, which I powerfully remembered from my own childhood upon finding it on YouTube, the children at the orphanage wake up on Christmas morning to find toys that soon fall apart. Their bawling is heard by Prof. Grampy the Inventor passing on his motorized sleigh and singing the aforementioned song. He sneaks through the orphanage’s kitchen window and uses his inventor’s magic to make fabulous toys out of kitchen appliances — sleds out of washboard and choo-choo trains out of coffee pots. Fashioning himself a Santa suit and a Christmas tree from a bunch of umbrellas, he brings happiness back to the orphans and saves Christmas. Filmmaker Frank Capra liked the song and sentiment so much, he used it as the title song for his classic holiday film “It’s Wonderful Life,” a movie that was considered a box-office flop when it was released in 1946. Ironically, the American Film Institute lists the saga of George Bailey and Clarence the Angel trying to find the true meaning of life — and maybe Christmas itself — as one of the top 100 films of all time, including the number one inspirational film. On Christmas morning I’m pretty sure the world’s finest cashmere sweater or a rubber band Gatlin gun won’t be waiting for me beneath the tree. But as I always do, I will watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and find myself tearing up at the part where George Bailey finally realizes he’s dead broke but has something more valuable than money can buy — a great wife, happy kids, kind neighbors, and a job that keeps him out of jail. PS

December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


Street Talk

A Clatter of Hooves

Last year, the 2010 5k/10k Reindeer Fun Run welcomed 1,950 runners and walkers, 125 dogs, and 1 donkey, not to mention hundreds of fans and another 150 volunteers. On Dec. 3, the fifth annual affair (held in downtown Aberdeen) hopes to rope in 2,500 participants for the purpose of generating holiday cheer and raising money for the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills, Inc. Get the scoop on 5k and 10k routes, the Kids Egg Nog Jog, start times and details on the day’s festivities by visiting, where you can also register.

Ritzy Business

Shady dealings or no, the Roaring Twenties were a good time for merrymaking. Join flappers, gangsters and rumrunners on Dec. 6 as they breathe the 1920s back to life during an elegant five-course Christmas dinner in Pinehurst to benefit the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives. Jim “Al Capone” Dodson will host the evening, filled with live jazz music, dancing and general merriment. Menu by chef Thierry Debailleul. Cost: $150/person. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Cardinal Ballroom of The Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst. Info/ Reservations: (910) 235-8415 or www.


Mike Yankoski spent five months living on the streets to gain perspective on homelessness, faith and Christianity in America — then wrote a book about it. Yankoski’s story, chronicled in Under the Overpass, is “about more Overpass than homelessness,” says Barrett Walker, executive director for the Sandhills Coalition. “It is about enduring faith, identifying with those who are less fortunate, and truly appreciating the blessings in your life.” Yankoski will be guest speaker for the 2011 Coalition Nativity Luncheon on Dec. 7 at Belle Meade, St. Joseph of the Pines. Event also features a display of nativities from around the world. For sponsorship opportunities, tickets and more info: (910) 693-1600 or visit Under the Overpass is available for purchase at The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines.

Carols and Candles and More

Though the historic home of James and Katharine Boyd is decked to the nines Dec. 1 – 3 for “Christmas at Weymouth” (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $15), the show doesn’t stop there. On Dec. 1, “Carols at Weymouth” invites the public to enjoy music, poetry and song (free), 5 p.m. On Dec. 2, tour Weymouth by candlelight and enjoy wine and cheese ($25), 7 to 9 p.m. On Dec. 3, Children are invited to tour Weymouth and visit with Santa ($3; free for children under 3), 8:30 to 10 a.m. Weymouth Center, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info/Reservations: (910) 692-6261.

December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

Eat Moore Tuna

Set in the fictional town of Tuna, TX — the “third smallest” town in the state — “A Tuna Christmas,” presented by Moore OnStage Dec. 14 through 18, is “funny, funny, funny, and totally politically incorrect,” says Moore Onstage Manager Cinny Beggs. The second in a series of four comedic plays (preceded by “Greater Tuna” and followed by “Red, White and Tuna” and “Tuna Does Vegas”), “A Tuna Christmas” centers on the town’s annual Christmas Yard Display Contest and features just two actors playing the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets: $23; $15 (opening night special). The Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Tickets/ Info: (910) 692-7118 or

Hit the Spot Christmas Kudzu

The holiday spirit is spreading across the county like Christmas kudzu in a series of public displays, beginning with the village of Pinehurst’s Festivities and Tree Lighting on Dec. 2, 3 – 6 p.m. at the Village Square in Pinehurst. Info: (910) 295-7462. On Dec. 3, the Southern Pines Christmas Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. in the town’s Historic District on Broad St. Info: www. On Dec. 6, a Tree Lighting ceremony will be held at the old Courthouse, 6 p.m., followed by the Carthage Christmas Parade on Monroe St. Info: (910) 947-2331. And on Dec. 10, The Moore County Driving Club will decorate their horses and carriages for the annual Christmas Horse Carriage Parade (1 p.m.) through the Historic District of Southern Pines, beginning on Broad St. Info: (910) 692-0943.

A Final Hurrah to 2011

Southern Pines’ annual “First Eve,” held Dec. 31, 6 – 8:30 p.m., invites the whole family to offer final farewells to 2011 and celebrate the New Year in historic downtown. Festivities conclude with the annually anticipated “Pinecone Drop” at 8:30 p.m. Info: (910) 693-2508.

The Rooster’s Wife Concert Series continues to dish out delicious live performances at “The Spot” — as in Poplar Knight Spot, located at 114 Knight Street, Aberdeen.

December’s lineup:

12/4 – Fresh from the world premiere of The Gathering, a song cycle Greensboro-based folk singer/ songwriter Laurelyn Dossett was commissioned to write for the North Carolina Symphony’s Holiday Pops concert, the ultimate string band (including Dossett, Martha Bassett, Mike Compton and Joe Newberry) will deliver a Carolina Christmas. Show begins at 6:46 p.m. 12/7, 12/8 & 12/9 – Soldier Stories, an Americana string band musical benefit show to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans, makes a three-night stand in Aberdeen prior to their engagement at DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. 12/14 – A carnival night with Brazilian bluegrass band MATUTO! Clay Ross leads the band; Joe Craven (percussion) celebrates all things musical. And the dance floor beckons samba, meringue, salsa and Lord knows what else. Concert begins at 6:46 p.m. 12/30 - After touring with the Doobie Brothers, John Cowen celebrates the New Year at the Spot with his trio, The Vox, featuring Shad Cobb and Jeff Autrey. Show begins at 6:46 p.m. Info: (910) 944-7502 or

And the Ritz Goes On

Committed to all aspects of animal welfare, the Animal Advocates of Moore County present a Top Hat & Tails Benefit at the Pinehurst Fair Barn, 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5 — “Puttin’ On the Ritz.” Evening includes catering by Elliott’s on Linden, a red carpet pet parade, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, adoptable black and white dogs and cats and more. Tickets: $40 ($500 for reserved tables for 10). Tickets are available at The Country Bookshop, Cared for Canine, Moore Equine, Dazzle, Faded Rose, Pawz Grooming, Sandhills Winery and via the AAMC website ( Info: (910) 944-5098 or Jan at (910) 673-2918.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


Totally Gifted

It’s a Wonderful Life

About Art Gallery (2160 Midland Rd., Pinehurst) is selling a 2012 “Art of the Month” Calendar featuring copies of original paintings by ten local artists from the Pinehurst area. The calendar includes an acrylic magnetic frame to display monthly artwork — landscapes, iconic landmarks, abstract paintings and still life, all in various styles and mediums. Cost: $12; $10 for two or more. To purchase, call (910) 215-5963 or visit

Affairs of the (Horse) Heart

Ready or not, here comes another holiday season of over-crowded malls, lines with no end and the painful searching for the same thing he/she’s looking for. Or not. Give the gift of original, local art this year by shopping at the Arts Council of Moore County’s Sales Gallery, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gallery features specially selected paintings from artists Meridith Martens, Jeanette Sheehan, Jesse MacKay, Marilyn Vendemia and Harry Neely, plus various Seagrove area potters (Ben Owen, Jugtown, Charles Riggs, Fireshadow and Cady Clay, to name a few). Exhibit/Gallery located at 482 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-2787 or

The NC State Equine Health Center is presenting a free Equine Breeding Seminar in Southern Pines on Saturday Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presentation topics include: The Problem Mare, Advanced Techniques in the Field of Equine Reproduction, Diagnosing and Managing Twins, Foaling and Postpartum Problems. Lunch provided; free equine photography session will be raffled. Reserve seat by Dec. 5. Location: 6045 US Hwy 1 N, Southern Pines. Info/RSVP: (910) 692-8773.

Santa Paws

On Saturday, Dec. 3, bring your pet to Neville’s Club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for photographs with Santa ($10). “Santa Claus’ Pause for Paws” event also features silent auction and raffle; all proceeds benefit Solutions for Animals, The Moore Humane Society and The Haven. Photos available for pick-up Dec.10. Shelter donations (blankets, towels, food, etc.) can also be dropped off at Neville’s, 130 W. New Hampshire Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-1939.

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December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


A Casserole That Never Fails A Collection of Recipes by Page Memorial United Methodist Church Thou Preparest a table before me…Psalm 23


very Monday and Tuesday, a hot meal is lovingly prepared on the corner of Main and Poplar Streets in historic downtown Aberdeen at Martha’s Place, a charity-based soup kitchen located inside of the Fellowship Hall of Page Memorial United Methodist Church. “The chicken casserole never fails,” says Cookbook Committee member Carolyn Gourley, who admits that Martha’s Place, founded in 2009, was a fine excuse to dust off the church cookbook, published nearly a decade ago, and put some old recipes to good use. Although the book offers eight variations of chicken casserole to choose from, Gourley recommends Bettie J. Phillips’ recipe on page 86. Pair Bettie’s chicken casserole with a side of green beans, cranberry sauce or corn pudding — plus a roll of some sort, of course — and the


meal’s complete. And if you’re crunched for time, don’t fret. “A store-bought rotisserie chicken will work just fine,” says Gourley. “Either way, people will love it.” AW

Chicken Casserole (Lenten Lunch) 1 (3 lb.) chicken, cooked and cut in small pieces 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 can cream of celery soup 1 soup can full of milk 1 pkg. Pepperidge Farm corn bread dressing mix 1 stick margarine 1 c. chicken broth Place cut up chicken in bottom of 13 x 9 casserole dish. Combine soups and milk; mix well. Pour over chicken. Spread dressing evenly over chicken mixture. Combine margarine and broth; heat until margarine is melted. Pour over dress-

ing. Cook in 350° oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 10 to 12. Can be put together the night before, refrigerated and cooked the next day. PS


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PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .December 2011



December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


Christmas Edition: The winter playlist By JaCK DODsON

Winter holidays are the time for happy

music — the kind associated with red noses (on people and reindeer) and warm fireplaces. You get the typical winter playlists going in stores with all the classics.

And while these are wonderful songs, they get a little old by the second week of November, given that they start playing October 30. You come to resent the songs you loved growing up, and no one likes that feeling. Here at PineStraw, we’ve devised an antidote to cure the Christmas monotony. If the music of December is all about happiness, then all you need is an upbeat playlist to break the onset of Santa overdose. So here are some tracks — all fairly recent — that can help make the holidays fresher this year:

She & Him — Christmas Day

You can’t totally escape it, even on this playlist. But Zooey Deschanel’s beautiful voice and the calm, happy melody keeps this from sounding like anything carolers will be singing at your door. This is the kind of low-key Sunday morning track for that December morning when the ground outside is white.

The Bees — I Really Need Love

This U.K. group has been putting out high quality albums for quite some time now. In fact, a great winter break project might be a day spent going through their discography; they won’t disappoint. For the record, if you actually do this, they’ve always been called A Band of Bees and changed their name on this album. In fact, despite “THE BEES” being written in giant letters, even popular music magazine-site Stereogum refers to them by their old name in the newest album post. But this new song, the single from the new album, “Every Step’s a Yes,” is fantastic. The kind of song you’ll be listening to for weeks on end, and just the thought of it will make you happy. What better for the happiest time of year?

Yellow Ostrich — Mary

This band is interesting — and seemingly on the verge of being the next big indie group, for good reason. For one, they put out some phenomenal covers (just type their name in The Hype Machine and you’ll see what I’m talking about). But here they’re at their best. “Mary” (the alternate version) is a pure work of art that has the beauty of a good background song and the musicality of a song that holds up when you really listen.

Fanfarlo — De.con.struc.tion

It may not be possible to emphasize this enough: Fanfarlo is truly a magnificent band. And while their first album, “Reservoir,” was really well received among music bloggers and critics, it didn’t really push them into the spotlight like it should have. Here, “De.con.struc.tion” was the welcome single from the band’s newest album, and it’s a good showing of their strengths as a group. It’s not quite at the level of the first album, but it’s nonetheless enjoyable on a lazy December 26, if someone really nice got you their new album the day before.

Los Campesinos! — By Your Hand

Another set of indie heroes, Los Campesinos!’s newest album was a welcome addition to the late 2011 music scene. And while the reception seems to have been mixed, “By Your Hand” is undoubtedly a fun track. It’s upbeat, exciting, and great fun to sing along to. Though you may never want to sing the band’s lyrics aloud with your family, especially around the holidays, this one might be more of a driving song. Either way, it should make you hate Frosty less.

Jonsi — Gathering Stories

The early winter film “We Bought a Zoo” is sure to be amazing for one reason: Jonsi wrote two songs for it, this being one of them. (If it actually worked that way, the movie industry would rarely put out a flop.) The Sigur Ros frontman has spent quite a while off doing his solo thing, and this seems to have been his last work as Jonsi before the Icelandic legends got back together. “Gathering Stories” is a great soundtrack enhancer and a quality upbeat song that should warm up the cold winter days.

Dead Western Plains — People Beat

A word of warning: If you listen to this song once, it will be hard to keep yourself from listening to it over and over again. It’s catchy, well-crafted, and generally full of positive energy. This is the kind of high quality indie track that makes life so much more meaningful.

Typhoon — The Honest Truth

All that I said about Dead Western Plains is especially true here. Typhoon, a small outfit pretty much confined to the northwestern U.S. music scene, is a great band all around, but this track is pure bliss. If you like a good build-up, a strong acoustic ballad and meaningful lyrics, this song will become your Bible.

St . Vincent — Cruel

Easily the most popular tune on this list, besides maybe She & Him, this track is a great sing-along. Going along with our theme, the happiness factor is huge here, the melody is genuinely enjoyable. Just ignore what it’s about (cruelty and human nature). But really, it actually is upbeat and will be stuck in your head all day. At least for the month of December, don’t think about what you’re actually saying when you sing it to yourself.

Honorable Mention:

Here are a few new tracks that are definitely worth checking out; they just didn’t make it on this list because they don’t fit our happy-holidays theme. They’re equally wonderful, and should be downloaded, purchased, whatever your method:

The Black Keys — Lonely Boy Tom Waits — Satisfaction The Rapture — Sail Away J Mascis—I’ve Been Thinking PS

Jack Dodson can be reached at

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .December 2011



December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


On Christmas Island By Cassie Butler

Ever since I arrived in June, Nicaragua has already been prepped for Christmas. Managua is undoubtedly a city without a center, and in the middle of its countless roundabouts stand Christmas trees all year round, which you never really notice unless it’s nighttime ,when the enormous trees are lit.

Since there’s no Thanksgiving holiday here, Nicaraguans jump right from Halloween to Christmas. In early November came the decorations in the stores, and soon after, I saw Christmas trees through neighbors’ windows. As I was grocery shopping one evening, a singing and dancing ensemble performed “Jingle Bells” in the bakery section. The man singing was in an elf outfit and the women dancing were in short Mrs. Claus velvet dresses. I felt like I was in an island Christmas destination movie. It doesn’t matter how many lit Christmas trees I see, it just doesn’t feel like winter when I’m wearing shorts. Only a week ago, I was hiking a volcano and watching a man feed bananas to a monkey at a bus stop. This was my second trip to Lake Nicaragua’s Ometepe Island, which has beautiful twin volcanoes. I hiked the shorter of the two only because it’s the prettier twin — the eight-hour climb and decent is shaded by lush forests and the top welcomes you with a jade green lake. I can’t believe I’ve been in Nicaragua for more than five months. Even though my Christmas shopping is done and my departure date is around the corner, what really points my internal calendar in the right direction is the fact that my to-do list is diminishing. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” my boyfriend Jordan said after we finished a really fun combined video project by pulling an all-nighter. This video will really show how valuable we are to AMOS Health and Hope as media visionaries. If you want to donate to a good cause, check out the video stories we’ve produced at amoshealth, and if you feel generous, all donations made before December 31 will be matched by a sponsor to double the impact. PS Cassie Butler was recently PineStraw’s intern. PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


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told my friend Anne Peeples many times, “You probably make two cents an hour.” Anne made Christmas ornaments — beautiful, one-of-a kind ornaments — and she put a low price tag on her labor, for it was genuinely a labor of love. A former resident of Southern Pines, now deceased, Anne began making the Christmas treasures in 1957, continuing her mother’s craft after she died. She used many of her mother’s patterns — bells, stained glass church windows, angels, toy soldiers and manger scenes. She added many of her own and did special orders. My tree sports a Virginia Tech cadet, a yellow Volkswagen reminiscent of the model my son drove in high school, and silver bells commemorating a wedding anniversary. Although she always denied it, Anne’s task was difficult because she had plastic knuckles on each hand. Hers were replaced in 1972. Her doctor urged her to discontinue her cottage industry but she insisted her hands did not hurt because she did not stay in the same position for long periods. But the ornaments were distinctly her own. She cut each one out with a band saw and applied four coats of paint to each. I have seen her labor over the eyelashes on a carol singer — each one painted equidistant apart and with no mascara smudge. Anne lived alone, her faithful Mandy, a Bernese mountain dog, a constant companion, and she painted at a large table in her living room surrounded by picture windows that let in sunlight. She painted every day but did not mind interruptions and loved to display her creations. She sent hundreds of samples by UPS. Her reward, she said, was being a part of other people’s Christmases. She had third generation repeat orders and kept up with new children as they arrived in families. When my grandchildren were younger, I would make up a story about the ornaments for them. It went something like this: “Worn out on Christmas Eve, Mrs. Peeples falls asleep and the ornaments decorate her tree. Carousel Horse, the largest, takes charge, telling the newest ornaments about their heritage. Fluffing his plumes and stretching his legs, he motions to Toy Soldier, who snaps to rigid attention and taps the frisky Cocker Spaniel with his saber. Hanging from a lower bough, Raggedy Andy winks at Ann, the pairs of bells clang their clappers softly, signaling Christmas Goose to cease her proud cackling, and Santa kisses Mrs. Claus under the mistletoe. The Little Lamb, his spindly legs aching with tiredness, conscientiously guards the baby in the manger.” Merry Christmas. Be a part of somebody else’s special day. PS

Cos Barnes is a longtime contributor to PineStraw magazine. She can be contacted at

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PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � December 2011



December 2011 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


Into the Night

Asheville poet Allan Wolf’s unconventional voices make this historical novel a grand but terrifying tale


After the 1997

media saturation success of the movie Titanic, myriad documentaries on the History Channel, A&E, and NatGeo, hundreds of magazine articles and speculative volumes, DVDs galore, and God knows how many traveling artifact exhibitions, one might suspect that the Titanic mythos has worn a trifle thin. All right already: The great ship hit an iceberg and sank. Enough said.

Not so. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bookstore, there’s a new novel about the sinking of the most infamous passenger liner in the history of the known universe. Asheville poet Allan Wolf has written The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, a novel that takes its place among the umpteen other Titanic tomes — fiction, nonfiction, even a cookbook or two — that have become available since Lawrence Beesley published his The Lost of the SS Titanic: Its Story and Its Lessons in 1912. Considering the volume of Titanic material available to the reading public, Wolf faces the considerable challenge of luring benumbed readers into plowing through a 466-page story that’s been told too many times before. Granted, his novel will get a boost in April when the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking rolls around, but it’s still a tough sell. So how has Wolf chosen to beguile his readers? By bringing to life his characters, fictitious and real, notorious and otherwise, by allowing them to make their cases to the reader. The usual suspects are present — Thomas Andrews, Margaret Brown (the unsinkable), Bruce Ismay, and Captain E.J. Smith — but Wolf also includes ordinary folk, a smattering of second and third-class passengers and crew — Olaus Abelseth, the Immigrant; George

Brereton, the Gambler; Thomas Hart, the Stoker; Louis Hoffman, the Tailor; Isaac Maynard, the Entrée Cook; Jamila Nicola-Yarred, the Refugee; Oscar Woody, the Postman (and a native of Roxboro, NC); John Snow, the Undertaker; and an egalitarian collection of lesser characters. Wolf has also given voice to one of the ship’s resident rats, the iceberg that precipitates the calamity, and one of the undertakers who collected the bodies in the days following the sinking. And he allows these characters to speak at length of their experiences before, during, and after the disaster. Distress signals, many of them reprinted verbatim and accompanied by the appropriate dots and dashes, “Records of Bodies and Effects,” and letters are sprinkled throughout the text, lending verisimilitude to the obviously fictional elements of the narrative. Instead of writing in a conventional format with large blocks of prose explication, description, and dialog, he employs a poetic form in which he truncates his lines to produce the illusion of free verse. In the case of the Iceberg, end rhymes and Anglo-Saxon alliteration are employed: “The heart, the heart — that little living lump/….They keep the beat. The meter. Steady rocks./Like clocks: they tick and tock to trace the time./And when two human lovers meet — they chime/…The ice will have his pick of human hearts/as soon as fair Titanic plays her part.” In “The First-Class Promenade,” written with end and slant rhymes and an obvious metrical structure, the rhythm approximates the cadence of the passengers’ footsteps and heartbeats. In the cases of the ship’s rat, the telegraph operators, and the Titanic itself, “concrete poetry” is arranged on the page to approximate the movement and gradual upending of the ship as it begins to sink. At the moment Titanic finally succumbs to the forces of nature, a two-page smattering of quatrains surrounds snatches of dialog and minimalist imagery that convey the desperation of those who find themselves suddenly facing death in the cold sea. Prosody aside, Wolf’s narrative unfolds neatly and intertwines the lives of many of the characters — the Baker and the Ship Rat, the Undertaker

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � December 2011


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and his many charges, and Captain Smith and Frankie Goldsmith, a small boy who’s searching the ship for imaginary dragons. The theft of a money belt from Jamila Nicole-Yarred, the Refugee, brings her story together with that of Sean Gould, the Stoker, who has signed aboard using the alias Thomas Hart — a subplot that traces the fictional Gould’s conversion from a thief to a good Samaritan and finds him in a lifeboat freezing to death and draped in the Gambler’s dinner jacket, the pocket of which contains “a worthless bank draft, ruined by water.” Wolf has meticulously researched his subject and despite an occasional slip — “win-win situation” is used twice and is, according to Merriam-Webster, an expression that postdates the sinking — he has produced an insightful, instructive, and compelling historical novel about the sinking of Titanic.

...he’s careful to distinguish between reality as popular history perceives it and fiction as readers would have it.

Want to give the perfect gift? Tom Ford TOM FORD



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Since the distinction between fiction and nonfiction seems to have become meaningless in American pop culture, Wolf is to be applauded for including in his “Notes” brief but immensely interesting biographies of the characters, and he’s careful to distinguish between reality as popular history perceives it and fiction as readers would have it. He also sets straight many of the misconceptions that continue to surround the sinking, as with the villainization of J. Bruce Ismay and the aggrandizement of Margaret Brown, both of which occurred long after Titanic had settled to the bottom of the Atlantic. Candlewick Press, the publisher of The Watch That Ends the Night, has a reputation for offering the best in children’s literature, and certainly Wolf’s latest contribution to the genre is appropriate for “young adults,” ages 14 to 21. But the novel will be of interest to anyone who’s a Titanic buff — or a lover of grand but terrifying tales well told. PS Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry, A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths, is available at The Country Bookshop. Contact him at PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



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December 2011 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


Perfect Book Picks for Holiday Gifts TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE, F. Scott Fitzgerald. This hardback book has a dust jacket of gold and white pattern that evokes the whimsy of the 1920s. Inside is a collection of Fitzgerald’s best known short stories. The beauty of this volume makes it a fantastic hostess gift and would look beautiful on any table. FOOD RULES: AN EATERS MANUAL, Michael Pollan and Maia Kalman. This new edition was illustrated by Maira Kalman, the artist who recently illustrated E.B. White’s “The Elements of Style” to great acclaim. Pollen has added new rules to the book and the compilation sparks with whimsy and practicality. Furthermore, The Country Bookshop has autographed copies of this book! This book is good clean fun and could fit in a stocking. SCHOTT’S QUINTESSENTIAL MISCELLANY. Ben Schott is sure to please. In a new 2011 edition miscellaneous facts — from word frequency in Beatles hits to maps of World War One trench scheming — this book is sure to give plenty of dinner table worthy facts and tidbits. EXCITING FOOD FOR SOUTHERN TYPES is a pocket paperback with a gorgeous cover by Pellegrino Artusi. Full of musings about food and Italy, this Southern is not our South but Italy’s. Many of the recipes are written out in a prose format, peppered with the history of the recipe or poetry inspired by it. This is a great stocking stuffer book. THE TAO OF TRAVEL: ENLIGHTENMENTS FROM LIVES ON THE ROAD, Paul Theroux. A leather gold embossed cover, with a band enclosure, this book is a gorgeous gift. Theroux has been wandering the globe for fifty years and here highlights writing that shaped him as reader and traveler. Part philosophical guide, part miscellany, part reminiscence, this book is sure to delight. THE BOMBSHELL MANUAL OF STYLE, Lauren Stover. This whimsical book is interspersed with watercolor drawings by Ruben Toldeo, who has illustrated for designers and a slew of fashion magazines. Stover, inspired by her grandmother, has researched the finer nuances of bombshells trying to navigate their complexity and the intelligence that holds people captive. A book to inspire and a great gift for women of all ages.

college or his twenties. Chonko features cross-section photographs of sandwiches and describes the ingredients and history. White text on black pages, this book will be a fun addition to dorm rooms and young coffee tables. PILGRIMAGE, Annie Leibovitz. A beautiful collection of photographs taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz during her free time of the subjects she found most interesting. The book covers a wide range of places, as well as objects, that were home to or belonged to such icons as Annie Oakley and Ralph Waldo Emerson. GREAT DISCOVERIES IN MEDICINE, William and Helen Bynum. A truly fascinating book that takes a look at medical practices, from ancient civilizations to today’s modern medicine. Every major shift in treatment and great medical invention, as well as their effect on the outside world, is covered. MOMOFUKU MILK BAR, Christina Tosi. Complement to The New York Times bestselling Momofuku cookbook, this new book covers a wide variety of delicious desserts from classics such as peanut brittle to the more outrageous “Cereal Milk Ice Cream.” This is a fantastic gift for all food lovers. THE OBITS ANNUAL. This book reprints all of The New York Times obituaries and could be the classiest bathroom reader you may ever find. Inspiring, provocative, or bizarre, the people memorialized are always interesting. THE OXFORD COMPANION TO BEER, Garrett Oliver. A beautiful 868 page reference book for all things beer, this book will inform and entertain all. With more than a thousand entries, this book covers every subject of interest for the enthusiastic food and beverage professional or novice lover of the brew. THE PENGUIN ANTHOLOGY OF 20TH CENTURY AMERICAN POETRY, edited by Rita Dove. This poetry Anthology is a hardcover book with wonderful patterned paper on the inside cover. Old favorite poems and new poems from the later part of the century make an appearance in this cannon of poetry.

MAPPING AMERICA: EXPLORING THE CONTINENT, Tom Howells and Duncan McCorquodale. This book explores the nation’s physical, social and cultural history through 500 years of maps. This is a wonderful book to have out around your house, because even one page will entertain and inform.

MEDAL OF HONOR: PORTRAITS OF VALOR BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY. With a forward by Brian Williams, essays by Tom Brokaw, Victor Davis Hanson and Senator John McCain and letters from Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, this coffee table book features two pages for each medal awarded. Portraits by Nick Del Calzo accompany the tales of valor that merited each award bestowed upon our brave servicemen.

STEAM: AN ENDURING LEGACY, THE RAILROAD PHOTOGRAPHS OF JOEL JENSEN. Essays by John Gruber and Scott Lothes. This coffee table book is perfect for people of all ages who love trains. Stunning black and white photographs feature the majesty of trains in all environments.

THE NATION’S HANGAR: AIRCRAFT TREASURES OF THE SMITHSONIAN. This softcover coffee table book features beauty shots of the planes in the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and essays about each aircraft and its history.

SCANWICHES, Jon Chonko. This fun book is a perfect gift for the boy in

HEMINGWAY’S BOAT: EVERYTHING HE LOVED IN LIFE, AND LOST, 1934-1961. Unique because this biography focuses on Hemingway through the

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



lens of his boat, Pilar, we recommend you read this book by a Christmas fire. THE OLD MAN AND THE BOY, Robert Ruark. My father rereads this book every Christmas. It is about the life wisdom a grandfather shares with his young grandson as they hunt and fish through North Carolina. This book is a simple pleasure and wonderful to share. MYCOPHILIA: REVELATIONS FROM THE WEIRD WORLD OF MUSHROOMS, Eugenia Bone. Fun, factual and easy to read, this book covers foraging, exotic mushrooms, truffles and plenty of history. By the end of the book the reader will be able to entertain any dinner guest or passerby in the grocery store with fascinating “Did you know….” questions about mushrooms. SURVIVAL OF THE BEAUTIFUL: ART, SCIENCE, AND EVOLUTION, David Rothenberg. Humble in its amazement of nature’s beauty, Rothenberg, an internationally known jazz musician and professor, presents a profound exploration of art, science and the creative impulse. PREPPY: CULTIVATING IVY LEAGUE STYLE, Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chapelle. This coffee table book celebrates the preppy look over the decades. Full of pictures and analytic essays about the evolution and inspirations for the preppy look, this book is a fantastic gift for men, women, boys or girls. CHILDREN & YOUNG ADULT IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT, Laura Numeroff. If you give a dog a donut, he’s going to ask for some apple juice to go with it. In the tradition of the beloved If You Give a Mouse a Cookie comes this new fun tale following a dog and his boy through an apple orchard, a baseball diamond, a pirate standoff and eventually back home for more apple juice and ultimately one last donut. CARPENTER’S GIFT, David Rubel, illustrated by Jim LaMarche. On Christmas Eve 1931, 9-year-old Henry helps his father cut and sell Christmas Trees, giving one to Rockefeller Center Construction workers who in turn present

28 December 2011

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Henry’s family with the gift of help rebuilding their home. Many years later, Henry has another opportunity to provide the famous tree whose wood is later milled to provide a home for another needy family. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: CABIN FEVER, Jeff Kinney. In this sixth book in The New York Times best-selling series, wimpy kid extraordinaire Greg Heffley is in trouble. School property has been damaged, Greg is the prime suspect, and things are just about to hit the fan. Then a surprise blizzard hits, trapping everyone in the Heffley family inside, and everyone knows being a teenager trapped with your family is worse than any punishment school authorities could dole out. THE APOTHECARY, Malie Maloy. During the Red Scare of 1952, 14 year-old Janie moves to London with her parents who have been accused of being Communists. There, Janie encounters a world of espionage, adventure and alchemy when she meets Benjamin, the son of the local apothecary and heir to a wealth of knowledge that could save the world from ramifications surrounding escalating tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. Historical fiction paired with magic elixirs and transformational spells, this clever and often humorous title is perfect for voracious young readers.

December 3, 2011 | Aberdeen, North Carolina


THE FUTURE OF US, Jay Asher. When high school students Josh and Emma accidentally discover facebook in 1995, they are able to see fifteen years into the future, where they discover every action and decision they make affects their lives, loves and ultimate destinies. FLIP, Martyn Bedford. 15 year-old asthmatic, geeky Alex is shocked to wake up in an unfamiliar room, in an unfamiliar town, in the buff athletic body of someone named Philip. As he stumbles through the first awkward day, Alex realizes six months have passed, his real family has received shocking news about him, and he has no idea how to return to his own life. This cleverly written intriguing story will leave readers pondering the meaning of personal identity and the connection between the soul and the body. PS Contributed by Kimberly Daniels and Angie Tally The Country Bookshop.


Kids Egg Nog Jog

Saturday, December 3 8:45am – 10k Run 9:00 am – 5k Fun Run/Walk 10:15 am – Chick-fil-A Egg Nog Jog 9:30 am to 12:00 pm – After Party

Benefiting the 5 Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sandhills Ann th ual sponsored by

Live music, awards, Chick-fil-A Kids Zone & Santa!

info & register @

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Oh, Christmas Tree

Our lights aren’t perfect, but our marriage is a gift By Dale Nixon

Bob Nixon and I

were married in the month of May. It was a marriage made in heaven. We never exchanged one cross word or disagreed over anything.

We lived this near perfect life for seven months; then December rolled around. We had our first argument, and it was over a little thing called Christmas tree lights. I guess I am to blame for the argument because I asked for his help. He never would have volunteered to help me with the Christmas tree lights, but I encouraged his assistance. I said, “Honey, you are so tall and so strong. You can put those little ole’ lights on the tree in a matter of minutes. Why, you won’t even need a ladder. If you’ll just place the lights for me, I’ll do the rest. You wouldn’t let me struggle with the decorating without your help, now would you?” (Remember, we’d only been married seven months.) Bobby was flattered. He stretched himself to his fullest height, squared his shoulders and said of course he would come to my rescue. (What else were heroes for?) Bobby circled the tree about four times with the strands of lights before he ran out. He said for me not to worry my head with anything. He would go to the store and buy me some more boxes of lights. I said, “Now, Bobby, just buy one box of lights. I’m sure that’s all we need.” “No, sweetheart,” he replied, “I’ll get several boxes, and if we have any left over, I’ll take them back.” “No, baby face,” I replied ever so sweetly, “just one more box will finish the tree. Let’s not spend a lot of money on lights this year.” I noticed the back of Bobby’s neck was beginning to turn red. He said, “Yes, dear, whatever you say, dear.” Bobby left and went back to the store. He returned carrying one box of lights. He circled the tree two more times with the one set of lights. Between gritted teeth he said, “We have run out of lights again. We will need another three more boxes to finish the tree. I am going to buy them, and please don’t argue with me.” I refused to let him prove me wrong. “Bobby, I really think one more box will do it. I know a lot more about tree decorating than you do. After all, I am a woman.”

His neck had turned redder than the Christmas balls waiting to be placed on the tree, and he was muttering under his breath as he left for the store. While he was gone, I fixed myself a big mug of hot chocolate, tuned in to some Christmas carols, and was really getting into the Christmas spirit. He returned home with one more set of lights that did not finish the tree. He switched off my music, drank the rest of my hot chocolate, and definitely was not getting into the Christmas spirit. “Woman (what happened to sweetheart and dear?), I am going back to the store, buying every set of lights that is left on the shelves, and if you say one word against my plan, I will never help you with Christmas tree lights again as long as I live.” I decided to keep my mouth shut and let my agitated husband have his way. He came back home with five more sets of lights. We didn’t speak to one another as we finished stringing the rest of the lights on the tree. He said, “What do you mean, they’re not symmetrical?” “Well, darling, I don’t like the way they’re placed. They look as if you have just thrown them in the tree. You have been the perfect husband to help me, but the lights need to come down, and we’ll try it again.” “Woman (there’s that word again), I will not stand here and watch you tear down three or four hours’ worth of my work and help you do it all over again.” He jerked his jacket on and headed for the door. I was horrified. “Where are you going?” “I will give you a hint. I’m not going out to buy Christmas tree lights. Look for me when you see me.” He came home soon thereafter. He admitted he had walked briskly around the block several times and was now ready to put our disagreement behind him and enjoy the holiday season. After this episode, many, many Christmases went by when Bobby refused to help me with the tree. But when he finally consented to help, I had 10 new boxes of lights on standby, and I didn’t complain once about symmetry. The lights on our Christmas tree are not perfect, but I’ll take a marriage made in heaven any day. PS Columnist Dale Nixon resides in Concord but enjoys a slice of heaven (disguised as a condominium) in the village of Pinehurst. You may contact her by email at

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011



December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


In The Pink

The 411 on growing tropical ginger in the NC Sandhills

By JaN leiTsChuh

’Tis the

frosty season, and yes Virginia, we’re all snug in our beds with visions of sugarplums, well-spiked eggnog, cinnamon, gingerbread — all that warms and spices up life, in fact — dancing in our culinary heads. ’Tis the season for feasting on the fruits of our labors, not gardening!

So why carry on now about a tropical spice one can grow in Sandhills gardens, and even in landscapes? After all, the hoe is put away for the year, and that long winter’s nap is beckoning after a tough growing season of heat, hail, wind, weeds and drought. For the moment, a mere look at growing tropical ginger here will not require anyone to toss back the puffy down comforter, stride boldly into the cutting December wind and seize back the hoe from amid the shed’s clutter. No action needed at all right now, save reaching for another chunk of gingerbread. The essential fact to absorb is simply this: Some three dozen enterprising farmers and gardeners up Chatham County way, some 45 minutes north, are growing sure-enough Hawaiian ginger, spurred on by the new East Branch Ginger Company of Pittsboro and a workshop by Chatham Cooperative Extension agent Debbie Roos. Thanks to clever methods of season extension, Piedmont growers are harvesting a new sort of crop — tender-skinned, pinkish, young ginger, a rare, specialty phase not generally available anywhere else but where it’s grown. Though I have never grown ginger myself, I’ve been tempted when costly tubers on the counter sprouted green tips. One hates to throw away expensive ginger. So I intended to learn the 411 of growing it. To my mind, the real question was: Why not ginger? Beats an inedible tropical houseplant, I figured. I contacted Susan Anderson of East Branch Ginger for a few tips. Anderson is a former specialty crops researcher with Johnny’s organic seed company of Maine, and she “imports” disease-free, organic, tissue-cultured seed ginger from Puna Organics on the Big Island of Hawaii. I learned that in our variable Sandhills clime, ginger tubers don’t have enough time to mature to develop that familiar tough tan skin. Instead, with only five to nine months of growth, farmers harvest the tender white knobs blushed with pink that they called “baby” or “pink” or “fresh” ginger. This happens from August to October, although

with another two or three months of Hawaiian sunshine and growth the tubers would mature to the familiar grocery-store fibrous tan — by Christmas, say. East Branch Ginger starts shipping from mid-February on toward April, the exact schedule depending on Hawaiian weather. With a long eight- or nine-month growing season here, and a bulky forest of strappy green leaves to boot, ginger eats up valuable veggie garden real estate; three seasons of produce crops could grow in the same Piedmont space. But at the reported $7 to $14 a pound locally, up to $25 a pound in the trendiest Mid-Atlantic markets for “pink,” some growers clearly feel baby ginger is worth it. Besides, there’s the novelty and challenge of growing a tropical spice right at home in non-tropical Zones 7 and 8. One need not be a farmer, or even a veggie gardener, just a plant lover. Indeed, says Anderson, agricultural ginger also makes “a fantastic landscape plant.” She’s trying to convince some local nursery owners to pot some up for their clients “The foliage is beautiful, real strappy with a very verdant, dark green leaf, especially if you feed it well,” she says. “And the smell! I think it’s the perfect walkway plant. Walk by it and it smells fantastic. Brush up against it in an herb garden, and you release that ginger odor.” One can grow ginger in a five gallon pot or bucket as well as in the ground, she says, if the roots are shaded during the summer’s heat. As with clematis, ginger prefers its “feet in the shade, the head in the sun.” Once the canopy is up, too much heat on the soil can hinder growth of the tuber. Ginger rhizomes get stressed if baked or dried out. Where is that gentle Hawaiian sunshine when you need it? You’ll have to be creative in pot placement, perhaps hiding it among nearby bushes while allowing the foliage full access to sun. Because ginger needs such a long growing season and loves toasty soils at the start of its life, agricultural growers in the Piedmont must pre-sprout their seed stock — “seed” being cut chunks of mature rhizomes — inside the house, or on heat mats. That means soil temps of 70 to 85 degrees are preferred. Homeowners could plant ginger early in a flat, transferring to a large pot (five gallons or more) when the days warm and bringing it inside on cool evenings. Cool weather can stunt their growth too. Ginger wants life to be like... Hawaii. The grow bags or containers need at least a foot of depth. Potting medium needs to be well-drained. Start low in the pot, with just a few inches of grow mix. Plant tubers barely below the soil surface, and don’t over-water during the pre-sprouting phase. Or, a person can sacrifice six or eight weeks of growing time and just plant directly into warmer soils later in the season, says Anderson. The yield won’t be as high, but the care will be less. The pH is best in the general 6.0-7.0 range favored by many local plants. When local soils — not air, mind you, but the soils — warm up, tubers can be set out in their pots or directly into the ground in trenches to grow into a

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


veritable thicket of long, slender leaves. If using as a landscape plant, the foliage will actually thrive in a certain amount of shade, though tuber yield will be less. Still, when was the last time you got to eat any of your landscaping, come October? Or, if potted, again ginger would prefer a site where the pot is shaded to avoid overheating while still allowing leaves access to the sunshine. Ginger rhizomes get stressed if baked or dried out. Farmers will likely grow it differently, in grow bags set inside of hoop houses, with special fertilizers and irrigation. The culture of ginger sounds a bit like growing asparagus. As it grows, you will add soil to the pot or trench, or, if planted at ground level, the soil you pile, or “hill up,” around the stems. “The rhizomes grow upward into the soil you hill up,” explains Anderson. The East Branch Ginger website gives detailed directions: Ginger is planted in the center of the bed at the bottom of a six inch trench (six inches measured from original soil level), or a pot. If this depth is not attainable, leave room for soil to be hilled around crop as it grows so that eventual hilling totals about twelve inches. Leave enough soil on the sides to hill later or bring in soil to hill with. Mix fertilizers and/or compost, if needed, in bottom of trench or pot. Place sprouted ginger pieces about five inches apart in the bottom of the trench. Cover with about two inches of soil; fertilize at this time. After a few weeks, when small weeds begin to emerge, smother them with a small layer of soil until ginger shoots emerge; ginger is not a good competitor with weeds. As the shoot (green part) grows, check the base of the shoot(s) for swelling and a vibrant pink color — this will take anywhere from four to six weeks. When pink color is observed, hill the crop with about four inches of soil and fertilize again. Repeat process twice more. Once you see the mass of foliage the plant sends up, you realize it must be a heavy feeder — and why it would make a splendid vertical accent in any landscape. Ginger likes a balanced, mild fertilizer like a 5-5-5. Hunger signs are yellowed tips, slow growth, tip burn. Again from the website: “Compost, fish emulsion, chicken and turkey litter, and other organic sources of fertilizer can be used as long as they are well-aged.” Harvest can begin when scales on the rhizomes begin to turn pink. Lift the tubers, and spray clean with the hose; dry. Freeze, pickle or candy the harvest. Even the young, tender stems can be clipped and used in cooking, imparting a mild ginger flavor to a dish. This use needs to be sparing, as the young tuber needs its leaves to manufacture sugars for greater tuber growth. Baby ginger itself is said to be tender, with no peeling needed. The leaves can be dried for a tea. One pound of disease-free organic ginger runs about $9.50 a pound plus shipping. Depending

on whether it’s fed adequately, a pound of ginger should yield about five to ten pounds of baby ginger. Though the main harvest is in fall, one can always nip off a bit now and again, for a treat. Those wishing to explore further can check out www. or call 207-313-4358. Ginger itself has a long history of aiding gastrointestinal illness, nausea and motion sickness. In one study, ginger was discovered to be far superior to dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness, and was found to be safe for the nausea, and vomiting of pregnancy. Very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols appear to aid those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, reducing pain levels and improving mobility when ginger is consumed regularly. Not only does it boost the immune system and offer anti-inflammatory benefits, ginger also has been studied in ovarian and colorectal cancer prevention. Although a backbone of Asian and Indian cuisine, a simple Sandhills twist is to grate some over peeled, chopped sweet potatoes and bake with a little orange juice and honey. Baking ginger with apples, cinnamon, and allspice is delicious. Anderson pickles and eats ginger right out of the jar, bakes fish filets with it, juices it, candies it or freezes it. “Just freeze the whole rhizome — no peeling needed — and grate what you need into a recipe, then refreeze,” she advises. Some fresh shavings in a molasses cookie or gingerbread batter will light up your life, and in summer, ginger and peaches are divine. But perhaps my favorite way is a simple, warming ginger tea: Grate some ginger and lemon into a cup, cover with hot water and steep, sweetening with stevia or honey. It’s especially helpful during a cold; in fact, it will put the sugarplums right back into your peaked little cheeks. Here’s East Branch Ginger’s recipe for kale with fresh ginger:

Urban flavors of the world presented on small plates

Kale with Fresh Ginger

1 bunch kale, cut into bite-size pieces Olive oil for cooking 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, sliced thinly (leave whole when slicing so they are round and beautiful in the dish when finished) 1 tsp soy sauce Saute kale in olive oil until just bright green (the pan will be relatively hot). Add ginger and cook one more minute, stirring kale and ginger together. Add soy sauce to deglaze the pan and stir vigorously to coat the kale and ginger with soy sauce, about 30 seconds. Serve hot. We serve this over fish, grilled chicken, brown rice, or as a vegetable on the side. PS Jan Leitschuh is a local gardener, avid eater of fresh produce and co-founder of the Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative.

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PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


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Aussie’s Red Bubbles

Sparkling Shiraz from Down Under makes a nice holiday splash

By Robyn James

This holiday season,

imagine tilting an empty flute and pouring a vivid purple/red frothy liquid down the side of the glass. Roaring out of the glass comes the smell of black currants, blackberries, chocolate, cherries, strawberries, and more. You finish pouring and slowly the froth settles into a purple red wine with a steady mousse. Another sniff now shows hints of oak, fruit, and firm acid. You taste powerful fruit with a dry finish of berries, mushroom, spice, cherries, and more.

Welcome to sparkling Shiraz of Australia. Comparing this wine to French Champagne is equivalent to comparing Crocodile Dundee to the Baron Lafite Rothschild. Forgo finesse and elegance; this is big and powerful stuff. There are about 60 wineries in Australia making sparkling Shiraz, but it is still a challenge to find them on the shelves of American wine shops. Sparkling Shiraz suffers from the same bad rap as dry rosé. Americans see pink and think sweet, insipid white zinfandel. They see sparkling red and it conjures up sickening memories of Cold Duck in the ’70s, a sweet, sticky, artificially carbonated beverage. The only place it is appreciated is in Australia, where a devotion to the heavy, carbonated, oaky red wine is sincere and diehard. If you go to someone’s house, the first bottle out of the fridge is sparkling Shiraz. Some of the country’s finest wineries such as Rockford sell it for more than $100 a bottle. “We not only take it seriously,” Sparky Marquis, founder and winemaker of the cultish Aussie winery Mollydooker, says, “We reserve some of our finest fruit to make it.” Mollydooker’s rare sparkling Shiraz is called Goosebumps. A crimson, fizzy liquid with aromas of toasty new oak and meaty, leathery Shiraz.

The best Australian sparkling red wines can be astonishing to Americans who expect grape soda. First of all, they’re dry. And they’re not frothy lightweights. They have the character of the varietal from which they’re made — most often Shiraz — and also the terroir where they’re grown. They can be earthy, rich and complex, with long finishes, yet the bubbles make them more food-friendly than a still wine made from the same grapes. They make a great aperitif, a wonderful match for cured meats, and a perfect choice for Christmas turkey. Here are three of our favorites in affordable price ranges. PARINGA SPARKLING SHIRAZ, approx. $14 Inky-dark purple with a frothy, persistent violet mousse and a lasting bubble stream. Blackberries and blueberries and a whiff of menthol, typical fruit-forward South Australia Shiraz and a prickly and frothy sparkling wine. More appealing than many sparkling Shiraz at this lower end of the price range. THE BLACK CHOOK SPARKLING SHIRAZ, approx $18 This non vintage wine sparkles to the tune of a well-balanced blend, predominantly 3-year old Shiraz, aged in old French oak barrels showing wonderful smooth integrated fruit and a rich weighty texture across the palate. This is blended with a touch of younger vintage Shiraz, bringing ripe juicy fruit characters to the finished product. CHOCOLATE BOX SPARKLING SHIRAZ, approx. $23 Chocolate Box Sparkling Shiraz is dark garnet in color and exhibits a bouquet of enticing ripe raspberry and plum aromas with sweet licorice hints. This is a luscious full-bodied wine, with subtle tannins and an explosive mouthful of flavor. Try pairing it with an after-dinner plate of cheese, fig, fresh pear, and savory crackers. PS Robyn James is proprietor of The Wine Cellar and Tasting Room in Southern Pines. Contact her at

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011


The fireplace. The nooks and crannies. Our beautiful bar, beautiful food, and beautiful beers might be enough to persuade you to host your Holiday party here. But when you come inside our place and walk around you’ll get a feeling for The Sly Fox that’s darn near indescribable. Phenomenal food, gorgeous beers, stellar service, and our aesthetic make us the smart choice for your Holiday festivities! Don’t forget that gift cards from The Sly Fox make perfect Holiday gifts!

FRAMER’S COTTAGE 162 NW Broad Street Southern Pines, NC 28387 910.246.2002

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11/10/2011 12:04:39 PM

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However it evolved, eggnog is the taste of Christmas tradition By Frank Daniels III

There are some drinks that are so good, and that generate so many specific memories, that you can only serve them once a year.

For us, it is eggnog. As you will see, preparing eggnog is a production, and in our house it takes three generations to get it right and on the table. Like most alcoholic drinks, the origin and history of eggnog is mostly lore and hearsay. Originally the tavern punch was fortified by wine, and the name may be derived from the type of cup the egg mixture was served in, a noggin, a small wooden cup as fresh eggs and milk would have been expensive ingredients and servings would have been much smaller than the traditional servings in tankards. The drink evolved in complexity when tavern owners beefed up their punches by adding brandy to the mix. The name could also have been derived from the American adaption of the punch that substituted rum (or “grog”) for the wine. Rum was plentiful in America because of the tripartite trade, eggs and milk were more affordable here as well, and “egg and grog” or “egg’n’grog” became a popular wintertime drink. However the name originated, we’re happy that revelers continued to experiment and refine their punches, and that eggnog became a holiday tradition for many families. For us, the eggnog tradition has been handed down, tweaked and thoroughly tested by our family for over 70 years. The recipe, as family lore goes, was originally adapted by my grandfather from the Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon eggnog recipe that he cut out of a magazine, but this version has been altered over the years to suit our tastes. Four Roses is one of the oldest bourbon brands, and from the 1930s to the 1950s was probably the best-selling bourbon. It was my grandfather’s bourbon of choice until the Seagram Company, the Canadian distilling company who had acquired the brand in 1943, decided to limit the sale of Four Roses to the European and Asian markets, where it became extremely popular for years. The Four Roses brand did not return to the United States until 2002 when a Japanese brewery company, Kirin, acquired the rights to the brand and opened a new distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY. They have brought back the original yellow label Four Roses and added higher quality small batch and single barrel bottles that are among some of Kentucky’s best bourbons. So the most recent adaptation of our eggnog recipe was the re-introduction of Four Roses to the punch. I love that this punch can return to the roots my grandfather started. I also am amused by the small irony that it was a Canadian company that took it away (eastern Canadian, not the wonderful folks from western Canada like my wife and her family), and also that it took a Japanese company to bring it back, as I was made in Japan. My sister, who works out religiously and is always in great shape, apparently thought our punch needed more calories, so she added the touch of dropping in a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream to the bowl. “It keeps the eggnog cold,” was her rationalization. It was a brilliant idea and has become an essential piece of our traditional punch. Also serving the punch in Jefferson cups is part of our tradition. We never pull them out except for Christmas morning for the eggnog (at least until recently when we began experimenting with another classic punch, Fish House Punch, but that is another story). Enjoy.

Eggnog The heft of this punch disguises its power, so be careful of the steps! 1 dozen eggs 3/4 cup fine sugar 3 pints half and half 1 pint Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon 1 pint cognac 1/2 cup dark rum 1/2 gallon natural vanilla ice cream Whole nutmeg Separate yolks and whites of the 12 eggs. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar to yolks while beating. Add 1/4 cup remaining sugar to whites while beating and beat until very stiff. Mix the egg whites well with yolks. Transfer the eggs into a large punch bowl. Stir in half and half. Add Four Roses, cognac and rum. Stir thoroughly. Add 1/2 gallon of high quality vanilla ice cream. Serve cold in chilled julep or Jefferson cups and grate nutmeg over surface. PS Frank Daniels III is an editor and writer living in Nashville, Tenn. His cocktail book, Frank’s Little Black Bar Book, Wakestone Press, is available at The Country Bookshop.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011


I n - H o m e


S e n i o r


C a r e


S e r v i c e s

H O L I d A y S

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December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


Make Mine a Box

Whatever it is — cashmere or scotch — it’s better in a box

By Deborah Salomon

I have a box fetish.

Where it originated — don’t know, except I recall playing with, in and around boxes as a child. In fact, my first box memory was making a primitive heart-monitoring machine out of a Velveeta box. Rheumatic fever left me with a heart murmur. Back then, 5-pound bricks of Velveeta cheese came in wooden boxes with sliding tops. They are now collectors’ items. Back then also, rheumatic fever meant months of rest. No climbing stairs, no skipping rope, no bouncing pink rubber balls against the stoop — just quiet activities like reading and attaching string, with thumb tacks, to a wooden box that looked like what the doctor used, on me.

Lesson: Give a child a box. See what happens. Cardboard boxes were my hideouts, my canvas for finger paint. Or, I should say, corrugated boxes. My father pointed out the distinction by ripping one apart. A corrugated box consists of two layers of cardboard with a layer of rippled heavy paper affixed between. These ripples distribute weight, strengthening the box, he said. Made sense, even though my box fetish never developed into a physics fetish. Oh, the joy of finding a lamp base and shade crafted from these bare, paper-bag colored corrugations. Dust collected in the grooves for years before the glue gave way and the shade fell apart. Subsequently I attended a museum exhibit of home furnishings, which included the Wiggle Chair designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. His material: corrugated cardboard. Vindication is sweet. As the mother of three, on garbage day I would drive around the neighborhood looking to see who bought a new washer, or dryer, or dishwasher, or TV. Maybe that’s why I wanted a convertible, so no box would be too big to drag home and dump in the garage. Those were strong, well-designed boxes, thickly corrugated, reinforced with metal staples and wood. If the children didn’t want yet another playhouse, I would pry out the wood for kindling and use the boxes for dry

trash, or something. Speaking of kindling, nothing compares to splintery wooden crates containing clementines and, until polystyrene took over, asparagus. Then came the nomad years. I can’t count the moves from house to house, condo to apartment. Never once did I pay a packer. Already a connoisseur, I became a box collector. My method was to pick up enough early, when stores were stocking shelves, for that day’s pack. I was a regular at the liquor store. Nothing better than a liquor box with firm dividers for glassware. I discovered that florists discard long, coffin-shaped boxes (perfect for clothes) in which come long-stemmed roses. But I was disappointed in the huge cartons containing toilet paper: poor engineering, too flimsy to hold even bed pillows. As technology progressed, how I treasured computer-paper boxes with free-standing lids. They were in demand since others realized the capabilities. So I would scout an office, befriend an employee, and return frequently for my cache. Sure you can buy boxes from packing-supply stores. That’s like buying air. Boxes are everywhere. Boxes are free. Boxes are me. I cannot resist them. I look for a good one in the supermarket to replace plastic bags (a.k.a. urban tumbleweed) threatening to engulf the planet. A box makes carrying groceries into the house so much easier. Then it becomes the cat’s playpen. Sometimes, for old times’ sake, I drop by the ABC store just to see what’s new. I have several wine boxes in my junk room right now, just for their artistic decoration. Because you never know when you’ll need a good box. Not to be morbid but, like all responsible people of a certain age, I’ve prepaid “final arrangements.” The unctuous “arrangement” planner offered me a selection of urns — or a plain-but-dignified cardboard box to transport my ashes to the scattering place. The price shocked me, having never paid for a box in my life. But they don’t allow you to provide your own. Pity. I know just the one… I’m glad that’s settled. I trust the box will be corrugated, with proper dimensions and a well-fitting lid. But now is not the season for ashes. Now is the season for sparkly things — for cashmere, single-malt scotch, and talking robots. Walk at night, after Christmas, through a neighborhood of fine homes. Look at the piles of what some call garbage. Look at the boxes, at the promise they represented: Italian leather boots, a telescope, a baby carrier. Rescue a few. Because a box is a beautiful thing, no matter what it contains. PS Deborah Salomon is a staff writer for PineStraw and can be reached at

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December 2011



December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


The Christmas Bird Count A beloved tradition, even here in the Sandhills

By Susan Campbell

The cold, short days of December get bird-

watchers itching for the biggest event of the year: the Christmas Bird Count. What started out as a competitive shooting event in the late nineteenth century has become an international tradition for thousands of serious bird enthusiasts. Beginning on Christmas Day, 1900, early bird conservationists ventured into the field in twenty-seven teams to count, not kill, as many birds as they could find. Frank Chapman, a member of the fledgling Audubon Society, gets the credit for kicking off the first CBCs, as these events are known to most of us. Although a few count days are actually on Christmas, most are scheduled some time in the week before or after Christmas. The event does have very specific parameters. The standardization involved has made CBCs useful tools for documenting changes in bird populations. The basis for understanding the long-term health and status of birds across North America has been made possible, in large part, by these seasonal counts. A sudden decline in a local population may signal issues with habitat fragmentation or an immediate threat such as environmental contamination. Not only are numbers of species and individuals tallied by each observer, but level of effort is calculated for each party in the field. Since there are par-

ticipants who will spend only a few hours out counting versus others who dedicate twelve hours or more, the time and distance they cover will be very different. Of course, those birders farther north will certainly tally fewer birds than those in warmer southern climes, where wintering birds are typically more numerous. So not surprisingly, results will vary by location as well as with effort. Interestingly, experience of the counters does not affect the outcome as much as one would think. Since participants are, for the most part, tallying familiar birds, the count tends to be representative regardless of skill. People interested in helping with counts who are less knowledgeable are paired up with teams that have been volunteers for the area in question. It is a day of camaraderie and good exercise in the fresh air. However, those who find it difficult to join up with a field team due to time constraints or health issues may simply count the birds at their feeders the day of the count. Every bird is equally important on a CBC. Here in Moore County, the Southern Pines Christmas Bird Count has been occurring since 1973. The count area covers a fifteen-mile diameter circle centered in Lakeview, just off U.S. 1. We will have at least a dozen parties participating, half of which will venture out before dawn in search of owls and any other birds that might be calling in the early morning. If it is a good day, we hope to tally one hundred species. Some of us will be searching hard for lingering warm-weather species such as a ruby-throated hummingbird or a blue-gray gnatcatcher. Occasionally birds from out of the area, such as white-fronted goose or snow goose, have shown up. If you would like to join in for our local count, Sunday, December 18th, is the day. I am the organizer and compiler, so give me a shout. We are particularly interested in increasing the number of “feeder watchers� in our circle. Come join the fun! PS Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted by email at, by phone at (910) 949-3207 or by mail at 144 Pine Ridge Drive, Whispering Pines, NC 28327.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011

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December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


My Favorite Christmas Present Paddle the dog agreed with me, the Wigeon duck boat was the best

By Tom Bryant

I grew up around boats.

Not the big ocean-going ones like Grady White produces but more like backwater skiffs that are at home on tidal creeks and inland lakes. I learned to swim in Pinebluff Lake when I was about seven or eight years old, and my granddad taught me to paddle his small creek boat shortly afterward on the Little Pee Dee River. From then on, I was at home on the water. He had a bunch of boats, but one I really remember was a dugout cypress canoe about eighteen feet long with a forty-inch beam. Where it came from, no one really knows. It was just always there. My uncles said that a low country Indian tribe made it long ago and Granddad found it sunk in a little lake off the river. He raised the craft and towed it back to his fishing cabin, where he pulled it up on the bank, let it dry out for several months, then put it back in the water. It sat right on the surface like a water bug, dry as dust. Then he rigged it so it would carry a ten-horse Johnson kicker and was off to the races. I can remember the old dugout carrying four adults, three coonhounds, and me with plenty of freeboard. After my grandfather passed away, an uncle inherited the dugout, and I believe he has it stored in an old barn on his farm. Later, as I grew older and hit the creeks again, I bought a seventeen-foot aluminum Grumman canoe. I paddled rivers, lakes, and duck holes with the reliable boat and still have her perched on a couple of sawhorses behind the

garage. One of my chores, on a list that gets longer every day, is to sand-blast the old peeling camouflage paint that’s still flaking off her sides and put her back on a black-water river this spring. My next craft was a white-water, sixteen-foot, Kewadin canoe that carried me down some mighty rough rivers. From the Haw at flood stage to the Chattooga of Deliverance fame and a bunch more heavy-water rivers in between, we skipped right over the waves. Old age ends a lot of endeavors such as white-water paddling, and the little boat is hanging from the rafters in the garden shed as good as she ever was; but unfortunately, her handler has been put out to pasture. I’ll probably sell her this spring, hopefully to a youngster who will keep her as good as I tried to do. Christmas of 1983 was one of my best. Santa Claus brought me a little twelve-foot Wigeon duck boat all rigged to go hunting. It was a great surprise. My bride arranged for the skiff to be delivered to the home of my good hunting buddy, Bubba. On Christmas Day and after all the falderal at our house, Linda reminded me that we were to drop by Bubba’s for an afternoon holiday get-together. Several of our friends were supposed to attend. Bubba lived in a beautiful home completely fenced with a seven-foot brick wall. He had hidden the duck boat in his garden building where it would be out of sight. The afternoon hurried by; and after a great time talking to friends about the holidays and planning future duck hunts with my duck hunting comrades, we had to take our leave to get home for another function that evening. Bubba walked out to the Bronco with us, and as I fired up the old truck he said, “Wait a minute there, Cooter. Santa Claus left a present here for you last night. He said that his reindeer were tired of hauling it all across the country and I was to get it to you this afternoon. Come on back here and I’ll show you.” We walked around to his garden house. Linda had a big smile on her face and said, “I wonder what it could be?” I opened the door to the little building and there it sat, a Wigeon duck boat in all its glory. Linda and Santa have surprised me more than once, but this was a beauty. The little skiff and I were destined to have a grand time on lakes and rivers across the state, making memories. One from the next Christmas stands out more than most. I was hunting at Hyco Lake, a cooling lake for a Duke Power plant, a few days before Christmas with my yellow Lab, Paddle. The weather had been clear but unusually cold, so we were afraid of ice in the headwaters but knew that the lake would be open around the power plant. The Wigeon has a very low profile and wide beam. Her semi-v hull and shallow draft make her very stable; and with the seven-and-a-half horse mercury kicker, she’s easy to get up on plane. At full speed, the boat scoots

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011



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along at about twenty-five miles per hour. On this winter morning, though, with the possibility of ice, we cruised along at a little under planing speed. The lake, as we thought, was open around the plant, and we pulled into a narrow canal that fed water into the cooling towers of the huge building. A cove spread to the north off the canal, and I set out a block of mallard and black duck decoys in a small slough. I pulled the little boat close to the bank, anchored her, and covered everything, including Paddle and myself, with an old gray tarp. Paddle had her head stuck out of the tarp on the port side, and I leaned back against the kicker as low as I could. We sat and waited. Every now and then Paddle would whine in anticipation but would quiet down when I said, “Shhhhh.” The moonless night had been as clear as a bell and a million stars were visible. The Milky Way lived up to its name, stretching across the sky like a bucket of spilled diamonds. I sat and watched. Morning is my very favorite time of day. There’s a promise there, a newness, and I’ll never get over the breathtaking beauty as nature comes to life after a winter night’s sleep. The horizon became a little more pronounced as night turned gray in the east, ready for the sun. The silence was deep and comforting as Paddle and I waited quietly in the little boat. From our earliest hunting forays, I realized Paddle could spot a duck long before I could, so as the day began to brighten, I kept my eyes on her. She was something to watch. She was so tuned in to her surroundings, she almost hummed like a high-tension wire. I wasn’t surprised when, as usual, she spotted the first flight. They were high. Hundreds of them, stretched out in Vs to the north as far as I could see. Divers! They could be canvasbacks, I thought, but probably ringnecks. I could tell by the fast wingbeat and the way they didn’t hesitate as they flew on to unknown destinations. We watched as flight after flight hurried south. “Surely some of these ducks will take a rest on the lake,” I whispered to Paddle. She looked back at me as if to say, “Yeah, when?” As suddenly as they appeared, the ducks were gone. We watched until the sun was high in the sky, and then as if by mutual consent, Paddle and I decided it was time to go. I folded the old tarp, picked up the decoys, cranked the kicker, and headed the Wigeon back toward the landing. As I brought the little boat up on plane, Paddle looked back at me and seemed to be grinning. I said to her over the noise of the motor and spray, “How about all those ducks, Paddle?” Her answering bark said it all. PS Tom Bryant, a Southern Pines resident, is a lifelong outdoorsman and PineStraw’s Sporting Life columnist.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011


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December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills ©2011 Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Michelob Ultra® Light Beer, St. Louis, MO • 95 calories, 2.6g carbs, 0.6g protein and 0.0g fat, per 12 oz.


Music to Golf By The Village Chapel’s carillon provides the sound track to life in Pinehurst

By lee paCe

Wynn Solle

Historic Postcard Image from the Tufts Archives

tees up his golf ball at 5:59 p.m. on a crystalline fall afternoon on Pinehurst No. 2, stands behind the ball and eyes the 162-yard shot on the 17th hole. The shadows falling from the right cast a golden glow across the cathedral of pines and sand and grass. Then he moves around to address his shot, waggles, eyes the flag, waggles again, then pulls the trigger.

Just as he does, the carillon in the Village Chapel a quarter of a mile away sounds off with its medieval and majestic notes heralding the 6 o’clock hour. Nonplussed, Solle completes his backswing, makes crisp contact, and watches the ball fly through the air and land 15 feet from the flag. Playing companion Les Fleisher smiles. “Even through the church bells, he can stay focused,” Fleisher says. Solle waves off the praise. “You get used to it,” says Solle, a member of Pinehurst Country Club since 1987. “Your mind is kind of trained to say, ‘I haven’t heard them in a while, maybe it’s about time …” John Shannon, director of music at the Village Chapel since 1982, remembers considering that same collision of concentration and ecclesiastical knell when the 1999 U.S. Open was approaching. He suggested the chimes be silenced during competition. “I didn’t think the finest golfers in the world should be putting for half a million dollars and all of a sudden the quiet is interrupted,” Shannon says. Chaplain Ed Galloway thought differently. “The carillon is part of Pinehurst,” he said. “They’ll just have to accept it.” Indeed they did, only a programming error led to Christmas music being woven into the queue of music emanating over the proceedings that week in June. Shannon was on a European trip at the time, and no one else knew how to reprogram the apparatus. “The announcers on national TV remarked what a charming village this is — ‘They even celebrate Christmas in summertime,’” Shannon says with a smile.

Music and golf are strange bedfellows unless it’s Barry White’ Love Theme harkening back to ABC’s old U.S. Open telecasts or Dave Loggins’ lilting instrumental used by CBS for its Masters telecast theme. But in Pinehurst, the soothing strains of the Coe Memorial Carillon emanating from the Village Chapel bathe the town and Pinehurst No. 2 in a sensory delight that complement the crisp pine scent, the deep blue sky, and the contrasts of the emerald fairways and sepia sandy roughs. “It’s almost mystical late in the day,” says Fleisher, who’s lived in a house near the ninth green of No. 2 since 2004. “It’s hard to describe.” Payne Stewart had a one-shot lead as he addressed his tee shot on the 18th hole in the final round of the 1999 Open, with Tiger Woods up ahead on the green. Woods was grinding over a potential birdie putt; Stewart needed a par to cling to his lead over Phil Mickelson. The chimes from the chapel rang out. “Was that an omen?” Stewart wondered later. “Was that a sign? Maybe it was. When I heard the church bells, I relaxed more.” Fifteen minutes later, he drained a 20-foot par putt to win the championship. Bill Campbell vividly remembers hunkering down over a four-foot putt on the 17th green of No. 2 in the 1950 North and South Amateur. He needed to make the putt to remain even with Wynsol Spencer in the championship match. The bells from the chapel interrupted his concentration. It was six o’clock. Unsettled, Campbell backed away. A few in the gallery chuckled a little. Then Campbell settled back over his ball. He drained the putt and then won the match a few minutes later on the 37th hole; the victory was the first of four North and South titles he would win in 18 years. One month later, the wind and rain were flying from the North Sea as Campbell tried to concentrate on the five-footer on the 17th hole of the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. This, too, was the sixth round of an important championship — the British Amateur. The water dripped from his cap. His hands were numb. The cup was blurred amid all the mist and gales. Then from the one chapel in the nearby village came the haunting sound of church bells. It was six o’clock. “It put a tingle up my spine,” says Campbell. “But I knew then I was going to make the putt, and I poured it into the hole.” The spell ended two holes later when Campbell missed a putt on the 19th hole to lose the match. But in more than half a century, Campbell’s

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



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never forgotten that little link between St. Andrews and Pinehurst. “Short putts ... the 17th hole at No. 2 and the 17th at St. Andrews ... the bells chime six o’clock ... one month apart. It’s kind of eerie, don’t you think?” he says. Jack Nicklaus II closed out Tom McKnight on the 17th hole in winning the 1985 North and South Amateur just as the 6 p.m. bells were ringing. Lifelong Pinehurst resident Marty McKenzie puts the celebratory scene of Jack Sr. and son among the top in his considerable memory bank of significant Pinehurst episodes. “Seeing the greatest golfer of all time hugging his son with Barbara right there with them, the chapel bells ringing, the sun casting shadows on the whole scene — it was breathtaking,” McKenzie says. “That was a very special moment, obviously for the Nicklaus family but for me as well. I’ve never forgotten it.” The non-denominational Village Chapel has been a cornerstone of the Pinehurst experience for nearly a century. Miss Mary Bruce donated $5,000 in 1923 to launch a fundraising campaign for the building, and the Tufts family contributed land at the base of the Village Green. The distinguished church architect Hobart Upjohn of New York designed the structure in the Georgian style popular of the day — wielding symmetry and order with red brick and a white New England spire to create a structure that nestled seamlessly into the landscape. The cornerstone was laid on April 13, 1924, and the first service was held the following March. The original carillon gave out in the 1980s, and the music today is the gift of Marybelle Coe, who contributed funds in 1987 in memory of her late husband, Vincent. The apparatus comprises 50 strips of bronze metal that are struck by mallets; the sound runs through a set of four speakers positioned in the steeple. The carillon rings the hour from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and plays a pealing at two minutes after the hour at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m. It plays two hymns each half hour, the selections coming from a library of about a hundred — hymns of praise, prayer, celebration, holiday, and patriotism. Bob Harlow, the founder and editor of Golf World magazine when it was published in Pinehurst, suggested in the 1940s that the chapel institute an early morning service so golfers could worship before their Sunday tee times. “I imagine that aside from the hours spent in church, members of a religious congregation are closer to God when on a golf course than in any other location,” Harlow noted. “Golf certainly teaches people good ethics and many things which Christians are supposed to endorse.” Around Easter you might be walking the second fairway of No. 2 and be serenaded with Christ the Lord Has Risen Today. On the Fourth of July you might be debating a four-iron or a five and hear God Bless America.

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As Christmas approaches you might be blowing warm breath on your hands while O Holy Night courses through the chilly air. And at any point during the year a traditional hymn like Holy Holy Holy might punctuate your address of a nasty bunker shot. “At Pinehurst, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the great history,” says David Fay, former executive director of the United States Golf Association. “It’s everywhere. It’s where you look, it’s in the air, it’s in the turf, it’s in the images on the walls, it’s in the church bells. You can almost feel the ghosts coming out.” Fleisher is nearly aghast at the memory of having played a few holes one time with a teenager who was actually wearing ear buds attached to a gadget du jour while walking the hallowed fairways of No. 2. “Today there is so much stimulation for kids— video games, computers, 150 channels on TV,” he says, walking the 17th fairway immersed in the game, the venue, his companions, the shadows and the carillon in the background. “The bells are just the right touch — stimulation of the finest kind.” PS Lee Pace will write about hickory golf and other vintage topics in his forthcoming book, “The Golden Age of Pinehurst,” due out in spring 2012.

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Sanford 


Seeing Santa

Sometimes seeing with the heart makes all the difference

By Joyce Rheeling

We had the mumps, my twin sister and I. We were four or five, I think, home on a cold and clear December night.

Normally we would have been going to a church near our apartment building in Baltimore to see Santa and tell him the one thing we really, really wanted. But we had the mumps. So there we were, in our top floor apartment with our mom … Dad having gone out for some errand. What would Santa think? How would he know what we wanted? Alas, already in our pajamas and with swollen faces, we sorrowed about our missed chance to see Santa. Then suddenly we heard, on the roof, the sound of sleigh bells and a “dancing and prancing of each little hoof” right above our heads! Then came the loud BAM, BAM, BAM at the front door. One of us — Karen? Me? — went to the door to open it, Mom said her hands were full in the kitchen … and turning the too-big-for-our-hands knob, the door was opened to find the hall filled with Santa! In he came with the chill of the night clinging to him, seemingly as tall as the room … “a right jolly old elf,” and we were stunned into unusual silence. Into our living room he went and pulled us to him, side by side of his red knees and boots. His beard was pure white as the snow and his eyes were a-twinkle. “I hear you had the mumps and I knew I had to come and see you.” We stammered and stuttered and managed to eke out something to say. And shortly he rose, filling the room “Merry Christmas to all. Be good little girls. Ho, Ho, Ho!” And out the door he went. Then the prancing began again, and the bells again and Mom said, “Run to the window; you may see Santa!” We dashed to the window and could hear the bells and the many foot stamps approaching the edge of the roof and then … and then …

and then, there it was: the sleigh, Santa and eight tiny reindeer. They were there, I saw them, and I hear them still every year. How could this be? I will tell you, but it won’t rob you of the miracle because, as with all miracles, it springs first from the heart. My father had been, unbeknownst to us, Santa every year at church. He and his best friend Uncle Charlie decided we needed Santa at home. So after church they came to the apartment building. Uncle Charlie went onto the roof with the sleigh bells and did the dancing and prancing … and, bless his heart, he remained up there until Dad left, then did the bells and prancing to the edge of the roof with Dad beside him “Merry Christmas-ing to all” as they neared the edge. So they set the stage for our eyes to see Santa. Sadly, we ended up giving the mumps to Uncle Charlie, which should have meant coal in our stockings. My father played Santa many times over the years, and Karen and I were able to see the wonder dance in the eyes of our younger sisters years later. Then, in one of the last years of my father’s life, all of our family gathered at my house in Connecticut. I rented a gorgeous Santa outfit for Dad, and this year it was for his grandchildren — Emma, 2, and Sara, 5. Dad slipped away, changed into his outfit and returned to the front door. BAM, BAM, BAM! And the story unwound again. This time no one was on the roof, but there were bells. And that night Emma said that she could see Santa’s footprints in the snow. “He must have been looking for us in the window.” And, she said, “I saw the sleigh and the reindeer, I saw them!” There is something in us all that needs Santa. Or maybe, just maybe you should listen carefully on Christmas Eve and look out your window and up in the sky ... Open your heart and mind and — who knows — you just might see him. PS Joyce Rheeling, a PineStraw contributor, is a veteran TV and stage actress who still sees Santa.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011



Food of the Gods

Nothing says the holidays like a perfectly baked country ham By David C. Bailey

If there’s any-

one out there who got hungry, as I did as a child, whenever their mommies read Green Eggs and Ham to them, I’d like to make your acquaintance. In our house, ham was a delicacy. I’m not talking about the pallid pink picnics we’d take precooked to the beach, which I’d disguise with a slurry of French’s mustard, a thick layer of mayonnaise, and dollops of pickle relish between slices of Merita bread. I’m talking country ham, of the richest red when sliced, transformed to a sheeny mahogany when fried. I’m talking ham that has hung at least a year in some barn out in the country and is redolent from its salt-, pepper-, and sugar-cure. Though some might call it ripe, I call it ready. Foodies Jane and Michael Stern call it controlled rancifidification. Biscuited fast-food country ham, cured for 90 days, pales in comparison to the tid bits my mother fried up in a cast-iron skillet and cascaded with red-eye gravy made from perked coffee, salt, lots of pepper, and maybe a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Add grits and get totally lost in the moment.

Ham, to me, is the food of the gods, and like anything else that’s heavenly, good ham is hard to get. When my wife, who teaches Latin, took a group of students to Italy, she brought me back a kilo of prosciutto di Parma ham, sealed in Cryovac, and wrapped in her underwear (I pronouced it double-cured). This obviously confused the drug- (and pork-) sniffing dogs in Customs, who a year earlier had alerted officials to the Cryovaced Serrano ham we tried to smuggle back from Spain. Ham is for holidays. It’s rich, potent, fatty, and begs for a nap after overindulging in it. For years, I brought a baked country ham to the family Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. I’ve included a recipe for baked country ham below from The Southern Heritage All Pork Cookbook, but you basically soak the ham in something overnight, boil it for a while the next morning, and then bake it from the time you get up next morning until lunch. I’ve soaked country hams in apple cider, Coca Cola, ginger ale, Cheerwine,


and just plain old water, and what you soak them in doesn’t seem to me to affect the taste as much as give them a great back story. My wife usually removes the skin before baking and does fancy stuff with cloves and brown sugar. And you know you want to roast the skin to make crunchy pork rinds. What matters more than anything else is getting a ham with some age on it. A.B. Vannoy in West Jefferson open-air-cures his slow-food country ham at least nine months, and like the best country hams, their meat is complex and tangy, nutty with grace notes of caramel. I’ve gotten good hams from W.G. White out of Mocksville. Local small grocers and meat markets carry W.G. White hams, which means you can pick out the one that smells strongest, which in my book will be the best. North Carolina country hams are generally not smoked. R.M. Felts Packing Co. in Ivor, Virginia, is justifiably famous for its slab bacon, and one year I mail-ordered one of their smoked country hams, which got rave reviews from my discriminating family members. I would also highly recommend the hams from Turner Ham House in Fulks Run, Virginia. After reading in The New York Times that four-star chefs were substituting thinly sliced ham from Turner for prosciutto, I ordered an excellent two-year-old Turner ham by telling the man on the phone that I wanted the oldest ham he had. Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that’s thinly sliced and eaten raw. I took the Turner ham to a local meat shop, which sliced it paper thin. It quite literally melted in my mouth. What I didn’t eat, I gave away as Christmas presents. People keep asking me when I’m going to do it again. If you don’t want to go to all that trouble, you can order Turner ham pre-sliced. My daughter lives in Spain, and on trips back home she brings me packages of Serrano and Iberian ham, which you also eat raw. We did a side-by-side taste test against the Turner ham and thought it was milder and a little saltier, but my daughter, who’s a bigger food snob than I am, pronounced it “good in its own right.” Turner ham, by the way, runs $8 a pound sliced, compared with Iberian ham, which in the States costs — and this is not a misprint — $85 a pound. When I visited my daughter in Spain the summer before last, she took me straight to the province of Extremadura, which Sarah’s Spanish husband, Sergio, described as meat heaven. He delighted in introducing me to chunky sausages and acorn-fed Iberian pork dishes. But what was perhaps the best ham I ever put in my mouth was some of the local black-foot (pantanegra) ham. In Spanish restaurants, hams are displayed in special, gleaming stainless-steel racks that position the hams for easy and instant carving, which means the ham comes to you moist and freshly cut. Each morning for breakfast, Sergio and I would try a different regional variation of ham, and I’d comment on how well Sarah had chosen her mate. Lately, though, I’ve stopped bringing baked country hams to family gatherings and have started corning hams. Bill Smith, of Chapel Hill’s Crooks Corner, introduced me to corned ham while chatting about oysters. He men-

December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills


tioned that his grandmother in Eastern North Carolina corned hams each year around the holidays, when oysters by tradition are also served. My cousins and nephews have started calling me before Thanksgiving to make sure they’re going to get their annual corned-ham fix. I wouldn’t exactly call it hard to prepare, but it is a fair amount of trouble and requires advance planning. On the upside, it’s a whole lot cheaper than country ham. You can find a recipe for Smith’s corned ham online via or in his Algonquin press book, Seasoned in the South, but it’s not complicated. Seven to 10 days before Thanksgiving or whenever you decide to serve your ham, buy the largest fresh ham you can find — at least 8 pounds. I’ve cooked one that was 17. Put it into a pan that will fit in the bottom of your refrigerator. Salt the outside liberally. Slipping a filet knife along the bone, cut slits at each end of the ham and press in lots of salt. Cover and refrigerate the ham and recoat it with salt every day, turning it and pouring off any liquid that accumulates in the bottom of the pan. On the night before you serve it, brush and wash off the excess salt and soak it overnight. Bright and early the next morning, bake it in the oven for hours at about 325 degrees. It’s ready when your house smells good enough to eat and the meat pulls away from the bone The first year, my folks quite literally ate every smidgeon. I even spied my littlest nephew out in the back yard sucking on a ham bone.

Resale Retail

Baked Country Ham

From The Southern Heritage All Pork Cookbook, Oxmoor House, Birmingham, Alabama 1 (8 pound) country ham 1 tablespoon whole allspice 4 cups brown sugar 1 cup apple juice Place ham in a large container; cover with cold water and soak overnight. Remove ham from water and drain. Scrub ham thoroughly with a stiff brush and rinse well with cold water. Replace ham in container and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours, allowing 15 minutes per pound. Cool. Carefully remove ham from water; remove skin. Place ham, fat side up, on a cutting board; score fat in a diamond pattern, and stud with allspice. Place ham, fat side up, in a shallow roasting pan. Combine brown sugar and apple juice; mix well. Spoon mixture into bottom of pan around ham. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Transfer to a serving platter; cool completely. Cut into thin slices. Yield: 16 servings PS David C. Bailey is O.Henry Magazine’s Serial Eater, and ham is his favorite food. PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 2011


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Located next to The Carolina Hotel • Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina • 910.235.8320 •PineStraw December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

December 2011 Ballad of the Chinese Buffet When pizza gets boring and hot dogs aren’t right When the hour’s not early and his pack is not light When a doughnut cannot keep the hunger at bay Santa Claus heads for the Chinese buffet. Not the ones here, oh no-no-no-no Up to the Triad he’ll merrily go The place is humongous; it’s full night and day, La-dee-dah-dah at this Chinese Buffet. Beside Santa’s sleigh is parked a John Deere Good food and lots of it, workers find here Instead of salut, they call out ole! At the la-dee-dah Chinese Hard Hat Café. The chicken is made by a General named Tso Or a Shanghai kick-boxer better known as King Po One was a soldier, the other, they say Knocked out Bruce Lee at the Chinese buffet. Customers here aren’t of Asian descent Kentucky Fried Chicken is where they all went Perhaps to McDonald’s, perhaps Chick-fil-A Not la-dee-dah-dah to the Chinese buffet.

The shrimp may be mushy, the ginger is canned Anything fresh has been formally banned At least when the check comes there’s not much to pay Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho at the Chinese buffet. Starbucks is dark now, Subway shut down There’s nothing for Santa to eat in this town Never is, never will be on cold Christmas Day Except — tra-la-la — at the Chinese Buffet. The welcome is warm, the broccoli bright green The sauces are pungent, the meat never lean; For Rudolph, they’ve even got Szechuan hay At the come-in-your-overalls Chinese buffet. So hark, yonder gentlemen, all of good cheer Pass Santa a stein filled with cold Tsing Tao beer Raise up your chopsticks — a hip-hip-hooray For the tireless cooks at the Chinese buffet!

— Deborah Salomon

Hanker for egg rolls, soup hot and sour? Kris Kringle will meet us in less than an hour, All you can eat — what more need we say? Come get it, y’all, at the Chinese buffet. Rice is piled high, resembling snow Ribs are a-cracklin’, the mein very lo Dumplings are sizzling, I guess that’s OK When you eat at the la-dee-dah Chinese buffet. Duck won’t be Peking, crab isn’t real Wings need hot peppers — yet this is a meal So full of wild flavors that won’t go away (Burp) At the still irresistible Chinese buffet.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



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Wonders of the Sandhills

We all have things we love about the Sandhills, objects, people or places that make this such a wonderful place to call home. As our Christmas card to you, we invited some of your friends and neighbors to share their wonders of the Sandhills The Christmas Carriage Parade

Photographs By Pat Taylor

The shops on Broad Street are brimming with holiday wares and eager patrons. Christmas trees laden with decorations line the street, punctuated with clusters of people sipping hot drinks and saving spots. From the boutique on the corner, Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” spills out onto the sidewalk. A small boy bundled up against the crisp air, breathless with anticipation, whispers to another, “Do you think Santa will come?” This is the annual Moore County Driving Club’s Christmas Parade, and Santa most certainly will make an appearance at this beloved Southern Pines tradition. Started 26 years ago, the Christmas Carriage Parade takes place the second Saturday of December and showcases as many as 25 different carriages and drivers — all members of the Moore County Driving Club — as they meander from Young’s Road through Southern Pines. From horses dressed as reindeer to carriages decorated like Christmas boxes, the parade of carriages brings out the best of the Club’s creativity and ingenuity. The drivers don festive costumes as well, competing with one another for the “Best Turned Out” carriage prize and bragging rights for the entire year. “The carriages are unbelievably decorated,” shares Kelly Valdes, who has been driving for more than 35 years and has participated at least seven times in the Carriage Parade. But for the hundreds of kids lining the street, even exquisite carriages — some authentic Victorian era antiques — can’t beat out what is also Valdes’ favorite part. “I take a big bucket of candy in my lap and throw it out to the kids,” she says with a laugh, and then quite earnestly adds, “But we can’t have any kids running out in front of the carriages, so you have to have really good aim!” From the original Stoneybrook Farm on Young’s Road, the Christmas parade of carriages winds its way downtown through Ridge St. onto Connecticut Ave. and down Broad St., where an announcer located near the post office introduces and describes each carriage. From downtown, the parade continues through Pennick Village, where scores of residents wait at their windows to wave at the passing drivers.

Spectators are treated to a wide range of carriages, from small singles to four in hands and even a huge sleigh pulled by a pair of Percheron draft horses that can fit at least 40 people. Last year, a Wounded Warriors family was chosen to ride in the large sleigh along with different key community members. “Santa Claus is usually on the last carriage, and his appearance is always a highlight,” says Dave Frump, president of the Driving Club. Valdes believes, though, it’s the unlucky few who make up the cleanup crew that usually get the most applause. Often those on poop-scoop duty join in the festivities and dress up as elves and clowns, drawing peals of laughter from the crowds with their scooping antics. “The crowd is always really fun and very active,” says Frump. “Everyone is yelling greetings to each other and many are enjoying the long-standing cocktail parties that appear all along the route. Some even slip those in the carriages a warm toddy,” he adds with an encouraging twinkle. Apart from the lavish carriages and striking horses, spectators have been known to enjoy an unusual sight or two as well. One year, Valdes was in a carriage with driver Claire Reid, who was wearing a long fur coat and driving a pair of ponies. Suddenly, a pin holding the carriage to the horses’ harness came out and the carriage just stopped dead in the road with a stunned Valdes still in it holding a huge bucket of candy. Claire Reid, with her flowing fur cape, dismounted and just kept right on down the road behind the horses. “That was one of the most peculiar sights I’d ever seen!” laughs Tom Gallagher, who has been involved with the parade for 15 years and now manages all the logistics of the event. For the Driving Club, the Carriage Parade is the highlight of the season, and along with the annual Christmas dinner the following night, signals the close of the driving season. “The parade is so special because it brings the entire community together: its citizenry, the businesses, and the horse people,” says Gallagher. “There’s no parade like it in our area.” And Gallagher’s premonition for this year? A sure sounding forecast calling for sunshine and record crowds. — Nicole White

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The Sounds of Nature Without a doubt, my favorite place is Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. I do have the privilege of working there so I get to share this wonderful place with the public. Opening so many eyes to the natural wonders of the area is tremendously rewarding. Whether bird banding, leading programs, conducting prescribed burns or resolving wildlife issues, the teaching opportunities are endless. But it is the time I spend walking Weymouth’s miles of sandy trails, under the longleaf pines, that is heaven. With the songs of nuthatches, the buzzing of cicadas, the croaking of the tree frogs and the smell of sweet pepper bush: This is home. — Susan Campbell

Growing up in Southern Pines, there was one sure way to identify tourists. They were the strangers who stopped their cars and loaded pine cones in the trunk. This is tough to admit, even to my family, but just like those Yankees, I am a pine cone addict. Beachcombers walk along the shore looking for sand dollars. I walk daily in the woods and cannot pass a perfect petaled cone without acknowledging beauty or stopping to handle the little miracle. Like snowflakes, no two are alike. In the rain, they close up tight. On a dry day, you can shake one and the tiny winged seeds sprinkle out. They are stashed in covered wicker baskets in my garage, handled paper bags in the attic, bowls in the pantry, pockets of jackets. A fire marshal would think I am loaded with enough kindling to burn the house down. The hoarding is simply reverence for God and nature’s glorious design. — Maureen Clark

Dogwoods in Bloom When I think of the wonder of the Sandhills I think of April — I think of spring and the redemption it brings. But while spring is sprung throughout the world, nothing symbolizes the season more than the Sandhills dogwood. While changes are happening all around us, the dogwoods, beauty in the second week of April delivers like a welcome friend. The orchard blossoms come first in the spring as an opening act, but the dogwoods are, in my opinion, the feature show and the azaleas are just part of the beautiful cast. No place have I seen the dogwoods grow wild with the comfort of an indigenous citizen, so much so that separating dogwoods from this place is impossible. Just close your eyes and imagine the Sandhills without the dogwood and you will see that you can’t. It’s an unsung wonder and its dependable arrival each April lends it to be taken for granted. — Kevin Drum


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Photographs By Laura Gingerich

Little Miracles: Pine Cones

The Voice of Water and Memory

Just Breathe If you ask someone what they think the “wonders” of the Sandhills are, the obvious comes to mind: the pine trees, the golf, Weymouth, the history … but for me, it is the air. I remember my first time in the Sandhills. I flew in from the cold, dry, frigid north into an oasis of sun and warmth, an elixir to those of us coming off a cold, snowy winter. As we drove south from Raleigh toward the Sandhills, my husband Jim, a native of Greensboro, exclaimed how much he loved the way the south smelled. I remembered how I loved the smell of the sea in the air where I grew up and as we passed the Seagrove exit, I put down my window to test out this new air. Unlike the promise of the name “Seagrove,” the air did not smell like the sea, but rather a smell and feel like something I had never before encountered. As the wind rushed in my window, the smells of spring earth, growing green things and flowers danced through my senses. It wasn’t just the lushness of the aromas that captured me, but the texture of the air. There was a distinct softness about it. As I stuck my hand out of the window, I marveled at the way it seemed to caress my skin. Coming out of the dry winter air from up north, this new air with its smells and incredible texture seemed to softly permeate my skin and breathe new life into it. On early spring and fall days the combination of perfect temperatures, warm sun, blue skies, and this incredible air makes the day magical. My travels for work and family often take me out of the Sandhills. When I arrive at my destination, I’m always immediately aware of how different the air is. As I make my way back home at the end of my journey, one of the things I look forward to is returning to the Sandhills and taking a deep breath of relief. — Wendy Dodson

The Spanish noun is querencia, which has its root in the verb querer, to love. Unfortunately, there’s no equivalent word in English, but querencia is the place where we truly belong — a spiritual home, real or abstract, to which we might retreat in times of trouble, even if that place is only the memory of sunlight filtering through yellow poplar leaves in autumn. On the Southern Pines Reservoir Greenway, there is, for me, such a location, a kind of querencia — not because it radiates an otherworldly ambience, but because it reminds me of a stream that trickled through a meadow near the town where I was born. The stream’s banks were shaded by crack willow and birch, and when I was a child, I’d go there alone whenever I got the chance. The soft light and the sound of running water made the spot beautiful no matter the season. Each spring a dogwood tree blossomed pink and white. That stream is gone now, covered by asphalt, but on the southwestern side of the reservoir are two foot bridges not far from Trail Marker #14. Brooks murmur under the bridges and feed into the lake. The surrounding wood is a jumble of longleaf pine, dogwood, and poplar; southern shield-ferns, catbriers, and blackberry vines tangle in the undergrowth. Light permeates the overhanging leaves and dapples the bridges and the understory. There’s always the sound of running water softened by the silence of the reservoir. Sometimes when I’m crossing the bridges, I pause to enjoy the colors of the brushwood and vines. And if I close my eyes and listen to the murmur of running water, I can remember, if only for a moment, who it was I used to be. — Stephen E. Smith

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Coffee Mate

Where Everybody Knows Your Name Like the theme song from the popular TV series “Cheers” — you want to go where everyone knows your name. I had a contract on my house in January and went to celebrate at the Wine Cellar on a cold January evening. When I went back in June, Amy, the bartender, said, “Chris — glad you are back.” The list is too long to really do it justice but the other name callers who have welcomed me by name are the folks at The Country Bookshop, Pine Needles Resort, and most notably, Emmanuel Episcopal church. The wonder of friendliness never ceases, and I frequently find myself telling my big city friends about the magical quality of hospitality I’ve found in the sleepy Sandhills. Last Christmas I walked into PetSmart and found Santa Claus by the door. He looked at me and declared, “Hey Chris. Merry Christmas.” For weeks I had convinced myself that Santa was real, but eventually I met him out of Santa uniform and discovered it was Bill Russell, and we had met only once, at Stephen Smith’s poetry reading. — Chris Larsen

Ah … the wonders of the Sandhills. There’s no nicer wonder for me than my visits to the Java Bean Plantation coffee shop in Southern Pines. The “Bean” is located in a small house on Southeast Broad Street — a house that was built a hundred years ago by the first single woman in Southern Pines to own her own home. Rich and Linda Angstreich, the owners, roast their own beans, and the entire property is suffused with an aroma that is nearly as delicious as the coffee itself. The Java Bean has a sort of ’60s’ feel to it, but it has an atmosphere that is unique to Southern Pines and the Sandhills. It has comfortable couches, indoor and outdoor seating, a “roaring” electric fireplace, rocking chairs, and the familiar faces of people who start as fellow customers and become friends in short order. The heart of the place, of course, is the coffee — rich and delicious and expertly prepared by Amy, Anna, Esa, Emily, and the other baristas. I can’t imagine a day without a stop (or two!) at the Java Bean Plantation. A wonder of the Sandhills indeed. — John Dempsey

Sunrise, Sunset The word “wonder” sometimes solicits images reflecting the beauty of nature, like the rising and setting of the sun. That being said, the Sunrise Theater is one of the wonders of the Sandhills. Whenever our theater tickets are pinched in half and our stubs handed back, we feel as if we’re boarding a ship that will transport us to far off places in the present, past, or future. We are given passage into the minds and hearts of humanity, whether it is a spelunker in southern France, or a queen in the British Isles, or experiencing how life is viewed from the perspective of a migrating bird. Oftentimes, we find ourselves heading home with a lighter heart, deeper compassion, or renewed motivation based on what we had just seen. During opera season (having successfully circumvented a security pat-down at the airport) we find ourselves occupying a front row seat at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, and unlike those in Manhattan, who have paid significantly more for their admittance, we enjoy an additional feature … a personal interview with the cast of stars during intermission! For decades, dinner and a movie has been the quintessential date night choice. It remains so for us, and we look forward to it each week. It’s a “wonderful” time … see you at the Sunrise! — Stephen Boyd

The Fix Is In Clearly the Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic is an amazing “wonder” in the Sandhills. As the Clinic approaches 25,000 surgeries for people who otherwise could not afford to spay or neuter their pets, the impact of the SNVC is area wide. “FIXX your pets,” SNIP and SNAP have become household phrases. The new mantra for pet ownership, SPAY & NEUTER. Who makes this “wonder” happen? A staff of dedicated veterinarians, technicians and volunteers, who provide the surgery, and the Companion Animal Clinic Foundation, which subsidizes the costs. The other “wonder” are the thousands of clients who have taken advantage of the spay/neuter clinic and responded responsibility to pet ownership. Happy holidays to all components that have contributed to the “FIXX” for our four-legged friends in our community. — Deborah Wilson


December 2011 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Photograph � � � � � � � � �By � � Jeanne � � � � � �Paine ����������

A Timeless Gift The Walthour-Moss Foundation, a 4,000-acre land trust nestled between Southern Pines and Fort Bragg, is the geographical and spiritual heart of our Horse Country. It is a preserve — nay, a defiant remnant — of the longleaf pine forests and savannas that once dominated our country’s southeastern coast. These lands are demure, enticing rather than engulfing their visitors, but the patient visitor is rewarded by the gradual revelation of their natural splendors. The Foundation is a querencia, a place to escape quotidian concerns, acres in which to ride or stroll and sense the sights and sounds that greeted travelers on the Yadkin Road, from Siouan Indians to Highland Scots, in centuries past … the gentle rustle of the pine needles sweeping the clouds … the rich green pine boughs set against the azure skies of the Sandhills winter. The Foundation is a wondrous present from generous citizens of yesteryear, nurtured and augmented by the love and dedication of a succession of grateful caretakers, and one to be treasured by all of us upon whom Fortuna smiled and allowed to dwell in its midst. — Stephen Later PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � December 2011


The Middle Path I flew for decades across this wide world, as a World War II Air Force officer and later as diplomatic correspondent of Reuters news agency. Now, my wife Dolores, a ‘Tar Heel’ and Duke University graduate, and I have found a retirement haven in the wonderful Sandhills with four lovely seasons. This indeed is a rare community of thoughtful and generous people. And, how professionally lucky I am to have here such upholders of the finest traditions of American journalism as The Pilot and PineStraw. Green golf pastures are a fitting backdrop to a community brimming with optimism, a cheerful tradition of self-help and good neighborliness. Its spirit makes the Sandhills such a welcoming home for this wanderer come to rest. We are deeply thankful to be part of this unique community where we can follow the Buddha’s “Middle Path” of moderation in all things, even in moderation itself. — Mohsin Ali O.B.E.

The Wonder of it All No single wonder will suffice when talking about the Sandhills ... there is an amalgam .... an Oriental rug of design and unforgettable features. Individually, some of the wonders seem incongruous. An example of this is the availability of great food. I expected Southern foods loved since childhood ... barbeque (my favorite is served at Pinewoods Club but Dickie’s isn’t bad), grits with red-eye gravy, biscuits or cornbread, and, lordy, lordy ... fried chicken (my favorite is from Lowe’s market). Southern is for days when my diet is focused on being “too big to fail.” But ... I found I could have gourmet, healthy choices produced with culinary skill at many, many restaurants or by the superb caterers in our area. The Sandhills is just a Christmas tree of yum. Ah, our trees ... that wonder never ceases to amaze. I love that I live near the march of them down Linden Road always pointing toward stars or Carolina blue. Beneath the pines are the can-can dancers of azaleas with their ruffled petticoats of color. These are punctuated by the dogwoods with their red in the fall and white in the spring, and camellias who brave the winter with their blooms. Amazing, too, the garden clubs who foster constant interest in horticultural beauty, as does the college’s gardens and horticultural department. Have you seen the many species of holly? I learned long ago that I have to come back to my New York apartment to rest after the bustle of activities in the Sandhills. Where else can the philharmonic be heard along with the local musicians at the Rooster’s Wife, movies one would never miss at the Sunrise as well as Live at the Met, two-stepping at the Barn for the benefit of this or that, hunts, golf, auctions, antique shows, car shows, lectures, races, horse shows, formal balls and the endless canvasses of really, really good painting always found at Campbell House and Weymouth? My favorite activities are small dinners (some not so small) enjoyed in homes with friends. Oh, yes, I give some of these gatherings myself. These dinners ring with laughter. The people of the Sandhills are the greatest wonder of all. I love to talk to those who grew up in the area and have a a depth of local history I admire. Then, too, there are those of us who have come from far and wide to share from earlier careers and experiences. When I chat and learn from these sand-in-their-shoes neighbors who would not leave the area now for anything, I am in awe. These are fine, diligent, intelligent people, and they all seem to have a remarkable sense of humor. Beyond the laughter there is something much deeper. I told a daughter recently that I had found a swaddling of care in my North Carolina friends. I am there to care for them, too. What greater wonder? — Lucille Buck


December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

Photographs By Glenn Sides

Train Love Thirty-five years ago my soon-to-be husband had just accepted a job in Southern Pines and we drove down to find a place for him to live. As we came up the hill by the Methodist Church we rounded the curve and lo and behold there were train tracks right beside the road — and they continued right straight through town! We just looked at each other and smiled, both of us thinking the tracks were a good omen for our future. You see, my husband loves trains. And in 1987 we bought a home near downtown Southern Pines and had the windows open when we went to bed. Lying there we heard a train come through town blowing its horn, and once again we looked at each other and knew here was another good omen for us. — Beth Carpenter

We Are a Village In just one trip around Southern Pines to do a few errands, I meet the most fascinating people. Rich, middle class, and homeless. Laborers, military, professionals, shopkeepers and retired. White, African-American, Mexican, Native American, Peruvian, European and Indian. Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, atheist and agnostic. Republican, Democrat, Marxist and not interested. Young people and old. There are people who have just moved to the Sandhills and people who have lived here their entire lives. Time seems to move a little bit more slowly here as people seem to have more time to really stop, connect and get to know each other. Each person is a beautiful reflection of the other. And each person I meet, I meet in wonder. — Tom Thompson

For the past ten years or so, I have enjoyed a hobby that I share with a growing number of area residents. About twice a week I jump on my bicycle and ride between 30 and 50 miles around the rural sections of the Sandhills — all in a state of wonder at my good fortune to live in such a place. While there are a few roads that are not “bike friendly” (US 1 and 15-501 come to mind), the rural roads are safe, lightly traveled when I am out, and astoundingly scenic. The air is clean, the headwinds weak, and the dogs lethargic (mostly). I can hardly imagine a better place to go for a ride! My cycling experiences elsewhere confirm my preference for local roads. I have taken my bike on cross-state trips, charity rides in other counties, and even touring rides in the Italian Alps, but nowhere is the combination of scenery, road quality, friendly folks, courteous drivers, and good food (Yes! I sometimes stop to eat!) equal to that of my own home county of Moore. There is a quality of life here that undergirds a host of such outdoor activities: jogging, golf, bird watching, dog walking — the list goes on and on. So if you’re driving one day, pass a skinny old guy on a bike, and he waves, just know that he is happy to be right here, pedaling along in the best place on Earth. — Larry Allen

Photograph � � � � � By � � Laura � � � � �Gingerich � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � December 2011

Photographs By Jeanne Paine



Read My Lips For the orthographically challenged, the Spelling Bee for Literacy offers a uniquely wacky therapy. Lingering nightmares from our own junior high school competitions dissolve in laughter. Thank you, Moore County Literacy Council, for orchestrating this wundurfool relief. “Orchestrate” is the key word because The Bee is a montage of 22 teams’ creative capers — costumes, songs, scripted puns, attempted bribes, spontaneous quips, team boosters in outrageous shirts, pep bands, banners, poetic slams — but please, no more noisemakers! Master of Ceremonies David Woronoff maintains just enough order to keep the spelling words coming and anoint the winners of the Best Spellers trophy. Awards for Best Costumes, Best Buzz, and a Keep the Hive Alive competition (for the team raising the most money) guarantee that everyone wins, including the 22 percent of Moore County adults who lack the literacy skills to thrive. How’s that for FUNdraising? — Katherine Stevenson

Love in Harness We moved a lot when I was growing up so I call myself a “resort brat,” which is similar to an “Army brat” with nicer barracks. We brought all our holiday family traditions to every new town, but the tradition of a place evolved organically over time. We discovered the harness races at the Pinehurst track on the first Sunday in April in the late ’70s and we just kept going back. After a few years it became a wonderful family tradition to celebrate my mom’s birthday at the races because my dad was always in Augusta the first week of April. We had the only shady spot under the oak tree on the final turn before the finish line. If it’s the first Sunday in April, and we aren’t in Augusta, you’ll find us at home “in the pines” under the oak tree. — Denise Baker


Giving Good Voice Certainly one of the joyful wonders of the Sandhills is the Golf Capital Chorus. This group of 40 men sing for fun, fellowship and charity. The chorus celebrated its 31st anniversary as an official chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society this year. The organization formed in March of 1981 when five harmonious gentlemen had lunch around the piano bar at the Pinecrest Inn. Since then they have contributed more than $275,000 to local charities that aid children. — Ron Sutton

December 2011 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � PineStraw : The Art & Soul of thePaine Sandhills Photograph By Jeanne

Pinehurst No. 2 For more than a century, Pinehurst No. 2 has fascinated, frustrated, challenged, cajoled, entertained and intrigued golfers from every corner of the globe, from every strata of the talent hierarchy. Noted amateur golf champion Walter Travis had this to say more than a century ago: “It is absolutely unique in this country, a modern course for the modern ball.” Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw added this not long ago on the cusp of a new century: “There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like it at all.” Crenshaw and golf design partner Bill Coore just completed a restoration of No. 2 to reclaim its texture and personality from the mid-1900s time frame. The wonders of No. 2? Let us count the ways: Pure sand base. Eighteen unique green settings, the edges rolling off into intricate swales and hollows. Wide fairways giving way to hardpan sand with wire grass, pine needles and pine cones. Rough-hewn bunker edges. The element of luck when your ball runs off the firm fairways. In June 2014, No. 2 will become the first course ever to host both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open on successive weeks. “This is just an incredible golf course,” Bill Coore says. — Lee Pace

Onederr Volunteer Heaven As the Sandhills proudly hosts its share of extraordinary golf events, a large army of willing volunteers enthusiastically share their time and expertise as ambassadors for our area. Since the early PGA World Golf Hall of Fame events, U.S. Women’s Opens at Pine Needles Lodge, along with the many high profile events at the Pinehurst Resort, names like Gen. Harvey Speilman, his wife Ginny, Ellen and Bud Shulby, Swede Boreen and many others are synonymous with the best in volunteering. Their vast cadre of knowledgeable helpers has enabled countless golf events to operate flawlessly over the last thirty years. Their love of golf and gift of organization have led current volunteer leaders like Ron Crow and Richard Lawson to maximize local talent for tournaments like the North and South events, U.S. Opens and the expansive U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. Our local golf volunteers have no equal. They are a gift to the community. — Peter Stilwell

John Derr is a national treasure and a local hero. His career as a sportscaster, writer and head of CBS Sports is legendary. He has interviewed and written about the greatest characters of the 20th century. At 94, he still has the voice of Walter Cronkite, the wit of Will Rogers and the energy of a schoolboy. What makes John Derr a “favorite son” in the Sandhills is his strength of personality and his contribution to the health and vibrancy of his community. His half-hour lectures on American history off the top of his head still amaze his audiences. He made his first hole in one at 92 and wrote a book at 93. At 94, he has more energy, recall and curiosity than people half his age. However, it is his one-on-one encounters with folks that make him one of the most popular figures in the region. He is the ultimate conversationalist and schmoozer. He loves people and people love him back. He has a twinkle in his eye and a rhapsodic lilt to his step. Get to know John Derr. He will have a heck of a party at 100. His email address says it all: — Tom Stewart

Photographs By Laura Gingerich

Odell and Dog The first time I saw Odell Hussey was about two years ago at the Buggy Festival in Carthage. I knew I wanted to get to know him. You might say it was “interest” at first sight. He’s a huge man with hands the size of a frying pan despite the missing finger or two and is usually accompanied by his team of Percheron draft horses that he uses to snake logs out of the woods, pull his wagons and plow his fields — his way of life here in Moore County since he acquired his first horse at age 14 in the early 1940s. Odell lives on Odell Road, five miles from nowhere, and has a dog named “Dog.” My GPS stopped working a few miles from his home but everyone knows where he lives and getting lost in northern Moore County this time of year is a delight. If you shoot a rifle from his front porch toward the north, the bullet will land in Randolph County. He finished school in the fifth grade when he learned enough to know that he could help support his family of nine by working the horse that a friend lent him. I joined him for lunch of homemade corn bread and milk — which is what he makes for himself every day for lunch and dinner. I couldn’t imagine getting tired of his stories of life in Moore County that have been handed down from generation to generation since the mid 1700s. — Laura Gingerich PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � December 2011



December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

Please Write Soon A handwritten letter may be a vanishing act, but a sure way to touch someone’s heart

By Stephen E. Smith

Photograph By Hannah Sharpe.


lip on that snazzy new iPhone 4s and there’s the twitter you’ve been waiting for: “Fyi itz kewtweed twike ur geotwitter pfn bff” — shelf life: three seconds. Compare the above gibberish with this excerpt from a beautifully handwritten letter by James Boyd to his editor Maxwell Perkins dated Jan. 21, 1937: “Tom Wolfe just left last night after a three-day visit. He arrived Monday (at 4:47 a.m.) totally whipped down by New Orleans and Atlanta cheer and in his state was disposed to take on the roles of Prometheus Bound and having refreshed himself, Ajax defying the literary agents. But after two long sleeps the Great Bear emerged ruddy and benign and altogether in the best form I’ve ever seen him in… .” — shelf life: 74 years and counting. I’m not anti-twitter, but I am pro art, and that’s what a handwritten letter is — a pleasurable aesthetic creation of more than ordinary significance. And what’s heartening about such a piece of art is that any of us who has the patience and skill and courage to put pen to paper can create a minor masterpiece that might live on until the planet is transformed into a cosmic snowball — or cinder. OK, snail-mail isn’t green. You have to use paper and ink and slap a stamp on the envelope. Then a vehicle that burns fossil fuel has to deliver the letter to your doorstep. But your iPhone has a nasty battery that has to be recharged by atomic or fossil fuel, and the thing is made of plastic and a tiny circuit board and it’s almost indestructible. It will live on long after its usefulness — which is about 365 days — is over. Then what? So here’s my suggestion: Write an occasional letter to the people you love. Let them know you’re well — or ill, as the case may be — and that you’re thinking of them and have taken the time to acknowledge that they occupy a special place in your heart. Make them smile. Make them feel the warmth of your affection. I know, letter writing is a lost art, but it’s not impossible to recapture the old magic. Here’s what you do. First, get a decent fountain pen. That’s right, one that uses liquid ink, preferably black indelible ink. You can purchase a fountain pen with an ink cartridge, but one with a bladder (I know it sounds icky) is better. Such pens hold more ink than a cartridge, and they’re easy and fun to refill. Make sure your new fountain pen has an appropriate nib. They come in fine, medium and broad, and every possible configuration in between. Using the right nib will improve your handwriting, if that’s what you’re worried about. Practice with the new pen until you find a satisfying style that enhances your scribble. Don’t be overly critical of your penmanship. You’re writing to someone who already loves you. Next, purchase some quality stationery online or at an office supply store. Use paper that works well with your fountain pen, soft and gently absorbent. Forget about copy paper. It doesn’t receive the ink in a graceful fashion. Make sure your envelopes match your stationery. Third — and this is very important — purchase some uncanceled vintage stamps on eBay. Type in “sheets of US stamps” and you’ll find they’re available for a song. What could be cooler than a sheet of 50 mint condition “Oregon Territory” stamps issued in 1948? They’re beautiful works of art unto themselves — and they’re perfectly usable, and a full sheet is available for just a few dollars. Add one of the Oregon stamps to a current postage stamp to dress up your envelope. Ah, me, such a thoughtful touch. As for the writing part, it’s easy. Start with where you are at the moment: Dear Janice, I’m sitting in the den on this rainy day and remembering the wonderful time we shared when we were in San Francisco. What a beautiful moment that was — the clear blue sky and the fog rolling over the Golden Gate Bridge, the sea air fresh and cool… .” Plunge onward. Reveal your true feelings. Unburden your heart. Be a true friend. And here’s a little something extra I do. I buy unused vintage postcards on eBay that feature a place that reminds me of the person I’m writing to. Recently, I sent a postcard of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, that captured hundreds of colorful umbrellas on the beach. I remembered an essay an old friend read me in college about his summer renting umbrellas at Rehoboth. I said that the postcard reminded me of him. He wrote back a three-page thank you, identifying the street where the umbrella stand was located and what year the photo was taken (he recognized the canvas material from which the umbrellas were made). And he reminisced at length about the good times he experienced during that long-ago summer. He ended his letter with: “You are a true friend.” PS PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


Jazz Age in the Pines


merica in the 1920s was an orgy of cultural change, a revolution in manners and morals that broke with the traditions of the Gilded Age in favor of a paradise of untold wealth and modernity. Owing to an economy that generally boomed through the decade — especially among the speculators of an unregulated Wall Street — the nation’s cities grew at an unprecedented rate, and rural electrification projects lighted streets and homes across the heartland. The first “skyscrapers” were built in record time and banks, responding to easy credit, offered consumer loans and home mortgages for the first time. Mass production of automobiles, radios, washing machines and other household appliances aimed to “fully liberate the American housewife,” who gained the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. A new phenomenon called “leisure time” entered the cultural lexicon. Golf courses and country clubs boomed. A Florida real estate rush began. Professional football was born. Ordinary workers took “vacations” for the first time ever. The first commercial record-players appeared and jazz clubs proliferated, producing a slump in piano sales for the first time in decades. As styles rapidly changed, women bobbed their hair and smoked in public. Divorce rates soared as hemlines rose, and the “flapper” became the symbol of the era. The Volstead Act of 1920, popularly known as a counter productive social experiment called Prohibition, shut down the nation’s bars but created thousands of “speak-easy” clubs that fueled a burgeoning underworld of gangsters and bootleggers who dominated the sensational newspaper headlines of the decade. Down here in the sleepy longleaf pines of central North Carolina, pretty much isolated from the madding world, the privileged classes who wintered here to play golf and party at the glamorous Carolina Hotel routinely received shipments of booze without much fear of local law men. “My father’s bootlegger showed up at our cottage at least once every two weeks in season,” a famous Philadelphia madam remembered. “And in those days, if we happened to be away, he would simply leave the liquor at one of the village’s local inns. Folks had a standing arrangement in such matters. There wouldn’t have been any parties worth attending otherwise.” Last year, PineStraw magazine was pleased to sponsor the first Holly and Ivy Dinner, a re-creation of Christmas from 100 years ago, the winter of 1910. To say the least, it was a smash hit. This year, we thought a romp through the Jazz Age in the Pines, as writer F. Scott Fitzgerald labeled the decadent decade, complete with flappers, bootleg spirits and jazz, would be a fitting tribute to a vanished time that in many ways made Pinehurst what it is today. With the crash of the stock market in late 1929, the extended dance party known as the “Roaring Twenties” came to an abrupt end. But as our scrapbook photos from Given Memorial Library reveal, oh what a good time was had by all. PS


December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

At play in Paradise: Whenever residents weren’t dressing up for parties, there was plenty to do. Golf, horse racing, archery, tennis — even a village baseball team — occupied their time.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

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Gift of the Magi By O. Henry • Illustration By William Mangum

This month in O.Henry magazine, our new sister publication in Greensboro, as part of an annual planned tribute to the Gate City’s famous native son and our magazine’s namesake, we reprinted “The Gift of the Magi,” William Sydney Porter’s most famous short story — believed to be second only to Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” as the world’s best-loved Yuletide story. Porter, who wrote under the name O.Henry, dashed off the story in an afternoon in late 1905 after returning from a relaxing trip on the heels of getting fired from the New York Sunday World just weeks before. What occasioned his firing was an outraged publisher who discovered Bill Porter, as his Irving Place drinking friends called him, was getting paid a princely $100 for one story a week, a fictional tale that always had a clever ending — his O.Henry trademark. What he failed to realize was that even though he’d been terminated, his contract with the Sunday World extended through that December. So when a copy boy showed up at his apartment demanding a Christmas story for the paper, he had none. The copy boy reportedly dug in his heels, however, fearing the consequences of returning empty-handed to the newsroom. The story goes that he insisted he would go nowhere until Porter provided a Christmas yarn. O.Henry was a famously swift and rarely rewrote his copy. According to David Stuart, his biographer, Porter disappeared to his writing table and dashed off the following tale of a young couple in love — “never stopping, never faltering. He wrote for two hours, handing the office boy each page as he finished it, not halting to correct.” With that, O.Henry reportedly took himself off to Pete’s Tavern at the end of the block, New York’s oldest tavern, to enjoy a holiday libation. It’s our hope you enjoy our little Christmas gift to you. — Jim Dodson


ne dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eightyseven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating. While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage

to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad. In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.” The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good. Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling — something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim. There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art. Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy. So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street. Where she stopped the sign read: “Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


T h e G i ft o f t h e M ag i

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della. “I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.” Down rippled the brown cascade. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand. “Give it to me quick,” said Della. Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present. She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation — as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value — the description applied to both. Twentyone dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain. When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends — a mammoth task. Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically. “If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do — oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?” At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.” The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two — and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves. Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face. Della wriggled off the table and went for him. “Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again — you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say ‘Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice — what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.” “You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.


“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?” Jim looked about the room curiously. “You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy. “You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you — sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?” Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year — what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on. Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table. “Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.” White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat. For there lay The Combs — the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims — just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone. But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!” And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!” Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit. “Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.” Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled. “Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.” The magi, as you know, were wise men — wonderfully wise men — who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi. PS

December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

You’ll fi nd more than 50 of the best brands here, including one you can’t find anywhere else. Adidas • Peter Millar • Sport Haley • Tail • Tehama • Puma • Titleist • Tommy Bahama • Under Armour • FootJoy • Straight Down Pinehurst Collection • SDI • Zero • Maui Jim • Oakley • Brighton • Dooney & Burke • Putterboy Collection • Vera Bradley • Isda Cole Haan • Lilly Pulitzer • Iliac • Aveda • La Bella Donna • J. Lindeberg • Ashworth • Oxford • Polo • Ashworth • Adidas • Ahead American Needle • Bobby Jones • Callaway • Cutter & Buck • EP Pro • Fairway & Greene Gear • Greg Norman • Imperial • Nike

The Pinehurst Shops are full of shirts, shoes, jackets, spa products, bags, gifts and accessories from brands like Vera Bradley, Adidas, Nike, Peter Millar and Cole Haan. So come in and find your favorites. Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina • 910. 235.8154 •

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


Taste Times Two Story of a house

Pinehurst cottage benefits from a well-designed friendship By Deborah Salomon • Photographs By John Gessner


ally Wood wanted a cottage. She had grown up in a columned Georgian, in Raleigh. She raised a family in a Georgian, in Raleigh. Both were located in stately old neighborhoods among other proper Georgians. Upon arriving in Pinehurst, Sally and husband Tom Wood rented Elm Cottage — lovely but not quite right. Her sights were on Afterglow, a cottage built in 1920, when notables wintered in the Sandhills. One day last year, while shopping in the village Sally heard that Afterglow (now nameless but still oozing endorphins) was on the market. She bolted from the store, called the agent, and saw the property that very afternoon. It needed few structural changes. Sally’s furniture suited. The size was good. Afterglow represented a canvas just waiting for the right brush. Note: In Pinehurst parlance, cottage means 3,000-plus square feet flooded with light from French doors opening onto terraces and verandas. Walking distance to the village is preferable. Cottages have stunning bathrooms, polished wood floors, perfect gardens (Afterglow’s includes a Tom Fazio putting green), copious kitchens, and imaginative décor conceived by an interior designer. Sally lacked the latter. A woman’s relationship with her interior designer can be complicated. The designer must bring to the inlaid Jacobean table tact, patience, a sense of humor, and a freshly

Windexed crystal ball. The client should be articulate, open-minded, trusting — with reasonably deep pockets in her designer jeans. “I have fairly good taste but no confidence,” Sally Wood confesses. “I wanted Michael’s look with my things.” Her things are antiques from hither and yon. Mostly yon. Interior designer Michael Lamb — a lion among his Piedmont peers — judged them a bit serious. Yet he called Sally the perfect client. “We have similar tastes. We understand each other very well.” Michael weighed in on Afterglow before the purchase was finalized. He recalls spending time alone, absorbing the house, before starting work. “I wanted to bring a fresh approach to how the house should be lived in today.” Out of this symbiotic relationship the cottage look was born: Interchangeable neutrals with blue splashes. Strategically placed eye-poppers. Flagrant comfort, as in white upholstery on the chair where spaniel Bertie snoozes. Airy, bright, fun. “Sally and I, we’re ‘Will & Grace,’” Michael explains, with a knowing smile. They met — where else? — in an antique shop. Sally liked his ideas, asked him to help with her previous Pinehurst residence. “Michael came up with a truckload and changed everything.” “I felt like I had met my sister,” he adds.

A Russian chandelier, native pine paneling, artifacts and china from hither and yon characterize Afterglow’s dining room. PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

Left: If the reclining deer on a living room shelf doesn’t draw the eye, a 19th century handpainted French wallpaper panel certainly will. The sunroom is pure comfort for people and pets. Above: Michael Lamb likes groupings: Italian peddlers and trees in the living room. PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



Above: Most unusual marble-topped butcher table accommodates Sally Wood’s family. Below: Is that a goat on the foyer table? Afterglow is filled with whimsical accents. side from their business relationship, Sally and Michael are buddies on the happy hunt for treasures, rescued dogs, and lunch. Yes, that’s a life-sized goat sculpture on (not under) the foyer table. And a deer reclining on the living room shelf. Antique Italian prints surrounding the mantel depict peddlers selling cheese, pasta, and oysters; Michael points with glee to a lamp base, also a peddler. Obviously, Afterglow is no Rooms-toGo Italian Villa package. Each piece sparked interest at a shop, an estate sale or through a dealer. Family heirlooms are scarce save for a few Tom contributed and two tall secretaries anchoring the foyer. “Those were my mother’s,” Sally says. “She bought two of everything, one for me, one for my sister (now deceased). She had exquisite taste.” If Sally grew up Southern proper in Raleigh, Michael grew up in Greensboro switching lamps around while his parents were at church. His design talents developed unfettered by schooling. After Sally introduced him to Pinehurst, Michael decided to move — but not just anywhere. Michael needs zing, which he found in an apartment over the garage where heiress Elva Statler Davidson met a mysterious, perhaps murderous end in 1935. His look is ethnic, continental, interspersed with a collection of religious art. Afterglow’s history is less sensational. According to documents at Tufts Archives in 1920, on a lot costing $300, J. Watson Smith built a one-and-ahalf story frame cottage with wide German siding, a clipped gable roof, three shed dormers, casement windows, French doors and an arched hood over the central façade. Another publication describes the cottage as “A strictly modern winter dwelling with all the latest appurtenances, thoroughly and tastefully


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Sally Wood never met a chair she didn’t want. The sunroom holds seven.

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


furnished, for rent or for sale.” The house was purchased in 1925, but the buyer defaulted on payments. Smith reclaimed it and, in 1936, moved his family there. Son Clifford Smith was six. “My father named it Afterglow — it was a beautiful house,” says Smith, the last manager of the Carolina Hotel for the Tufts family. Smith, co-incidentally, now lives in a smaller cottage behind Afterglow. He speaks of the changes, which include the grass putting green, a bedroom wing added behind the kitchen, and a spa bathroom made from an upstairs bedroom. “You go into a place you’ve lived in before and kind of scratch your head.” Smith has not seen Sally and Michael’s interior, where each room contains a surprise: Dominating the formal (despite protestations) living room is an enormous French sepia wallpaper panel depicting a dreamy classical scene, hand-painted circa 1810 by Zuber et Cie. The panel, Michael says, sets a tone. “I told Sally she was looking for something exactly like that to cover a big bare wall,” he adds with dry humor. Michael decided to encase the stone fireplace — perhaps too cottage-y — leaving the firebox, which he surrounded with a delicate carved mantel. The sunroom/den where Sally and Tom read the Sunday paper surprises with a twolevel beadboard ceiling. Their dining room, completely paneled in dark pine, was previously a pool room with tin ceiling. Out came the tin, replaced by an ornate crystal chandelier, with love from czarist Russia. Sally’s husband loves to cook. His kitchen has surprising concrete countertops and a long, narrow, vaguely monastic family eating area with two long, narrow, marble-topped English “game” tables, where butchers dressed deer and pheasant. Children and grandchildren from Sally and Tom’s family gather here on holidays. Chair seats are upholstered in — surprise — an animal-print fabric.

An informal den behind the kitchen is child-proof and animalfriendly. This time, the grouping features birds.


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The veranda — done in Sally’s true blue — overlooks the garden and grass putting green.


utside the family dining room, a veranda shows Sally’s true color. Cushions are navy blue, surprising for outdoor furniture commonly done in Earth tones. She has been collecting blue and white china urns, vases, lamps, and plates forever. Some are here, others in the foyer, many in the bedrooms and elsewhere. In fact, blue is the color thread running through the house. “I don’t like the idea of a green room or a pink room,” she says. Bathrooms rise above function. In one, a massive painted-and-distressed bureau holds the sinks. The upstairs master bath has copper planters sunk into the tiled tub deck. A clawfoot tub original to the house remains in the guest loo. Chairs are everywhere, including one that stands like a statue on the staircase landing. Sally admits “I never met a chair I didn’t want.” The sunroom holds seven, arranged by Michael not to appear crowded. Surprisingly, Sally also wanted natural seagrass carpet, even when overlaid with Oriental rugs. Michael chose Lancaster (antique) white walls and pure white woodwork throughout, better to background the antiques. That woodwork is a marvel of wide moldings with half-circle corners surrounding each window and French door. Michael and Sally decided to replace the heavy front door with stainedglass inserts with a glass door affording passers-by a glimpse inside. Even the shutters flout tradition. Most Pinehurst cottages have green or black. Afterglow’s are an unusual chocolate brown. As a whole, this cottage represents more that just a job well done. Sally knew Pinehurst as a child, rode ponies here, and returned to her parents’ villa after 22 years in the same residence. Sally met Tom here, through someone at The O’Neal School, where she teaches. Through his work on Sally’s homes, Michael saw the opportunity to relocate — although when clients beckon, he travels. Michael believes design influences lifestyle. Sally’s new lifestyle demanded change within a familiar framework. He calls it an upgrade, from serious/formal to casual/whimsical/elegant. That, too, could change. “For me, a house is never finished when you love interiors.” PS

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


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By Noah Salt

Out In The Garden

We have several garden favorites that shine through the bleak midwinter months. Heleborous niger, a member of the buttercup family, is often called the Lenten or Christmas Rose and Rose of Noel because of its prodigious blooms in winter, much more showy than any other flower in the garden. One legend holds that the plant originated through a young shepherdess who followed the other shepherds to Bethlehem. On the way, she wept because she had no gift to give, but the angel Gabriel took pity and touched his staff to the frozen ground and brought forth a lovely bunch of blooming flowers. They certainly make a big difference in our winter garden. Our other favorite is Daphne, the small deciduous or evergreen shrub from the laurel family that puts forth small pink cluster blooms that can bowl you over with their miraculously sweet smell — some say even more powerful than gardenia, named for a maiden nymph of classical mythology pursued by the god Apollo. In the popular story, the goddess Diana hears Daphne’s pleas for help and changes her into a beautiful laurel plant, forever bravely blooming through the coldest days of winter. The shrub is so beloved in China, where it actually originated, Daphne is still grown on temple grounds. As January dawns, garden catalogs come in a blizzard, making this the prime month to plan and winter dream about your New Year garden, revising what failed and branching out for something new. Midwinter is a great time to take a course or read up on gardening techniques, boning up on the characteristics of your particular micro-climate and regional characteristics. As nature drowses, this is also the peak time for planting burlap-balled shrubs and trees. Ash spread liberally from your wood stove will sweeten the garden soil with potash and charcoal. This is the time to improve your soil. Don’t forget the birds. Use your Christmas tree as a backyard bird feeder covered with homemade suet.

Stars of Wonder

Midwinter is a splendid time for stargazing. Throughout December and January, particularly an hour after sunset, looking due south, the bright and colorful stars of Orion act as a signpost to the constellations. Taurus the mighty Bull sits high with the double cluster of Perseus also in easy view. Scholars have long debated whether the “Star of Bethlehem” that led the Magi to the newborn Jesus, as described in the Book of Matthew, was a new star or a passing astronomical event. According to Johann Kepler, a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn occuring in 7 BC accounted for the brilliance of the guiding “star,” whereas more modern interpretations range from a comet to a super nova as recorded by Chinese and Korean stargazers about that same time. Regardless of your view on the subject, look up in early evening and admire Venus shining brighter than just about anything else in the winter sky. Mars also puts on its best show, doubling in brightness too, as the year draws to a close. Jupiter remains in fine view, rising around nightfall and staying visible all night.

Winter Legends

Tradition holds that Joseph of Arimathea, in whose tomb Jesus was buried, left Jerusalem and sailed to Britain, whereupon he planted his staff in the soil and saw it grow into the English hawthorn tree, which blooms at Christmas rather than spring. In ancient days, sprigs of the blooming hawthorn were carried far and wide across Britain as proof of Christ’s nativity and an agent of conversion. To this day, on Christmas Day, the Queen receives her morning breakfast with a sprig of blooming hawthorn. English Holly is the consummate holiday decorating plant regarded as a sacred symbol of the Earth’s renewal by early pagan tribes. Yet with the spread of Chrisianity, the plant’s red berries made it an ideal symbol of Christ’s blood, with its prickly leaves reminders of the crucifixion wounds. In Druidic culture, the Holly King was viewed as the Lord of the waning year, the Green Man who ruled from midsummer to midwinter, culminating in the festival of Yuletide. A sprig of holly should be carried by travelers as a protection against winter storms. Mistletoe — a fungus that grows abundantly in oaks — was cut and hung through the midwinter season to invite various blessings upon a household, including second-sight, fertility, and kind weather. The plant is often associated with Venus, the goddess of love, which is why people developed a tradition of kissing one’s beloved beneath it.

“God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December.” – J.M. Barrie

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011










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Arts & Entertainment Calendar December 1


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NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE IN HD. 2 & 7 p.m. Collaborators. A new play by John Hodge directed by National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner. Play centers on an imaginary encounter between Joseph Stalin and the playwright Mikhail Bulgakov. 3 hours. Tickets: $20. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-8501 or GATHERING AT GIVEN. 3:30 p.m. Members of Pinecrest High School Chamber Orchestra and Choral present holiday music. Free event. Given Memorial Library, 150 Cherokee Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 295-6022. MEET THE AUTHOR. 4 p.m. Diana Rupp, author of Embroider Everything Workshop: The Beginner’s Guide to Embroidery, Cross-Stitch, Needlepoint, Beadwork, Appliqué and More, founded and runs Make Workshop in New York City. She will discuss how embroidery is inexpensive, portable, easy to learn, infinitely adaptable and steeped in history. The Country Bookshop, 140 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-3211 or CAROLS AT WEYMOUTH. 5 p.m. Featuring music, poetry and song. Free to the public; limited space. Weymouth Center, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-6261. HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE @ HOLLYHOCKS. 5 - 7 p.m. Refreshments and wine courtesy of Elliott’s on Linden. Hollyhocks Art Gallery, 905 Linden Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 255-0665 or

December 1-3

CHRISTMAS AT WEYMOUTH. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Twentyfive rooms in the historic home of James and Katherine Boyd decorated for the holidays by local garden clubs, professional decorators, florists and individuals. Refreshments, musical entertainment throughout the day. Event benefits the Women of Weymouth. Tickets: $10/advance; $15/at door. Weymouth Center, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-6261.

December 1 - 4

DECEMBER HUNTER JUMPER CLASSIC. A new show at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, NC, recognized “A” by USEF and also sanctioned by NCHJA, SCHJA, NAL, and WIHS leagues. Will showcase two rings of Hunters Thursday thru Sunday. The jumpers will be held Friday thru Sunday on the steeplechase track side of the horse park. Carolina Horse Park, 2814 Montrose Rd., Raeford. Info: CHP Office at (910) 875-2074 or www.carolinahorseparkcom.

December 1 - 16

ART EXHIBIT. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Jane Casnellie & Friends. Featuring artwork by Jan Casnellie, Tony Corcoran, Morgen Kilbourn, Diane Kraudelt and Karen Meredith. Gallery open weekdays. Free and open to the public. Campbell House Galleries, 482 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692- 2787 or

December 1 - 18

TEMPLE THEATRE PRESENTS: A Christmas Carol. An original adaptation by Michael Hoagland based on the traditional Charles Dickens’ story of Scrooge, ghosts and life-changing decisions. Temple Theatre, 120 Carthage St., Sanford. Info: (919) 774-4155 or

December 1 - 29

ART EXHIBIT & SALE. 12 - 3 p.m., Monday - Saturday. Celebrate America art exhibit and sale. Artists League of Key: Art




the Sandhills, 129 Exchange St., Aberdeen. Info: (910) 9443979 or

December 2

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST FESTIVITIES & TREE LIGHTING. 3 - 6 p.m. The village fills with Christmas spirit and entertainment, including Santa, elves and Christmas carols, followed by the tree lighting at 6 p.m. Village Square, Pinehurst. Info: (910) 295-7462. SUPPER WITH SANTA. 6 - 7:30 p.m. Join the Aberdeen Parks and Recreation Department for a spaghetti dinner provided by Mac’s Breakfast Anytime, holiday crafts and the reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Each child will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have their picture taken. Cost: $8/residents; $10/nonresidents; $5/children 3 and under. Aberdeen Lake Park Recreation Station, US Hwy 1, Aberdeen. Info/RSVP: (910) 944-7275. CANDLELIGHT TOUR OF WEYMOUTH. 7 - 9 p.m. A delightful candlelight evening tour followed by wine and cheese. Cost: $25/person, reservations requested. Weymouth Center, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-6261.

December 3

CHILDREN’S TOUR OF WEYMOUTH & VISIT WITH SANTA. 8:30 - 10 a.m. Reservations required. Cost: $3; free for children under 3. Weymouth Center, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-6261. REINDEER FUN RUN. 9 a.m. The fifth Annual Reindeer Fun Run 5k Run/Walk is a community event with a goal of 2,500 participants, from serious runners to recreational walkers, families, pets and local businesses. Generate holiday cheer and help raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills, Inc. Race begins in Aberdeen. Info/Registration: SOUTHERN PINES CHRISTMAS PARADE. 10 a.m. Holiday fun for all. Historic district, Broad Street, Southern Pines. Info: CHRISTMAS FOR THE BIRDS AT TOWN CREEK. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Feed the birds, create homemade pinecone bird feeders and help decorate the trees with these festive “ornaments.” Donations welcome. Town Creek Indian Mound, 509 Town Creek Mound Rd., Mt. Gilead. Info: (910) 439-6802. CULINARY INSTRUCTION: Saturday Sampler. 12 p.m. “Appetizers for the Busy Host” with guest Amy Winstead. Includes demo, recipes tasting, beverage/spirits. Green Gate Gourmet, 105 Cherokee Rd., Pinehurst. Reservations/Info: (910) 986-2367. MEET THE ARTIST. 12 - 3 p.m. Jean Frey. Hollyhocks Art Gallery, 905 Linden Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 2550665 or CYPRESS BEND VINEYARDS CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE. 12 - 6 p.m. Live music, Christmas treats and wine. Free Admission. Cypress Bend Vineyards, 21904 Riverton Road, Wagram. Info: (910) 369-0411. MET OPERA IN HD. 12:30 - 4:45 p.m. Handel’s Rodelinda. Sensational in the 2004 Met premiere of Stephen Wadsworth’s much-heralded production, Renée Fleming reprises the title role. She’s joined by Stephanie Blythe and countertenor Andreas Scholl. Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts. Tickets: $25. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-8501 or

December 3 - 4

BRYANT HOUSE CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE. 1 - 4 p.m. Two historic houses decorated in traditional manner. Tours





PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



CA L E N DA R of the houses, crafters, musicians, refreshments and holiday cheer. Free. Sponsored by the Moore County Historical Association. Bryant House and McLendon Cabin, 3361 Mount Carmel Road, Carthage. Info: (910) 692-2051.

December 5

CHATHAM OPEN STUDIO TOUR. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free, self-guided tour featuring the works of 42 artists and a variety of media. Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro. Info:

December 4

EPISCOPAL DAY SCHOOL CANDLELIGHT TOUR OF HOMES. 1 - 6 p.m. Featuring a variety of homes from across the Southern Pines and Pinehurst area, each uniquely decorated for the holidays. Talented local musicians, singers, and chefs will also be highlighted in several of the residences. Tickets: $20, available at the door of each tour home or from Episcopal Day School (EDS) students, the EDS office, At Home, Nature’s Own, Cool Sweats, The Country Bookstore in Southern Pines. Info: EDS at (910) 692-3492. MOORE COUNTY CHORAL SOCIETY HOLIDAY CONCERT. 4 p.m. “Sounds of the Season.” Moore Brass, a brass quintet of local musicians, will join the chorus in a joyous start to the holiday season. Tickets: $15/adults; $7.50/students. Owens Auditorium, Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst. Tickets/Info: (910) 692-7683 or ENGLISH SPEAKING UNION. 6 p.m. Presenting wine connoisseur Arturo Ciompi. Country Club of North Carolina, Pinehurst. Membership/RSVP/Info: (910) 235-0635 or ROOSTER’S WIFE CONCERT. 6:46 p.m. Martha Bassett, Mike Compton, Laurleyn Dossett and Joe Newberry perform songs from “The Gathering.” Rooster’s Wife at Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St., Aberdeen. Info: (910) 944-7502 or Key: Art




PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ: Top Hat & Tails Benefit. 5:30 - 9 p.m. Evening includes Red Carpet Animal Parade, adoptable black & white cats and dogs, wine, catering by Elliott’s on Linden, silent auction, 50/50 and antique cars display. Fair Barn, Pinehurst. Tickets: $40 (reserved tables for 10 are $500); Tickets available at the Country Bookshop, Cared for Canine, Moore Equine, Dazzle, Faded Rose, Pawz Grooming, Sandhills Winery and via the AAMC website. Info: (910) 944-5098; Jan at (910) 673-2918; PHILADELPHIA BRASS QUARTET CONCERT. 7 p.m. Presented by Arts Council of Moore County. O’Neal School, Southern Pines. Tickets: $10/advace; $15/at door. Info: (910) 692-2787 or

December 6

CARTHAGE CHRISTMAS PARADE. 6 p.m. Tree lighting ceremony at the old courthouse, followed by the Christmas parade. Christmas parade with commercial and homemade floats, cars, bands, ROTC, Marine Color Guard and various other forms of entertainment. Monroe Street, Downtown Carthage. Info: (910) 947-2331. HOLLY & IVY DINNER. 6:30 p.m. An elegant five-course Christmas dinner in Pinehurst, circa 1920. Featuring dancing, flappers, bootleggers, gangsters, live jazz and celebrity ghosts of Christmas past. Hosted by Jim “Al Capone” Dodson. Menu by Chef Thierry Debailleul. Cost: $150/person. Benefits the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives. The Cardinal Ballroom, The Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst. Info/RSVP: (910) 235-8415 or

JAMES BOYD BOOK CLUB. 2 p.m. Reading from Charles Chestnutt’s The House Behind the Cedars with Weymouth Librarian Dotty Starling. Weymouth Center, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-6261 or

HOLIDAY PROGRAM AT THE LIBRARY. 7 p.m. Children PreK through grade 2 are invited to wear jammies and bring their favorite stuffed animals for stories, crafts and songs. Southern Pines Public Library, 170 W. Connecticut Ave. Info: (910) 692-8235 or

MEET THE AUTHOR. 6 p.m. Robert Ray Morgan, best known for his powerful fiction (Gap Creek, Brave Enemies), will discuss his latest work, the non-fiction Lions of the West. The author tells how Thomas Jefferson, president, naturalist and visionary, dreamed of a United States that would stretch from ocean to ocean. How that dream became reality unfolds in these stories of Jefferson and nine other Americans whose adventurous spirits and lust for land pushed American ever westward. The Country Bookshop, 140 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-3211 or

SUPER SENIOR FOUR-BALL TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS. Sponsored through the Carolinas Golf Association. Pinehurst No. 1. Info: (910) 673-1000.

FREE YOGA FOR PST VETS. 6 p.m. Yoga for retired veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No previous yoga experience necessary. Yoga Massage in the Sandhills, 5374 Niagara Carthage Rd., Southern Pines. Info: Mary Ann at (910) 949-2162. Literature/Speakers





December 6 - 9

ARTour TO NEW YORK CITY. Enjoy the holiday lights, decorations, shopping and shows; includes ticket to the newest Broadway musical hit, “The Book of Mormon” — recent winner of 9 Tony Awards. Call for availability. Info: (910) 692-2787 or

December 7

COALITION NATIVITY LUNCHEON. Featuring guest speaker Mike Yankoski, author of Under the Overpass.

CA L E N DA R Yankoski and fellow college student Sam Purvis lived on the streets for five months to gain perspective on homelessness, faith and Christianity in America. Luncheon also features nativities from around the world on display. Belle Meade at St. Joseph of the Pines. Tickets/Info: (910) 693-1600 or www. CULINARY INSTRUCTION & BOOK SIGNING. 12 - 4 p.m. Gourmet Burgers & Wine. Featuring owner Keith McDaniel as guest chef and Jeff Bramwell, author of Vino Burger. Includes gourmet burger paired with wine. Books available. Cost: $10. Green Gate Gourmet, 105 Cherokee Rd., Pinehurst. Reservations/Info: (910) 986-2367. CHILDREN’S STORY TIME. 1:30 p.m. Given Memorial Library, 150 Cherokee Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 295-6022. PRESCHOOL STORYTIME. 3:30 - 4 p.m. Bring infants and toddlers (ages birth through 5 years) for stories, songs and fun. Playtime follows. Southern Pines Public Library, 170 W. Connecticut Ave. Info: (910) 692-8235 or ROOSTER’S WIFE CONCERT. 6:46 p.m. Featuring Soldier Stories. Rooster’s Wife at Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St., Aberdeen. Info: (910) 944-7502 or LUNCH & LEARN. 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Enjoy a complimentary lunch and goodie bag while learning why “The Eyes Have It.” The Laser Institute of Pinehurst, 80 Aviemore Court, Suite A. Info: (910) 295-1130 or


CHRISTMAS HORSE CARRIAGE PARADE. 1 p.m. The Moore County Driving Club decorates their horses and carriages for Christmas and drives them through the historic district in downtown Southern Pines. Broad Street, Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-0943.

December 9

JAZZY FRIDAYS. 7 - 10 p.m. Live jazz music and hors d’oeuvres, rain or shine. Admission: $10. Cypress Bend Vineyards & Winery, Riverton Road, Wagram. Info: (910) 369-0411.

December 9-11

SHAW HOUSE HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE. 1 - 4 p.m. Celebrate the holidays with native greenery, 19th century decorations and refreshments by the Moore County Historical Association. Historic Shaw House, Britt Sanders Cabin and Garner House. Free event. Morganton Road & SW Broad Street, Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-2051.

THE MET LIVE IN HD. 1 p.m. Gounod’s Faust. With Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, René Pape as the devil, and Angela Gheorghiu as Marguerite, Gounod’s classic retelling of the Faust legend couldn’t be better served. Tickets: $25. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-8501 or

OLDIES & GOODIES FILM. 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. A film based on the novel by Charles Dickens about a humble Dance/Theater

ART GALLERY OPENING RECEPTION. 5 - 9 p.m. “Elements of Art” features the works of PineStraw’s December 2011 cover artist Meridith Martens. Gallery will be open Dec. 9 - 11 from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Empty Stocking Fund of Moore County. The Razooks Building, 105 Chinquapin Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 692-9989.

MEET THE ARTIST. 12 - 3 p.m. Diane Kraudelt. Hollyhocks Art Gallery, 905 Linden Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 255-0665 or

December 8


AN EARLY AMERICAN CHRISTMAS AT MALCOLM BLUE FARM. 1 - 4 p.m. Experience Christmas through an 18th century child’s eyes. Admission Fee. Malcolm Blue Farm, Hwy. 5 South (Bethesda Rd.), Aberdeen. Info: (910) 944-7558.

December 10

CURRY NIGHT. An exploration of a most enigmatic dish. Dinner served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Sly Fox Pub, 795 SW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 725-1621.

Key: Art

orphan who suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor. The 1946 drama features John Mills and Jean Simmons and was directed by David Lean. Includes complimentary cup of tea. Southern Pines Public Library, 170 W. Connecticut Ave. Info: (910) 692-8235 or




ONE-DAY TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS. Sponsored through the Carolinas Golf Association. Pinehurst No. 1. Info: (910) 673-1000. EQUINE BREEDING SEMINAR. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free seminar presented by the NC State Equine Health Center. Space is limited. Reserve seat by Dec. 5. Location: 6045 US Hwy 1, N., Southern Pines. Info/RSVP: (910) 692-8773.

December 10 - 11

CHATHAM OPEN STUDIO TOUR. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free, self-guided tour featuring the works of 42 artists and a variety of media. Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro. Info:

December 11

ONE-DAY FOUR-BALL TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS. Sponsored through the Carolinas Golf Association. Pinehurst No. 5. Info: (910) 673-1000. ROOSTER’S WIFE CONCERT. 6:46 p.m. The Fairwell Drifters and Tommy Edwards. Rooster’s Wife at Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St., Aberdeen. Info: (910) 944-7502 or


Worship Directory Our Saviour Lutheran Church Christmas Season Events

Dec. 9 at 7:30 Christmas Concert - Handel’s Messiah (Part 1 & Hallelujah Chorus) & Other Seasonal Selections

Performed by The Choirs of Our Saviour Lutheran Church, the United Choirs of Rockingham, Guest Soloists and the Chorus and Chamber Ensemble of Trinity Music Academy

Christmas Eve 4 PM – Children’s Service 6 PM & 10:30 PM – Candlelight Service with Holy Communion (Music Begins 20 Minutes Prior to Worship) Christmas Day 10 AM – Service of the Word with Holy Communion 1517 Luther Way • Southern Pines • 910-692-2662 •

Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church Celebrating 75 Years in the Presbyterian Tradition

330 South May St. • Southern Pines, NC 28387 • (910) 692-6252

Advent and Christmas Services: Advent Fair ~ Dec. 4, 10 AM Kirkin O’ the Tartans ~ Dec. 4, 11:10 AM Silent Night Service of Healing and Hope ~ Dec. 14, 5 PM Special Music Service ~ Dec. 18, 8:45 & 11:10 AM Christmas Eve – 3 Services: 4 PM Angels & Shepherds Family Service 6 PM Communion, Candlelight Service • 9 PM Lessons & Carols, Candlelight Service Christmas Day ~ One Service 10:30AM • New Year’s Day ~ One Service 10:30AM Brownson welcomes you to join our vibrant, growing community of faith!

EMMANUEL EPISCOPAL CHURCH 350 East Massachusetts Avenue Southern Pines, NC 28387 (910) 692-3171 •

Christmas Eve: 2:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. Children’s Christmas Pageant/Holy Eucharist 6:30 p.m. Family Service/Holy Eucharist 10:30 p.m. Midnight Service/HolyEucharist Christmas Day: 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist

The First Baptist Church of Southern Pines Southern Pines United Methodist Church

175 Midland Road • 692-3518 • Join us for worship Sundays 8:30 am Praise & Worship (Nursery for all services & programs) 11 am Traditional Worship Celebrate Christmas with us! Dec. 11th Cantata (with orchestra) 8:30 & 11 am Dec. 18th “Night at Bethlehem” 5 – 7 pm

A Hands-on Holy Land Experience with live animals (reservations by Dec. 1st)

Dec. 24th Christmas Eve Service 5:30 pm Dec. 25th Christmas Day 10 am

A Children’s Christmas Musical and Drama Saturday, December 10th - 6:30 PM Sunday, December 11th - 6:30 PM Yates Thagard Baptist Church 3820 Vass Carthage Rd, Carthage NC 910-9493511


invites you to celebrate Christmas with us

Wednesday, December 14th at 6:30pm One Voice and JuBELLation “Christmas Tidings” Sunday, December 18th at 7:00pm The Sanctuary Choir “Sounds of the Season” Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 5:00pm Christmas Eve Communion 7:00pm 200 East New York Ave • (910) 692-8750 •


You are invited to celebrate with us Sunday, December 11th • 11 am - Worship Service Sunday, December 18th • 11 am Worship Service Christmas music program CHRISTMAS EVE: Communion & Candlelight Worship Service 7 pm with Special Music CHRISTMAS DAY: Worship Service 11 am with Scripture Readings The Rev. Dr. Walter R. Patten, Minister 141 N. Bennett St., Southern Pines, NC 28287 - (910) 692-8468

December 2011 P��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

CA L E N DA R houses, enjoy free pizza and play reindeer games in their tackiest yuletide duds. Southern Pines Public Library, 170 W. Connecticut Ave. Info: (910) 692-8235 or

December 13

ARTour to REMBRANDT EXHIBIT. Rembrandt exhibit, Paintings in America at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Call for availability. Info: (910) 692-2787 or AFTERNOON TEA WITH THE VICTORIAN LADY. 2:30 p.m. Mitzi Underwood will share how Christmas was celebrated in Victorian times. Dress up for this festive occasion. Cost: $25 (includes party favors and door prizes). Lady Bedford’s Tea Parlour, 21 Chinquapin Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 255-0100.

December 13 - 14

MEET THE ARTIST. 12 - 3 p.m. Jane Casnellie. Hollyhocks Art Gallery, 905 Linden Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 255-0665 or

December 14

CHILDREN’S STORY TIME. 1:30 p.m. Given Memorial Library, 150 Cherokee Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 295-6022. PRESCHOOL STORYTIME. 3:30 - 4 p.m. Bring infants and toddlers (ages birth through 5 years) for stories, songs and fun. Playtime follows. Southern Pines Public Library, 170 W. Connecticut Ave. Info: (910) 692-8235 or




December 18

December 17

SENIOR FOUR-BALL TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS. Sponsored through the Carolinas Golf Association. Pinehurst No. 3 and No. 5. Info: (910) 673-1000.

Key: Art

December 14 - 18

MOORE ON STAGE PRODUCTION. “A Tuna Christmas.” Dec. 14, 15, 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. “A Tuna Christmas” is the second in a series of comedic plays (Greater Tuna, Red, White and Tuna and Tuna Does Vegas), each set in the fictional town of Tuna Texas, the “third smallest” town in the state. This play centers on the town’s annual Christmas Yard Display Contest. A mysterious “Christmas Phantom” threatens to throw the contest into turmoil. Sunrise Theater, Broad Street, Southern Pines. Tickets/Info: (910) 692-7118 or

FREE YOGA FOR PST VETS. 6 p.m. Yoga for retired veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No previous yoga experience necessary. Yoga Massage in the Sandhills, 5374 Niagara Carthage Rd., Southern Pines. Info: Mary Ann at (910) 949-2162.

UGLY HOLIDAY SWEATER PARTY. 6 - 7 p.m. High School students are invited to make mini gingerbread

CURRY NIGHT. An exploration of a most enigmatic dish. Dinner served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Sly Fox Pub, 795 SW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 725-1621.

FRED ASTAIRE CHRISTMAS SHOW. 3 & 7 p.m. Fred Astaire Dance Studio presents “Christmas Around the World.” Ticket: $10/kids; $15/adults. Discounts ($1 off) available with toy donation to Moore Buddies. Open House at Fred Astaire Dance Studio follows evening show. O’neal School Theater, 3300 Airport Rd., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 295-1106 or Debbie at (910) 585-2572.

TEA WITH MRS. CLAUS. 2:30 p.m. Children are invited to dress up for tea and story time with Mrs. Claus. Bring letters for Santa and camera. Cost: $12. Lady Bedford’s Tea Parlour, 21 Chinquapin Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 255-0100. ASTRONOMY NIGHT AT TOWN CREEK. 6 - 10 p.m. View the stars at one of the last great dark sky sites in the Piedmont. Binoculars and telescopes encouraged. Site telescope available. Town Creek Indian Mound, 509 Town Creek Mound Rd., Mt. Gilead. Info/RSVP: (910) 439-6802.




MOORE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA ANNUAL WINTER CONCERT. 3 p.m. Free event. Grand Ballroom, Pinehurst Hotel. Info: CAROLINA PHILHARMONIC PINEHURST POPS SERIES. 4 p.m. “Handel’s Messiah.” Maestro David Michael Wolff will conduct The Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus. Tickets: $25/general; $50/priority and reserved seating. Robert E. Lee Auditorium, Pinecrest High School, Southern Pines. Info:

December 20

FREE YOGA FOR PST VETS. 6 p.m. Yoga for retired veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No previous yoga experience necessary. Yoga Massage in the Sandhills, 5374 Niagara Carthage Rd., Southern Pines. Info: Mary Ann at (910) 949-2162.

December 21

CHILDREN’S STORY TIME. 1:30 p.m. Given Memorial Library, 150 Cherokee Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 295-6022. CURRY NIGHT. An exploration of a most enigmatic dish. Dinner served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Sly Fox Pub, 795 SW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 725-1621.


We protect the historic Market House.

Auction, Estate Settlement & Appraisal Services

With Fidelity And Dispatch

Shouldn’t we protect your house, too??

A Sampling from our December 2 & 3, 2011 Two Day Winter Estate Catalogued Auction

Lot 4064 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

Lot 314 Anthony Thieme (MA, 1888 - 1954)

Lot 391 Platinum and Diamond Bracelet

919.644.1243 NCFL #7452

• Burglar Alarms • Fire Alarms • Camera Systems • Access Systems • Central Vacuum Systems • 24 Hour Local U.L. Monitoring Station

Lot 359 1977 Rolls Royce


620 Cornerstone Ct., Hillsborough, NC 27278

127 Hay Street Fayetteville, NC 28301 (910) 483-1196

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .December 2011



December 23

FREE CHRISTMAS SHOWING. 6:30 p.m. The Polar Express. The story of a young hero boy who boards a magical train headed to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 692-8501 or JAZZY FRIDAYS. 7 - 10 p.m. Live jazz music and hors d’oeuvres, rain or shine. Admission: $10. Cypress Bend Vineyards & Winery, Riverton Road, Wagram. Info: (910) 369-0411.

December 27

FREE YOGA FOR PST VETS. 6 p.m. Yoga for retired veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No previous yoga experience necessary. Yoga Massage in the Sandhills, 5374 Niagara Carthage Rd., Southern Pines. Info: Mary Ann at (910) 949-2162.

December 27 - 29

DONALD ROSS JR. CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF TOURNAMENT. Boys only, Maximum age 17. Pinehurst Resort. One Carolina Vista, Pinehurst. Info: (910) 235-8140.

December 28

CHILDREN’S STORY TIME. 1:30 p.m. Given Memorial Library, 150 Cherokee Rd., Pinehurst. Info: (910) 295-6022. CURRY NIGHT. An exploration of a most enigmatic dish. Dinner served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Sly Fox Pub, 795 SW Broad St., Southern Pines. Info: (910) 725-1621.

Key: Art




December 30

FATHER AND SON GOLF TOURNAMENT. Held on No. 8, Pinehurst Resort. One Carolina Vista, Pinehurst. Info: (910) 235-8140.

December 31

FIRST EVE. 6 - 8:30 p.m. Activities and entertainment for the whole family along Broad Street, Downtown Southern Pines. The “pinecone drop” will be at 8:30 p.m. Free. Historic downtown Southern Pines. Info: (910) 693-2508. PINEHURST RESORT NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION. Celebrate the year that was and the year that will be with gourmet dining, live music by The Band of Oz and a champagne toast at midnight. Then kick off the New Year with an overflowing breakfast buffet. Pinehurst Resort, Carolina Vista, Pinehurst. Info/RSVP: (800) 487-4653.

Art Galleries

BROADHURST GALLERY, 2212 Midland Rd., Pinehurst, showcases works by nationally recognized artists such as Louis St. Lewis, Lula Smith, Shawn Morin, Rachel Clearfield, Judy Cox and Jason Craighead. Meet-the-artist opportunities are available. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturday, 1-4 p.m. (910) 295-4817, ART NUTZ AND RAVEN POTTERY, 125 SW Broad St., Southern Pines. Come see the potter at work. Features art, local pottery from many potters, handmade jewelry, glass and more. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (910) 695-1555, ARTIST ALLEY features juried art and fine crafts from local and regional artists, 167 E. New Hampshire Ave., Southern Pines. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday. (910) 692-6077. Literature/Speakers



ARTISTS LEAGUE OF THE SANDHILLS, located at 129 Exchange St. in historic Aberdeen. Exhibit hours are noon - 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday. (910) 944-3979. THE CAMPBELL HOUSE GALLERIES, 482 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines, is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and every third weekend of the month from 2-4 p.m. (910) 692-4356, THE GALLERY AT SEVEN LAKES, a gallery dedicated to local artists. The Gallery is open on Wednesday and Thursday each week from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 1145 Seven Lakes Drive, The St. Mary Magdalen building. Just 9 miles from the Pinehurst Traffic Circle up 211. HASTINGS GALLERY is located in the Katharine L. Boyd Library at Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst. Gallery hours are 7:45 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 7:45 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday; and 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday. HOLLYHOCKS ART GALLERY, 905 Linden Road, Pinehurst, features original artwork by local artists Diane Kraudelt, Carol Rotter, Mary Frey, Jean Frost, Morgen Kilbourn and artist/owner Jane Casnellie. Meet the Artists, Saturdays, Noon to 3 p.m. Open Monday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. (910) 255-0665, THE OLD SILK ROUTE, 113 West Main St., Aberdeen specializes in Asian original art, including silk paintings, tapestries, Buddhist Thangkas and Indian paper miniatures. Open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (910) 295-2055. SEAGROVE CANDLE COMPANY, 116 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines, showcases the arts and crafts of the Sandhills and Seagrove area. Open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday-Saturday. (910) 695-0029.


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December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

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CA L E N DA R SKY ART GALLERY, 602 Magnolia Dr., Aberdeen, is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. (910) 944-9440, STUDIO 590, located in a historic log cabin, is the working studio and gallery of artists Betty DiBartolomeo and Harry Neely. Studio 590 offers fine oil paintings, commissions and instruction. Studio 590 is located by the pond in the Dowd Cabin, 590 Dowd Circle in Pinehurst South. (910) 639-9404. WHITE HILL GALLERY, 407 U.S. 15-501, Carthage, offers a variety of pottery. (910) 947-6100. THE DOWNTOWN GALLERY (inside Flynne’s Coffee Bar) is located at 115 NE Broad St. in downtown Southern Pines. Ever-changing array of local and regional art, pottery and other handmade items. (910) 693-1999. LADY BEDFORD’S TEA PARLOUR, located at 25 Chinquapin Road in Pinehurst, is featuring local artist Nancy Campbell. Original oil and watercolor paintings are on display inside the tea shop. Open Tuesday - Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (910) 255-0100,

Nature Centers

SANDHILLS HORTICULTURAL GARDENS (32 acres of gardens). The Sandhills Horticultural Gardens are handicapped-accessible. Daylight hours year-round. (910) 695-3882. WEYMOUTH WOODS SANDHILLS NATURE PRESERVE (898 acres). 1024 Ft. Bragg Road, Southern Pines. (910) 692-2167. VILLAGE ABORETUM. 35 acres of land adjoining the Village Hall on Magnolia Road, Pinehurst. (910) 295-1900.


Historical Sites

BETHESDA CHURCH AND CEMETERY. Guided tours for groups by appointment. 1020 Bethesda Road, Aberdeen. (910) 944-1319. BRYANT HOUSE AND MCLENDON CABIN. Tours by appointment. (910) 692-2051 or (910) 673-0908. CARTHAGE HISTORICAL MUSEUM. Sundays, 2-5 p.m. or by appointment. Located at Rockingham and Saunders streets, Carthage. (910) 947-2331. HOUSE IN THE HORSESHOE. Open year-round. Hours vary. 288 Alston House Road (10 miles north of Carthage), Sanford. (910) 947-2051. MALCOLM BLUE FARM AND MUSEUM. 1-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Group tours can be arranged by appointment. (910) 944-7558 or (910) 603-2739. NORTH CAROLINA LITERARY HALL OF FAME. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday-Friday, at the Weymouth Center for Arts and Humanities, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. (910) 692-6261. SHAW HOUSE PROPERTY. Open 1-4 p.m. TuesdayFriday. (910) 692-2051. TUFTS ARCHIVES. 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Saturday. (910) 295-3642. UNION STATION. Open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Located in downtown Aberdeen. (910) 944-5902. SANDHILLS WOMAN’S EXCHANGE LOG CABIN Open 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. (910) 295-4677 To add an event, send us an e-mail at pinestraw@thepilot. com by the first of the month prior to the event.

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Christmas in Cancun

An iguana named Whitman, Montezuma’s Revenge, and a visit with the policia

By Geoff Cutler


eems like this would have been back in the early ’80s. None of the kids were married yet, and Brooke’s (now my wife) father was always coming up with wonderful vacation destinations for the whole family. On this particular occasion, he thought it might be amusing to take everyone to Cancun for Christmas. This thrilled Brooke’s mother no end, even though she’d long been divorced from Brooke’s father. A minor detail. Of little consequence, really. Suffice it to say, her parents softened the blow of divorce by remarrying mutual friends. It seemed pointless to break up what might simply become a larger family. Instead of just two parents, the kids ended up with four. What could be better? When we finally tied the knot, both father and stepfather escorted Brooke down the aisle. Vacations and holidays are no different. Everyone goes. Of an archeological/culinary bent, Brooke’s mom saw this trip as the perfect opportunity to visit the Mayan pyramids in Tulum, and somewhere along the way, experience “authentic” Mexican food. She set to planning a daylong itinerary for us, no doubt dreaming of out-of-way fishing village delicacies, while her ex-husband contacted a travel agent for airline tickets. We flew in from everywhere, Washington, Boston, New York, all our planes arriving at roughly the same time, and were shuttled off to our resort, the Villas Tacul. Back then, Cancun appeared to be in the throes of extreme renaissance. Half-built deluxe hotels lined both sides of the beachside highway. It was like driving through a war zone as our three cabs and luggage bounced over the rubble and through the dirt and grime of unkempt demolition and re-construction. Apparently, not even the slightest consideration was given to sweeping while building. Brooke’s dad, gazing out the window of the car, looked horrified. His newer bride, looking equally crestfallen, asked of our driver, “Where are the shops? I haven’t bought any Christmas presents yet.” Deposited at our destination, we were relieved to find our accommodations absolutely lovely. Four connected cabanas around a centrally located and open living space, complete with staff, and right on the ocean. We were thrilled. Who knows where we’d landed, but clearly, Villas Tacul must have been an older resort of established clientele who patronized the place enough so that there was no need to tear it down and build anew. We spent the first couple of days adjusting to our Mexican paradise. We learned about Huevos Revoltos, which our kitchen staff prepared each morning. Two pounds of bacon chopped fine, dropped into a sizzling pot and drained of fat once cooked. A couple of dozen eggs then added with a mound of peppers and on-

ions and other spices, cooked on high till the eggs were done. Unbelievably tasty! We learned that ice for chilled wine and cocktails presented a bit of a conundrum for our hosts, but we were finally able to make them understand we needed coolers full and topped up on an hourly basis. We discovered our beach and the armed soldiers who patrolled it each morning. Never could figure out what they were up to — perhaps the Mexican answer to our own Coast Guard. And, in the rocks above our beach, we befriended a giant iguana and named it after Brooke’s sister, Whitman, because she was the only child who couldn’t make the trip. And then the big day arrived for our outing to Tulum. A church-sized van was dropped off for our use, and ten of us climbed aboard. I drove, and somehow, Brooke’s dad, we call him Poppy, ended up in the rear-most seating. This was a bad spot for him as he was coming down with the first stirrings of Montezuma’s Revenge. The two lane highway to Tulum was only partially paved. Every bump brought a moan from our nether reaches. As we pulled into the parking lot of the ruins, howls of laughter broke out, for it was filled to capacity with smoking buses and knick-knack shacks. We climbed down out of the van into a fog of diesel smoke, so black and oily it was hard to breathe. Why no one thought to ask the drivers of these broken-down contraptions to please shut them off, we beat it as fast as we could to climb the pyramids. Pretty cool, and thankfully, the wind seemed to be blowing the diesel fumes in another direction. No one saw any reason to tarry at this Mexican answer to Coney Island, so we blew some cash on sombreros and postcards, and skedaddled out of there to meet our reservations at the restaurant Brooke’s biological mother had found for us. As luck would have it, “restaurant” was perhaps too charitable a word to describe where we ended up for “authentic” Mexican cuisine. We turned off into the woods on a dirt track which led up to an oceanside and ramshackle farm with goats and chickens scattering out of the way of our oncoming van. The proprietors met us at the door, a typical indigenous family with children peeking out from every nook and cranny, and we sat down on overturned crates and boxes at tables of pieced together cardboard and other scrap material. We were offered a choice of chicken, goat or fish. When Brooke’s dad looked out the windowless window to see one of the chickens getting its neck wrung, and then its head whacked off with a cleaver, it sent him in a mad dash for the restaurant’s facilities, a doorless outhouse in the backyard. Upon his return, now as white as a ghost, and legs covered in blood, he announced that the chickens had attacked him as he sat, and that we were leaving immediately. Two more quick anecdotes from this Mexican adventure and it’s time to wrap up this article. Brooke and I returned to the States Christmas Day to be with my family. We boarded the 747 and found our seats after a long walk to the rear. When literally no one else got on the plane, a very kind flight attendant came and invited us to sit in first class. It’s not often one gets to fly in his and her own jumbo jet. Lots of leg room and plenty of free champagne. Meanwhile, back in Cancun, the rest of the family, out in the van on some type of Christmas Day errand, got in a collision. Taken to a police station to file lengthy reports, after an hour or so, and no attention given to them by the proper authorities, they got up and left, abandoning the crinkled van outside the station. Nobody cared, and they fled the country shortly thereafter. Merry Christmas from the Man Shed! PS Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines. He is a regular contributor to both The Pilot and PineStraw. He can be reached at

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



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(Nov . 23 - Dec . 21) When Mars jars your preserves on the 2nd, consider putting that hunk of energy to good use, like into a productive project of sorts . Otherwise, well, double double toil and trouble, Toots . And I don’t think you need me to spell that out for you . When Mercury goes retrograde on the 4th, hold your tongue before you go raisin’ Cain . I swan, handling things with grace is a gift that don’t come natural to you . But things will start looking up toward the end of the month . Until then, I’d sooner be a lamppost in Chicago than be in your shoes . And that’s the gospel truth .






Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 20)

Holy canola oil, Child. Darned if you aren’t as ornery as a teething tot with nothing to chew on. Just remember, it’s all about perspective, Poopsy. Bad ain’t good until worse happens. Lucky for you — and for those still able to stand you — Venus will have you grinning like a goat in a briar patch on the 5th. And when Saturn enters your sign on the 18th, life will be sweeter than Mama’s candied yams. Alas, Hon. Danger and delight grow on the same stalk.

Aquarius (Jan. 21 - Feb. 19)

My ex-husband — twice removed — used to say bed is the poor man’s opera. I say he’s full of bologna. But the jackhole had a point. Venus will have you itching to indulge this month. Do yourself a favor and avoid excess. Otherwise, well, don’t go barefoot when you scatter thorns! And though you’d sooner sniff glue than make a decision on the 10th, buck up and face the music, Dollface. You know what they say, God will give you the nuts, but it’s up to you to crack ‘em.


Pisces (Feb. 20 - March 20)

Well kick my bucket, Bumpkin. You’re in for a month that’s hairier than Uncle Larry’s barred soap. The stars will start stirring up trouble for you on the 1st, but that don’t mean you’ve got to get your skivvies in a twist. That’s like squatting with spurs on. Bite your tongue on the 10th to keep from hurting someone you love. Sometimes the best armor is simply staying out of range. The Winter Solstice will have you feeling fresher than Alaskan salmon by the month’s end. But don’t shake the tree when the pears fall off themselves.

Aries (March 21 - April 20)


Sweet Sassy Molassy, Pickle Bottom. Things are looking chancier than scrapple pie this month. Turn whine into mortar on Dec. 5 if you know what’s good for you. And if you want your eggs hatched, you’d better sit on them yourself. A lunar eclipse on the 10th will have you itchier than Grandpa’s scalp to kick an old habit to the curb. Higgity Piggity, Poopsy. Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out. Let bygones be bygones by the grace of the Winter Solstice. That said, peace, love and turtledoves, Toots.

Taurus (April 21 - May 21)


Well butter my bourbon biscuit. Hate to break it to you, Child (but not really), the dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread. Bless your pea picking heart. You act like you hung the doggone moon. On the 11th, feed your head with a little something called knowledge, Sweetheart. Innovation breeds innovation, after all. And if you’re hoping to muster up a plan to expand your realms, you’re not going to find it in a box of bran flakes. He who knows little quickly tells it.

Gemini (May 22 - June 21)


I’ll be a chunky knuckle. Love and eggs are best when fresh. But excuses stink no matter what. When Venus has you grumpier than Ebenezer on the 1st, do everyone else a favor and practice a little cotton-picking patience. Like Mama would say, “Better a mouse in the pot than no meat at all.” In the middle of the month, you’ll feel like tossing caution to the wind and jumping into new endeavors. Do it to it, Sweetheart. Whatever it takes to hoist you out of that wagon rut.

Cancer (June 22 - July 23)

Punch my dough. Emotions are a funny thing — and a full cup must be carried steadily. That said, you’re in for a month that’s richer than Aunt Martha’s Moravian sugar cake (and hotter than Neese’s sausage)! Don’t worry so much about the future, Toots. And when Venus tries whisking you away from your routine on the 20th, roll with it — for Pete’s sake, if not your own! You can measure a thousand times. But you can only cut once.

Leo (July 23 - Aug. 23)

Heavens to Betsey Johnson. If you want your dreams to come true, Pumpkin, don’t sleep. (And since you’re wound tighter than a two-dollar watch, I presume you’re in for a month that’s busier than a stump-tailed calf at fly time.) Jupiter may have you itching to stretch yourself too thin on the 8th, and when the fox preaches on the 20th, for heaven’s sake Child, look to the geese! Oh, and fear not a jest on the 29th, Bean Stalk. If one throws salt at you, the only thing that can harm you is a sore place.

Virgo (Aug. 24 - Sept. 23)


Jack Sprat could eat no fat. He could kiss my dumplings, though. When you feel you’ve bitten off more than you can chew this month, be sure to make the time to delight in life’s simple pleasures. Just don’t speak of rhinos when there’s no tree around. The full moon eclipse on the 10th will cause you to take a step back and evaluate the mayhem you call a routine. Just remember, if you can’t get what you love, love what’s in your reach.


Libra (Sept. 24 - Oct. 23)

In calm water, every ship has a good captain. Unlucky for you, this month is liable to be choppier than a Vince Offer infomercial. Although you’d sooner pickle paint chips than make a decision on the 1st, hemming and hawing will only prove a further setback. On the 7th, speak of the devil and he appears. And if you can learn to show a little cottonpicking humility on the 11th, you’ll find life to be a lot more palatable. If not, well, add a little pepper and suck it up, Sugar Britches.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 - Nov. 22)


They say distance makes the heart grow fonder. I say yada yada. Lord knows it’s tougher than a twodollar steak. When Mercury goes retrograde on the 4th, you’ll find the words to say but no time to say ’em. C’est bien, Poopsy. If it ain’t madness, it ain’t love. When the Winter Solstice sparks some hefty changes on the 22nd, don’t throw away the old bucket lest you know the new one works. And on the 24th, fish or cut the bait, Sweetheart. Oh, and if there is no wind, row. PS

Astrid Stellanova, 58, owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in Windblow, NC, for many years until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings opened up a new career path. Feel free to contact Astrid for insights on your personal stars or hair advice for any occasion at

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011


New Construction, Remodeling and Additions

Best Single Family Detached Home NC Home Builders STAR AWARD Certified Green Home Pinehurst Homes Builds Green and Wins Awards!!! CERTIFIED GREEN PROFESSIONAL™



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December PineNeedler SING! SING! 1















3 Roman emperor

1 Drench 4 Gets bigger 2 Broadstreet need Concord e.g. 5 Bakery 17 18 19 3 Roman emperor 6 SC Beach 20 21 22 23 4 Gets bigger7 Asian nation 5 Concorde,8e.g. Breath mint 24 25 26 27 6 SC beach 9 Youngs Road food 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 7 Asian nation 10 Chest wood 36 37 38 39 8 Breath mint 11 Banister 9 Youngs Road food 40 41 for example 12 Bermuda, 10 Chest wood Strap 13 42 43 44 45 46 11 Banister21 Arc builder 47 48 49 50 51 12 Bermuda, Urn 23 e.g. 52 53 54 13 Strap 25 Possessive pronoun 21 Ark builder 27 Popular president's initials 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 23 Urn 28 Aloft 64 65 66 67 25 Possessive Isolated person 29 pronoun 68 69 70 27 Popular30 president’s Money initials 28 Aloft 33 Visitor 71 72 73 San Antonio battle site. 29 Isolated34 person Remember. 30 Money 42 Rodents ACROSS What broke the camel's back 35 33 Visitor 45 Blood 45 Blood part part 1ACROSS It came upon a midnight clear, Jewel 37 34 San Antonio battle site. poetically 47 Before, 47 Before, poetically that glorious____ Remember. Health hotel 39 Baby bear a midnight clear,48 Baby 48 bear 1 It came upon 5 Metalworker, or common last name 35 What broke the camel’s back Chilled 43 that in glorious____.... 50 America 50 America 10 Away a manger no____ 37 Jewel Catholic sister 44 Metalworker, or common last 51 Pull 51 Pull 145Completed 39 Health hotel 45 sound made for "hey, you" DNA component name 52 component 52 DNA 15 Asian country 43 Chilled 46 Whip Fort ailment, Bragg ailment,ie Away in a manger no______.....53 Fort 53Bragg 10Relieve e.g. (abbr)(abv) 16 44 Catholic Honked 49sister Completed Silent Holy night. HolyAll night. 55 night. 14Air 55 Silent night. is All is 17 (prefix) 45 Sound made for “hey,ofyou” downside 50 Opposite Asian country All is bright. 15Movie calm.calm. All is bright. ____ ______........ 18 character Dick 46 Whip Garden ornament 52 of or dawn, VW auto Relieve 16Pickle 58 Goddess 58 Goddess of dawn, VW or auto 19 herb Air (prefix) Joyworld, to thethe world, the lord 49 is Honked54 Coffee shop order 60 17 60 Joy to the lord is 20 Famous 50 Opposite downside 55ofRodents come.come. Let earth her Letreceive earth receive her 18 Movie character Dick 22 Dynamite 52 Garden ornament King! Let every ____ 56 Margarine King! Let every ______.... 19 Pickle herb 23 Manservant 54 Coffee shop order 64 Too 57 Druggie 20 Famous 64 Too 24 Dirt 55 Rodents 65 Stoneybrook month 59 Spoken 65 Stoneybrook month 22 Dynamite 26 Not near 56 Margarine 67 Pottery make-up 61 Like a wing make-up 67 Pottery 23 Manservant 28 Entire 57 Druggie62 Unusual 68 Swarm 68 Swarm 24 Dirt 31 Dined 59 Spoken63 Use a keyboard 69 Pencil Pencil tips 69 tips 26 Not near 32 Disks 61 Like a wing 70 Elderly group (abbr) 65 Boxer Muhammad group (abv) 28 Entire 70 Elderly 33 Car fuel 62 Unusual66 Acid drug 71 Aching 31 Dined 71 Aching 36 Deck the halls with____ 63 Use a keyboard 72 Left72outLeft of gear out of gear 32 Disks 38 Consequence 65 Boxer Muhammad 73 Gratis 33 Car fuel 73 Gratis 40 Fairy tale opener 66 Acid drug 36 Deck the halls with_______.... 41 ...and a partridge in a ____ 14

38 40 41 42


3 4 8



Consequence Fairy tale opener ...and a partridge in a ___... Rodents


6 1


1 Drench 2 Broadstreet Bakery need


9 7

1 8 5 9

3 6



3 4 2 4 7 5


Fill in the grid so every row, every column and every 3x3 box contain the numbers 1-9. Puzzle answers on page 96

Mart Dickerson lives in Soiuthern Pines and would welcome any suggestions from her fellow puzzle masters. She can be reached at

PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 2011



Season’s Greetings These homemade cards tell my life’s story . Luckily the kids will be home for Christmas

By Sue PACe


s a graphic designer for the past twenty-five years, I have always put enormous pressure on myself to create a cleverly designed Christmas card. In 1990, new motherhood only propelled my creative angst into overdrive in pursuit of a photo to show off my perfect family. I soon learned I had about as much chance achieving that goal as I would spotting ol’ Saint Nick himself sliding down our chimney. I had received holiday cards from friends, family and old roommates who started this mess. You know, the ones with daughters in velveteen dresses, sons in wide wale corduroy pants and tucked-in shirts, nestled in a holiday setting beaming as if Rudolph himself had taken the photo. I had beautiful kids — this would be no problem. So, each November would arrive and my mind would rev up like a little rodent on a wheel. With camera in hand, kids dressed in carefully picked-out clothes, I was always determined this would be the year of perfection. Then it would start. Kids would fight. I’d take a deep breath. One kid would smile. One kid would pout. I would digress. One kid would cross his eyes (not saying who, Dennis). The other would notice a squirrel (that leaves you, Charlie). I’m tense. One kid would make the other cry (still not saying who, Dennis). I’d now be reduced to an expletive-filled rant about looking happy — just once, dammit, for Mommy — along with the realization that if I got the chocolate Pop-Tart wiped off their faces, I should be happy. Over the years some of my cards were serious. Most were not. I’ve never done a holiday letter. With no disrespect to those who do, and I enjoy getting them, I never felt good about writing one. Holiday letters always seem to focus on family accomplishments of the past year. Instead, I gravitated to the flaws in my own life, perhaps because there was so much more material to inspire me. Some of my favorite cards/photos include: 1990: Dennis (almost one) chubby, adorable, looking pensive holding a teddy bear — ‘tis the season for miracles. He had been born three months premature weighing three pounds. 1991: Dennis stomping on the coffee table screaming “HO! HO! HO!” — Holy (Moly) Night! 1992: Dennis and Santa holding Charlie hostage — All Charlie wants for Christmas is her two front teeth. 1997: Dennis and Charlie in the snow — Legos...$100. American Girl doll...$120. An early snowfall for the Christmas card photo...priceless. This opportunity had me yanking Charlie abruptly from a kid’s birthday party and racing back home with her clutching her seat belt asking, “Why the rush, Mommy?” “Gotta get the photo. When does it ever snow in November?” I retorted. Then ten years later my first husband decided he needed a change in scenery. Unexpectedly, our happy family became profoundly broken. My kids and I moved twenty miles down the road to a little horse farm that summer. The property had sat idle for a while. Desperately in need of repair — both the house and the humans — we started over. By the time Christmas rolled


around we were getting into our new groove. I thought about the impending holiday card. I dreaded the ones I’d be receiving. Happy friends celebrating many years of marriage with trips to far away places. Promotions. New homes. Overachieving children. As far as we had traveled that year was down a deep, dark hole. I got demoted as a wife. Our new home was filled with old problems. And my kids were hanging by a thread. Momentarily I thought about sending my first letter that year. I’d get the kids and me in front of the rusty, empty, aboveground pool in the backyard and say something along the lines of: “Seasons Greetings from some of us. This year has been filled with lots of adventure. Hubby left me for a younger model. The kids, dogs, cats, fish, horse, and I have moved to a lovely country home — with a pool. I’ve lost so much weight. It’s the divorce diet. You lie in a fetal position for about seven months unable to eat, and the pounds just melt away. My mother no longer remembers my name. My beloved cat got run over. And my kids couldn’t be happier that their parents screwed up. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas.” But, I decided that people might just think I’d taken a leap into that broken down pool and knocked a screw loose. So, instead I sent a photo of the kids, me and our horse wearing a Santa hat. The caption read — New Life. New Address. New Friends. Thankfully, looking forward to a Happy New Year. Then I remarried. Poor Lee. From a closet full of J.Crew khakis and a swanky condo in a trendy Chapel Hill neighborhood to country life in a rundown brick ranch with two teens, five cats, two dogs, two horses, and a lot of dirt. That year the caption read “The Twelve Months of Farm Life Sue Pace Gave to Me” by Lee Pace. Eleven piles of horse poop...Six acres a-mowing.... Five cree-py cats...two fighting teens... you get the idea. These holiday cards are my life’s album over the last twenty-one years as a wife (times two), a mom, and just plain old me. From capturing toothless babies to gap-toothed pre-teens to beautiful grown kids. From long-married wife to single mom to a fabulous second act with a terrific husband and now as empty nesters. Charlie is a sophomore at NC State. And Dennis, that three-pound preemie who blew in on his own terms, has now grown into a fine young man who put a death grip hug on his sister this past September before moving to Vancouver, Canada. We miss him more than words can say. Thankfully, he will be home for Christmas. And that gets me back to the elusive photo. I’ve decided who needs to capture the sublime, when the flaws in my life make for a perfect holiday greeting to friends and family. In this season of trying to achieve the fantasy, may you take a moment to celebrate all those who help to make it real. Happy Holidays. PS Sue Pace lives on the outskirts of Chapel Hill with her husband, five cats, a dog, a horse and two occasional kids.

December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PineStraw : The Art & Soul of the Sandhills

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