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FROM THE EDITOR
CATHY MARTIN EDITOR
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIM SAYER
visited The Goodyear House in NoDa twice during its six-week opening run, before restaurants across the state were forced to shut down temporarily or adjust to serving takeout only. My second visit was a late lunch, and as the dining room cleared out, I saw a family sitting at a table in the corner of the restaurant’s shady courtyard. It was Chef Chris Coleman with his wife and two kids, enjoying a meal together after the lunch rush. The sight of the kids smiling and laughing with their dad brought back a flood of memories. When my kids were little, I’d take them a couple of times a week to visit their chef father, who was only able to steal a few minutes away from the kitchen during the short window between the end of lunch and the start of dinner service. Otherwise, the kids might go the better part of a week without seeing Dad. So when contributor Ben Jarrell proposed a story about how chefs, including Coleman, have been making the most of this unexpected time with their families, I guess my sense of nostalgia kicked in. Jarrell himself is a former chef and a new dad with a precious baby girl at home. Chefs and other hospitality professionals — for among the many transient workers who bartend, cook and wait tables, there are plenty of others who choose this work as a lifelong career — forgo a lot. They work nights, weekends and holidays. The hours are long, the work is physically exhausting and the margins for business owners are slim. But those who stick with it are passionate about what they do and are drawn to the sense of camaraderie among the staff, often a family-like atmosphere unlike many other workplaces. The lifestyle proved tough for our family. After many missed birthdays, family vacations and other milestone moments, my husband transitioned to more or less 9-to-5 work, though the passion to create and share his cooking with others still gnaws at him. The leisure and hospitality sector made up one-third of unemployment claims in Mecklenburg County in the month of March. At press time, we were awaiting Gov. Roy Cooper’s much-anticipated announcement about Phase 2 reopening, which would allow restaurants to resume dining-room service. When they do, they will be welcoming fewer guests, for safety’s sake. Some might not reopen at all. During the time at home, we’ve all been honing our cooking and baking skills out of necessity. But for many of us, the novelty is wearing off. I, for one, can’t wait to sit down, sip a cold draft beer or an expertly crafted cocktail and enjoy a meal prepared by someone with a love for cooking like the chefs featured in this month’s cover story. SP
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C H A R LO T T E C H A R L E S TO N World Class Living
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Peggy Peterson Team KIM ANTOLINI 704-608-3831
HEATHER BONNER 704-756-1394
COOK | PIZZO TEAM 704-236-1135
MELANIE COYNE 704-763-8003
BRIDGET GRAVES 704-560-2311
SHERYL HALLOW 704-907-1144
PATTY HENDRIX 704-577-2066
CHRISTY HOWEY 704-996-0484
JESSICA JENKINS 704-607-9389
TINA & DAVID KOSTELNIK 704-770-7133
BETH LIVINGSTON 704-778-6831
SUSAN MAY 704-650-7432
LIZ M C INTOSH 704-488-6224
ANNA MEDICA 704-620-2047
VALERIE MITCHENER 704-577-8200
RIVERS & CHIP MOON 704-619-9693
PEGGY PETERSON 704-904-6279
JIMMY RANDLE 704-651-1955
JOCELYN ROSE 704-975-9900
KIM SHEEHEY 704-612-3210
ANNE SPENCER 704-264-9621
PETER J. THEVAOS 704-576-5673
LISA WILFONG 704-909-5062
MARGARET WOOD 704-904-6022
70 4 - 5 5 2 - 9 2 9 2
h m p ro p e r t i es .c o m
DEPARTMENTS 19 | Blvd. Gifts for dads; authentic Italian cuisine at Osteria LuCa; Ole Mason Jar's new South End shop; golfers recall their best shots ever; where to hike, bike and paddle around Charlotte.
39 | Spirit forward Classic cocktails with Gary Crunkleton.
41 | Simple life Love, loss and living things.
47 | Omnivorous reader Finding truth in Lee Smith's fiction and nonfiction.
53 | Talk it out Father’s Day remains as relevant as ever.
57 | SouthPark stories For high-school seniors, dreams endure.
83 | Swirl Galas, parties and fundraisers in the Queen City.
88 | Snapshot Jim Dukes’ belief in art to improve communication.
ABOUT THE COVER Chris Coleman, chef/partner at The Goodyear House restaurant in NoDa, enjoys a backyard campfire and s’mores with family at home. Photograph by Michael Hrizuk.
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A T O
YEARS Y DING I L CE EN
G SEVEN IN HO MEB T F X CEL L U E
2 5 O â€“ 2 O
G E N E R A L C O N T R AC TO R
FEATURES 62 | Family style by Ben Jarrell
Charlotte chefs get a rare taste of what it’s like to eat — and cook — at home with the kids..
70 | Music man by Erin Breeden
Vinyl shop owner Dillon Smith built a community of music lovers — and a business that puts family first.
76 | Makeover moxie by Catherine Ruth Kelly
A SouthPark homeowner proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to create an inspired living space.
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Legs youâ€™ll want to show off again.
Contributing Writers Michelle Boudin, Erin Breeden Ken Garfield, Michelle Icard Vanessa Infanzon, Ben Jarrell Catherine Ruth Kelly, Ely Portillo Michael J. Solender Contributing Photographers Daniel Coston, Justin Driscoll Michael Hrizuk _______________ ADVERTISING Jane Rodewald Account Executive 704-621-9198 email@example.com Scott Leonard Audience Development Specialist/ Account Executive 704-996-6426 firstname.lastname@example.org Brad Beard Graphic Designer _______________
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Owners Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels Jr., Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff Published by Old North State Magazines LLC. ÂŠCopyright 2020. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Volume 23, Issue 6
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blvd. People. Places. Things.
ART ON WHEELS Social distancing isn’t keeping Goodyear Arts from putting on a show: On the evening of June 6, the nonprofit arts organization will host Joyride, a drive-through art exhibition at Camp North End. The experience will showcase the work of eight individual artists and artist groups, including dance, free jazz, large-scale visual art and projections, and poetry, says Amy Herman, a photographer and co-founder of Goodyear Arts. The hourlong show is a fundraiser for the artist collective, which typically hosts regular events at its 20,000-square-foot gallery and studios. “Our goal is to provide an experience where the audience doesn’t have to leave the car,” Herman says. Visitors will follow a designated path across Camp North End’s 76-acre campus. Registration is limited; to attend, donors must make a one-time gift of $25 or more or pledge to make a recurring gift starting at $2/month. goodyeararts.com/joyride
southparkmagazine.com | 19
|blvd. FATHER'S DAY
Gifts for Dad
hile stay-at-home orders never kept Charlotte retailers from stocking the good stuff, shopkeepers will be more excited than ever to show you all the great things they have in store for Dad this year. From classic button-down shirts to commissioned art, travel bags and belts, we’ve rounded up gift ideas suitable for every dad. — compiled by Whitley Adkins Hamlin
Become the at-home cooking grandmaster your wife always wanted you to be: Grizzly Cookware cast iron 10” skillet ($175); TSG customized belt ($80); both from The Sporting Gent. thesportinggent.com Not just for tired runners' legs, give the gift of the ultimate sports massage with Adrienne Blackwood of Carolina Sports Massage ($40/30 minutes, $75/60 minutes, $110/90 minutes). carolinasportsmassage.com
Norse Projects hybrid backpack ($215); Common Projects Achilles low suede sneaker ($423); Alex Mill stripe long-sleeve T-shirt ($68); all from Tabor. taborclt.com An extraordinary portrait session for your extraordinary man. Perfect for individuals or with the whole family ($300 session fee includes online preview gallery, high-resolution images and re-touching of three images). Richard Israel Photography. richardisrael.com or email info@richardisrael. com. Locally made old soul tee by State of Funk ($32); gold-plated chains ($38-$45); Sneakers: Complete Guide to Limited Editions book ($35); all from CLTCH. 1512 Central Ave.; Instagram: @cltchit
For the beer lover: NoDa Brewing Company trucker hat ($16), combo four-packs (starting at $9.99) and gift cards in any amount. nodabrewing.com 20
Serving Others. Enriching Lives. “ At TowneBank, we’re committed to building friendships and relationships, and investing in the communities we serve. We’re here to be your partner, in banking and in all that matters to you.”
Lisa Gallimore, Senior Vice President Private Banking Officer TowneBank Charlotte Charlotte resident since 1990
6337 Morrison Blvd. (704) 644-4001 | TowneBank.com Art by Susan Grossman / courtesy Jerald Melberg Gallery “Arequipa Park”
|blvd. Supersoft T-shirt ($30) and blue multi-plaid sport coat ($395), both from Ole Mason Jar. olemasonjar.com
Linen shirts ($225); athleisure cotton lounge pants ($145); and colorful socks ($35). All by Ike Behar. ikebehar.com Hagen blue shirt ($185); Fairclough & Co. private label shirt ($189); Peter Millar blue tattersall shirt ($139). All at Fairclough & Co. faircloughonline.com
Mywalit colorblock leather credit card holders ($25); locally made vinyl tee by State of Funk ($32); A Record of My Vinyl: A Collectorâ€™s Catalog ($18); Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover book ($30); all from CLTCH. 1512 Central Ave.; Instagram: @cltchit
Fox Umbrellas umbrella with nickel dog handle ($175); DL1961 denim jean ($198); neck and bow ties (prices vary); all from Revolution Clothiers & Co. revolutionclothiers.com 22
Paintings by Beth Lee Art: Zee Big Bulldawg, 16x20 ($250); commissions of Dadâ€™s favorite place or pet available upon request. Facebook and Instagram: Beth Lee Art Ted Baker print washbag ($99); Jack Black skin-care products ($7.50-$100); Olivina Men concrete shave bowl ($30), premium shave chrome brush ($40) and safety bamboo razor with five blades ($60). All from Revolution Clothiers & Co. revolutionclothiers.com
The Perfect Gift for Dad. Whether you are searching for the ultimate Fatherâ€™s Day gift, a new way to enjoy the outdoors with your family or a replacement for your old grill, create memorable moments and upgrade your grilling game with a Napoleon Grill from Queen City Audio Video & Appliances. Just in time for summer months and enjoying your backyard space, check out Napoleonâ€™s range of grills.
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Simple and good OSTERIA LUCA SERVES AUTHENTIC ITALIAN FOOD IN A COZY NEW NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT. BY MICHELLE BOUDIN
like the response was very positive,” Martino says. When Osteria opens its doors again, guests will find creative combinations on wood-fired pizzas like the bacon and egg, garlic and clams, or broccoli rabe and sausage pizza. The restaurant also offers classic Italian dishes like chicken parmigiana, meatballs with marinara sauce, and pasta made in house. But the pizzas are what really makes Osteria LuCa stand out in Charlotte's increasingly crowded Italian restaurant scene, Martino says. Osteria LuCa was one of about a half-dozen Italian spots that opened in the city right around the same time. “We knew that going in, but we feel as though Charlotte is a big enough city to support that and those that are already here. We also feel if we do what we’re supposed to do, and we provide the quality food and service, then it doesn’t really PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY OSTERIA LUCA
en Martino started working in restaurants after being fired from his lawn mowing gig — by his parents. “They didn’t like how I was cutting the grass, so I went to a local steakhouse and started washing dishes.” He worked his way up to line cook at the restaurant before heading off to the University of Notre Dame and ultimately landing in New York City. That’s where the owner of one of Charlotte’s most talked-about new Italian restaurants really honed his craft. Martino worked at the famed Tribeca Grill, owned by actor Robert De Niro. He was assistant manager there, and his now wife, Tricia, was a hostess. In January, they opened Osteria LuCa, named for their son Lucas and daughter Caroline, in Park Road Shopping Center. Osteria LuCa is the couple’s fourth restaurant in the Charlotte area. They also own two Nothing But Noodles and TRUE Crafted Pizza at StoneCrest at Piper Glen. Osteria LuCa is their first local restaurant with a full bar and dining room. “We wanted it to be a pizza-focused neighborhood restaurant where people could come and gather, reminiscent of the restaurants throughout Italy. We wanted a very communal vibe, where you can come in and have a drink and have some really good, simple Italian food,” Martino says. “To focus on the essence of Italian food, it’s all about simplicity and good quality ingredients.” Osteria was among the first Charlotte restaurants to close temporarily during the coronavirus pandemic, reopening for takeout May 1. “We had a good two month run — it was busy and seemed
matter what happens around us.” Part of ensuring that means having his family work with him and making sure his staff knows what’s important. He and Tricia are there every day, while daughter Caroline works the front of the house several times a week. The staff wear shirts that say “Work Hard, Be Kind.” “That’s kind of our mantra. I tell the staff if we could do those two things — come to work, work hard, and be kind to each other and the guests, I think we’re gonna be OK,” Martino says. “Trish and I are very driven by the service and hospitality side of the business. ... People come first because they want to try the food, but they come back because they ate well and they liked the feel of the place.” SP Osteria LuCa is located at 4127 Park Rd. osterialuca.com
HOPE comes to SouthPark. Announcing the opening of HopeWay Psychiatry & Associates A psychiatric outpatient clinic for children, adolescents and adults To schedule an appointment call 980-859-0990 and to learn more visit hopeway.org/psychiatryassoc.
P SYC H I AT R Y & A S S O C I AT E S HopeWay Psychiatry & Associates is part of HopeWay, the premier mental health treatment center that opened in Charlotte in 2016.
5925 Carnegie Blvd., Suite 525, Charlotte, NC 28209
southparkmagazine.com | 25
The new classics OLE MASON JAR BRINGS ITS CUSTOM AND CURATED MENSWEAR TO SOUTH END. BY CATHY MARTIN
Carolina, though Rhyne says producing garments domestically is getting harder as more plants shut down. Eventually, Ole Mason Jar plans to carry other brands at the store, including a denim line and, possibly, collaborations with other labels. What sets Ole Mason Jar apart, Rhyne says, is the fit (not too blousy, but not super-slim), high-quality fabrics (“You’ve got to touch it and feel it”) and the ability to offer made-toorder shirts, sport coats and accessories with short turnaround times. “When we started, we spent so much time building relationships with the factories that we worked with,” Rhyne says. “Our U.S. factory normally would only work with us if we were buying like 1,000 shirts. We did not buy 1,000 shirts,” he laughs. Rhyne and Ho developed similar relationships with their producers overseas. “I think that’s what has allowed us to pivot like we have done,” Rhyne says. “And I think that has been a differentiator for us.” While Ole Mason Jar expects to sell more off-the-rack cloth-
outh End just keeps getting hotter, as local boutiques and coveted national retailers alike open up shop in the district. Among the latest is Charlotte menswear brand Ole Mason Jar, which last month debuted its flagship store at Design Center of the Carolinas. Founded in 2013 by college friends and North Carolina natives Bradley Rhyne and Filipe Ho, Ole Mason Jar is best known for its custom and off-the-rack button-downs, sport coats, suits and ties. Now it’s looking to expand with OMJ, a new line of ready-to-wear basics such as supersoft T-shirts, ball caps, and eventually, shirts, jackets and accessories. “We wanted things that are a little more like weekend wear,” says Rhyne, who is quite familiar with the classic banker-bro style, having worked in finance until 2016. “I think guys care now, more than ever, about how they dress,” he says. “There’s also a need for guys who like to dress down but still look put together.” At 1,800 square feet, the store is more than quadruple the size of Ole Mason Jar’s previous uptown location at Brevard Court. Grab a seat at the counter — future plans call for an in-house coffee bar — and get to know the staff before you browse. Lining the walls you’ll find sport coats ($550-$650) and button-downs ($125) in fabrics ranging from seersucker to chambray, brushed cotton to crisp poplin. The traditional color palette leans toward blues, reds and grays, and shirts come in a variety of solids and patterns, including stripes, plaids, gingham and houndstooth. Ties, belts, shoes (crafted in Spain) and other accessories round out the line. Ole Mason Jar also sells wedding suits starting at $595. Many of its button-down oxfords are still made in North 26
ing at its new larger location, Rhyne says there are no plans to scale back on custom apparel. “Guys want something that not everybody else has so they can make it their own.” SP OMJ is located at 1930 Camden Rd., Ste. 125. olemasonjar.com
302 Royal Crescent Lane
308 S. Canterubry Rd
Mooresville, NC 28117
Charlotte, NC 28173
Charlotte, NC 28211
Offered at $1,475,000
Offered at $1,300,000
Malibu Pointe Linwood Bolles 704-905-5732
Offered at $985,000
Longview Country Club Kim Trouten 704-877-8719
Cotswold Catherine Metze 704-907-4460
3207 Bozman Ct.
100 N. Canterbury Rd
18105 Meadow Bottom
Charlotte, NC 28226
Charlotte, NC 28211
Charlotte, NC 28277
Offered at $899,900
Offered at $725,000
Easton Park Kaye Bender 704-904-3221
Offered at $579,900
Cotswold Lauren Campbell 704-579-8333
2305 Lord Anson Drive
12631 Elkhorn Drive
Charlotte, NC 28173
Charlotte, NC 28278
Ardrey Shelley Spencer 704-907-3800 801 Hillside Ave Charlotte, NC 28209
Offered at $514,900
The Reserve Shelley Spencer 704-907-3800
Sold for $444,000
Offered at $498,500
Chapel Cove Suzanne Cowden 704-301-1012
Linwood Bolles 704-905-5732
ALLEN TATE SOUTHPARK
140 Beach Lane
Expand your playground LOOKING FOR NEW OUTDOOR RECREATION OPTIONS IN CHARLOTTE? TRY THESE.
hen stay-at-home orders disrupted life’s rhythms, I found myself with a lot more free time this spring. No commute. No mad morning scramble to get ready for day care. No swearing at traffic on I-85, rushing home to beat the setting sun. So, I did something I’d been meaning to do for a long time: I got out my bike. Dusty, a tad rusty and badly in need of some oil, the old Schwinn worked fine — after I figured out how to change a flat tube, adjust the brakes and tweak the derailleurs so the chain stopped popping off. The cliche about how it’s just like riding a bike is true, thankfully, at least when it comes to actual bikes. And I decided I wanted to do a bit of trail riding, something I didn’t have much experience with. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go far. James Boyce Park, in southeast Charlotte just off Sardis Road, has a modest selection of short, mixeduse trails with just enough up-and-down to be a challenge (for me, anyway), all connected to miles of greenways that make it easily accessible from various parts of the city. I jumped on, had a blast, and decided that I was ready to hone my skills at mountain biking. The Charlotte region abounds with new options to play outside. So, if you’re tired of your usual walking or jogging routine, give one of these a try. 28
MOUNTAIN BIKING It sounds a bit intimidating if you are new to the sport, but there are plenty of options for riding on nearby trails that don’t require death-defying jumps or slogs up huge peaks. If you’re bored riding on neighborhood streets or flat greenways, give one of these a try. There’s a wealth of mountain biking options in Mecklenburg parks, with trails of varying difficulty spread across the county. You can find almost 6 miles at Colonel Francis Beatty Park in Matthews, 8 miles in Renaissance Park off West Tyvola Road and almost 4 miles in North Mecklenburg Park in Huntersville. Off Rocky River Church Road in east Charlotte, you’ll find Sherman Branch Nature Preserve, with a dozen miles of different trails for you to ride. The single biggest local concentration of trails is at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which has more than 50 miles ranging from beginner to advanced (they’re graded like ski slopes, with green, blue and black diamond trails). The easiest route and best introductory ride is the Lake Trail, a 3-mile loop with nice views of the ponds it snakes around. You don’t need to pay for anything besides parking ($6 for a day pass) to ride at the Whitewater Center, and bikes are available to rent if you don’t own one, with prices starting
PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY U.S. NATIONAL WHITEWATER CENTER
BY ELY PORTILLO
|blvd. this gently hilly trail runs through the Uwharrie National Forest, often overshadowed by its bigger brothers to the west like the Pisgah National Forest. The trail runs for 20 miles, with several options to make loops. And since it’s not mountainous, you won’t be huffing and puffing too much. To the northwest, Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area is a county-owned former quarry near Hiddenite. Just over an hour from Charlotte, this small mountain saw much of its face chopped off decades ago to quarry granite. Now, it’s been transformed into a playground for rock climbing and hiking. The trails up Rocky Face are shorter but surprisingly challenging — and if you do the 2.2-mile main loop eight times, you’ll have gained a full 5,280 feet in elevation and completed the “Vertical Mile Challenge.” If you want a hike by the water, check out Lake Norman State Park. North of Charlotte, the 6.2-mile Lake Shore Trail offers miles of mostly flat hiking with options to shorten or lengthen your trip depending on your preference. Bonus: The park also includes boat rentals and more than 30 miles of mountain biking trails, so you can try all three activities in one place. SP
PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY USNWC AND FLOYD & BLACKIE'S
at $30, including a helmet. You can find more details about difficulty levels and routes of various trails at mtbproject.com or at tarheeltrailblazers.com, which has a “Beginner’s Corner” with tips and suggestions for easier local rides. PADDLING With summer temperatures settling in, there’s nowhere more tempting to be than the water. But if you don’t have a kayak or canoe and the means to haul it somewhere, water sports can seem inaccessible. Don’t worry, however: There are a couple of low-cost, low-commitment options you can try. Just west of Charlotte, you’ll find the South Fork of the Catawba River just over the Gaston County line. Park in Cramerton, a former textile town that’s seeing a revival, and rent a canoe or kayak at Floyd & Blackie’s, a coffee shop/sandwich joint/ice cream store/outdoor outfitter. You can put in to the flat, easygoing river here and paddle for miles — and reward yourself with an ice cream or a smoothie when you return. Kids will also love Goat Island Park, connected to the town by a bridge over the river that’s just a short walk away. To the east, check out Morrow Mountain State Park. Although you might think of this as a hiking destination, there’s a boathouse with canoe and kayak rentals open all summer. You can paddle and explore coves on the Pee Dee River and Lake Tillery, find a quiet spot below the dam, and enjoy a picnic while watching waterfowl swoop overhead. HIKING If you want to try hiking but the thought of fighting crowds at Crowders Mountain gives you hives, there are plenty of other nearby options. For an introduction to longer hikes, you can try the Uwharrie National Recreation Trail. East of Albemarle,
southparkmagazine.com | 29
Best. Shot. Ever.
GOLF NOTABLES WITH CHARLOTTE TIES SHARE MEMORIES OF THEIR FINEST SHOTS — AND THOSE THEY’VE WITNESSED.
BY MICHAEL J. SOLENDER
Golfers are a curious breed. Those at the top of their game have an uncanny ability to immediately shake off the occasional poor shot and move on with their round, the bad swing and result forever lost to the dustbins of the golfing gods. Yet their good shots — especially their great shots — live on forever in the mind’s eye, memorialized and celebrated time and again, remembered in minute detail down to the distance, wind direction, club used and situation. As the PGA Tour is set to resume play this month, SouthPark magazine asked several Charlotte golfing notables to recall their finest moments on the links — and those they’ve been witness to. Comments have been lightly edited. DAVIS LOVE III Love was born in Charlotte a day after his father, Davis Love Jr., competed in the final round at the 1964 Masters Tournament. His father, a former pro and nationally recognized golf instructor who was killed in a 1988 plane crash, introduced him to the game. Love has won 21 tournaments on the PGA Tour, including the 1997 PGA Championship. He has made 13 starts in the Wells Fargo Championship with five top-25 finishes. Best shot ever: “The 16th hole at The Players Championship in 2003, when I hit my second shot out of the trees onto the green and made an eagle in the final round.” Love won The Players that year by six shots over Jay Haas and Padraig Harrington. On the 16th hole, Love’s drive went 301 yards into the left rough leaving him 198 yards to the pin through trees. Love hit his second shot to 11 feet, 1 inch where he made the putt for an eagle to secure his second win at The Players. (The first was in 1992.) Best shot witnessed: “Fred Couples at Lake Nona Golf Club in 1993 during the World Cup made a 2 (albatross) on the par 5, 9th hole. We were teammates and playing two-man combined total. He made a 2 on a par 5, and I made a 4, so I knew we were going to win that one.” JOHNSON WAGNER Wagner lives in Charlotte and is a member at Quail Hollow Club. He has three PGA Tour wins in 334 career starts, with career Tour earnings topping $12 million. Best shot ever: “I hit a 4-iron into 18 at the Houston Open and 30
made the birdie putt to force a playoff against J.B. Holmes in 2015. Those were under pressure — the best 4-iron I’ve ever hit and the best putt I’ve ever hit.” Unfortunately, Wagner would go on to lose in the playoff at the Golf Club of Houston. Best shot witnessed: “It was Steve Marino in the left bunker on the par 3, 15th hole during the second round at the 2008 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champions Course. It’s a tight left pin, downwind. He’s on the down slope, and he hit this bunker shot. It landed as soft as I’ve ever seen ... I would have been worried about blading it in the water.” WEBB SIMPSON Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2018 Players Championship. A member at Quail Hollow Club, he also enjoys playing Charlotte-area courses such as Longview and Charlotte Country Club. Best shot ever: “My best shot was at the WGC Mexico at the 6th hole. I had to hit a slice with a 3 wood from about 260 yards, and I hit it to about 18 feet. Unfortunately, I did not make the putt.” Best shot witnessed: “The best shot I’ve ever witnessed was struck by Tiger Woods [also] at WGC Mexico, in the right bunker on the 9th hole. He had to aim about 40 yards left, and he sliced it and hit it to about 8 feet. That was incredible.” HAROLD VARNER III PGA Tour player Varner grew up in Gastonia, just a 9-iron from Gaston Country Club where he worked through high school, tending clubs in the bag room, and into his sophomore year at East Carolina University. Varner has a home in Charlotte and enjoys playing locally at Gaston CC, Quail Hollow Club and Charlotte Country Club. Best shot ever: “One of the best shots I ever hit was at Gaston Country Club. I had a double-eagle 2 on the par 5 13th while playing with some buddies for a small bet. I hit a 5 iron from 203 yards, a left to right shot that fell in. I had just pressed, so the $25 bet was doubled to $50. It was a lot of money at the time – and still is!” MAX HOMA Seven-year pro Max Homa won the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club for his first ever PGA Tour victory. Best shot ever: “I made a hole-in-one at the Walker Cup in 2013 at the National
Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y. It was a short hole, No. 6, about 105 yards. I hit a gap wedge, and I backed [the ball] up into the hole. It was very cool.” Best shot witnessed: “I’ve seen a lot of good ones. Recently, Keith Mitchell hit a 3 wood off the tee at 17 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to about 18 inches. We all thought he made a hole-in-one at a par 4.” BRYAN SULLIVAN Sullivan was Davis Love III’s teammate at UNC Chapel Hill, where he was an All-ACC selection in 1986 as well as a NCAA Collegiate All–American. Sullivan won the prestigious North & South Amateur Championship in 1983, spent two years on the Canadian PGA Tour and played in several events on the PGA Tour. He is currently head golf professional at Kilmarlic Golf Club at the Outer Banks. Best shot ever: “I remember one time at Harbour Town [Golf Links at Hilton Head] on the 18th hole, I hit it left of the green and into the thick stuff and marsh of Calibogue Sound. My caddie told me to go get the ball and take a drop. I said, ‘No way,’ grabbed a wedge, and went in there to hit it. I swung as hard as I could, popped it out and holed the darned thing. Everyone went crazy. That was probably my most exciting moment I can remember playing on the PGA Tour.”
JOHNNY HARRIS Longtime Quail Hollow Club president and the person most singularly responsible for bringing professional golf to Charlotte, Harris has been around the highest level of the game longer than many of the young stars he calls friends. Best shot ever: “Many years ago, I was playing with fellow member David Johnston in the Quailoree. Our last hole was then No. 4 (now No. 3), and we had a one-shot lead. My partner hit a bad slice, and I promptly skied my drive into a low area in front of the tee. Over 210 yards to the green, I hit a 1 iron to 3 feet (rolled a mile) of the pin to win. When I holed out, my caddie, Jimmy Strong, chased up the fairway and tackled me, clearly expecting a big tip!” Best shot(s) witnessed: “Arnold Palmer on the third floor of the Turnberry Hotel. He hit a 1-iron shot the length of the floor and out the fire escape at 1 a.m. to win $100. Then, after some trash talking, there was a second shot for a $100 bet, which I promptly lost. The best shot at [the Wells Fargo Championship] was David Toms holing out for eight at the 18th hole to win our first tournament [in 2003].” SP
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Thistle Golf Club, Sunset Beach
Talamore Golf Club, Southern Pines
Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center, Browns Summit
1. Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst 2. Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines 3. Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst 4. Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst 5. Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, Southern Pines 6. Pinehurst No. 9, Pinehurst 7. Linville Golf Club, Linville 8. UNC Finley Golf Course, Chapel Hill 9. Bald Head Island Club, Bald Head Island 10. Mid South Club, Southern Pines 11. Duke University Golf Club, Durham 12. Scotch Hall Preserve, Merry Hill 13. Leopard’s Chase, Sunset Beach 14. The Cardinal by Pete Dye, Greensboro 15. Grandover (East), Greensboro 16. The Currituck Club, Corolla 17. Pinehurst No. 7, Pinehurst 18. Lonnie Poole Golf Course, Raleigh 19. Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center (Champions), Browns Summit 20. Tiger’s Eye, Sunset Beach 21. Thistle Golf Club, Sunset Beach 22. Mimosa Hills Golf Club, Morganton 23. Kilmarlic Golf Club, Powells Point 24. Tanglewood Park Golf Course (Championship), Clemmons 25. The New Course at Talamore, Southern Pines 26. Grandover Resort (West), Greensboro 27. Cape Fear National Golf Club, Leland 28. Rocky River Golf Club, Concord 29. Compass Pointe Golf Club, Leland 30. Mill Creek Golf Club, Mebane 31. Crow Creek Golf Club, Calabash 32. Stoney Creek Golf Club, Whitsett 33. Nags Head Golf Links, Nags Head 34. Southern Pines Golf Club, Southern Pines 35. Pinehurst No. 6, Pinehurst 36. Cutter Creek Golf Club, Snow Hill 37. Forest Oaks Country Club, Greensboro 38. Legacy Golf Links, Aberdeen 39. Heritage Club, Wake Forest 40. Tobacco Road Golf Club, Sanford 41. Longleaf Golf & Family Club, Southern Pines 42. Carolina Colours Golf Club, New Bern 43. Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation, Leland 44. The Challenge Golf Club, Graham 45. Greensboro National Golf Club, Summerfield 46. Boone Golf Club, Boone 47. Oak Island Golf Club, Caswell Beach 48. Mount Mitchell Golf Club, Burnsville 49. Hyland Golf Club, Southern Pines 50. Wilmington Municipal Golf Course, Wilmington
72 71 72 72 72 72 72 72 72 71 72 72 72 70 72 72 72 72 72 72 71 72 72 70 71 72 72 72 72 72 72 71 71 71 72 72 72 72 72 71 72 72 72 72 72 71 72 72 72 71
7,588 7,015 7,227 7,099 6,528 7,125 6,946 7,223 6,855 7,003 7,105 7,257 7,055 6,821 7,270 6,888 7,216 7,358 7,255 6,849 6,898 6,750 6,560 7,101 6,840 6,800 7,217 6,970 7,228 7,004 7,101 7,016 6,126 6,268 7,053 7,280 7,212 7,004 7,016 6,554 6,709 7,008 7,031 6,828 6,806 6,686 6,720 6,495 6,823 6,564
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In addition to ranking the state’s top 100 courses, the North Carolina Golf Panel also compiles a list of the top picks for public and semi-private courses across the state. If you’re planning a getaway a little closer to home this year, here are a few venues to keep in mind.
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Top 50 N.C. Courses You Can Play PA R
76.5/138 73.5/135 74.9/138 74.1/137 71.3/127 75.1/143 73.4/139 74.9/138 73.7/143 73.8/144 73.9/141 76.3/139 74.3/140 74.2/139 75.4/140 73.9/136 75.5/143 74.4/142 75.4/140 73.3/141 74.1/135 72.8/137 72.2/144 74.6/140 73.2/140 72.7/137 74.5/143 73.5/137 74.6/138 73.5/144 73.9/130 73.8/139 70.2/138 70.3/130 74.7/139 75.3/144 74.7/141 73.9/133 73.1/133 73.2/150 72.4/132 72.9/132 74.7/140 73.7/139 72.1/135 71.3/128 73.1/131 70.0/131 72.1/141 71.2/128
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My favorite things ... Brandon Lawn has lived in Charlotte for more than 25 years. The East Carolina University graduate — Lawn was a punter on the Pirates’ football team — has three children, Isaac (16), Thomas (14) and Elizabeth, who turns 12 this month. “I have enjoyed watching our city grow into one of the top ranked cities,” says Lawn, a real-estate agent who lives in Myers Park with his wife, Lee Ellen. “Each neighborhood in Charlotte has its own personality, culture and heartbeat.”
FAMILY TIME: From church basketball to club soccer and school athletics, I love watching my kids participate in sports. I helped coach the kids when they were younger, but now they have mostly moved onto club-level sports. My oldest son plays varsity soccer at Myers Park High School. My middle son plays soccer, lacrosse, football and basketball at Charlotte Country Day School. My youngest, my daughter, plays recreational league sports and dances at Jami Masters. ENTERTAINMENT: Live music is my favorite mood booster. I enjoy going to the N.C. Music Factory (right) and Spectrum Center to see live shows Neighborhood Theatre and The Visulite, too. My favorite band to see in concert is Coldplay.
DRINK OF CHOICE: For couple’s night, a Moscow mule at The Crunkleton. For guy’s night out, a vodka-Red Bull at Selwyn Pub. For date night, a dirty martini at Myers Park Country Club. On the golf course (any course), a transfusion. DINNER SPOTS: Stagioni and The Crunkleton are super cozy neighborhood spots that give you a good feeling. From the cocktails to appetizers to cheese plates and entrees, I’ve never left Stagioni not loving my meal. At The Crunkleton, cocktails are the specialty. They have antique liquors and anything you could possibly imagine. You can get everything from a wedge salad and fried oysters to a killer piece of fish or rib-eye. 34
LUNCH SPOT: I like Reid’s Fine Foods because it’s simple. You pull in, go to the counter, and you can get anything you are in the mood for. They have the best sweet tea in town. My favorite sandwich is the chicken Caprese. Noble Smoke is another easy spot to meet and grab a table. The brisket with sides of succotash and macaroni and cheese is my favorite. COFFEE AND TEA: I go to Starbucks in Eastover, every morning. Alan has the coffee ready right when I roll in. I take mine with cream and no sugar, and usually I’ll end up hanging out there for about 15 minutes, running into neighbors and catching up on life. It’s a great way to get the day started. In the afternoon, I go to Not Just Coffee on Providence Road for a matcha tea. GOLF: I am a member at Myers Park Country Club and Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington. Hole number 17 at Eagle Point is my favorite — the view on top of the tee box overlooking the creek and bunkers is just phenomenal. Hole number 17 is also my favorite at Myers Park.
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|blvd. super freaked out to go because I was unsure of it, and I got hooked. There’s not a better feeling than leaving the studio after giving it everything you've got — walking out of there dripping sweat and waiting till the end to get that cold towel is what you’ve worked for. I also enjoy walks through Myers Park and Eastover. It’s a good time to take calls and listen to music or a podcast. SMOOTHIE: Green Brothers Juice Co.
in Dilworth, a couple of times a week. I usually get an ABJ or Mr. Joe. VACATION: I grew up going to Harbour Island and have since brought my kids back there — great beaches, bonefishing and snorkeling. St. Barths is another favorite trip. My wife and I went a couple of years ago, and we’re planning another trip back there soon. It’s almost like Europe meets the Caribbean. CUSTOM CLOTHES: I get all of my suits, shirts and pants from David Watkins at House of Abbeydale. All I wear is a blue check shirt, so he has made me more than a handful of these. WORKOUT: I got into Y2 Yoga after hurting my back. I was kinda
PERFECT DAY: Morning yoga, put a house under contract, lunch at Reid’s, afternoon golf with friends, and then grill out with my family. SPORTS: I am a huge football fan, both college and NFL. My favorite teams are the Carolina Panthers, ECU Pirates and UNC eels. Compiled by Whitley Adkins Hamlin. Know of a tastemaker or person of interest we should feature? Email whitley@ thequeencitystyle.com.
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Taking flight BY GARY CRUNKLETON
started the Crunkleton in ’08, and my vision was to do classic cocktails. At the time there was a cocktail renaissance — and I thought, these drinks with egg whites, that would be really cool. That’s the stuff that my great grandparents would drink. … “I decided to make The Aviation because the Cosmopolitan was really popular. The guests are drinking Cosmos, and I wanted to feed them classic cocktails. The classics are sort of like rock ’n roll — on the [popular] radio stations, the music comes and goes. A classic has some staying power. I thought, I’ll wean the guests from the Cosmo to the Aviation. Then they’ll develop a palate for the old stuff, the classics. … “The old classic cocktails are more herbaceous than cocktails that were made in the 80s and 90s. There’s balance, so every ingredient that I put in there, you’ll be able to taste. You’ve got to shake it, because you’ve got to wake the liquor up. … “It used to be that people back in the Golden Age of cocktails would make drinks to commemorate something. [New York bartender] Hugo Ensslin made this drink in 1916 in honor of commercial flight — so when you’re in the plane flying, this is what it should look like when you look out the window — a bluish-gray hue.” THE AVIATION 2 ounces London Dry gin (Tanqueray) .25 ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 ounce simple syrup (1-to-1 sugar to water mix) 1/8 ounce creme de violette liqueur (Bitter Truth) Pour all ingredients into a shaking tin filled with ice cubes. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Use a mesh strainer to ensure no pulp from the lemon or small ice particles get into the drink. Garnish with a skewer of three rinsed maraschino cherries from Luxardo.
Be proud that you are enjoying one of the most delightful of the classic cocktails. Enjoy and smile! Spirit Forward is an occasional column featuring excerpts from conversations with Gary Crunkleton (right). The barman and owner of The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill and The Crunkleton Charlotte shares his wisdom of and passion for classic cocktails.
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The stolen flower child
LOVE, LOSS AND LIVING THINGS BY JIM DODSON
n the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a clear spring morning in my tiny corner of the planet, I was out early planting a fig tree in the side garden — my primary hideout even before a killer virus came to town — when I witnessed an enchanting scene of discovery. An elegant gray-haired woman and a toddler on wobbly legs came slowly down the street hand in hand. They paused at the edge of my garden. The woman pointed to a birdbath and a pair of busy bird feeders hanging over flowering shrub roses. Several finches were at the feeder and two cardinals were taking morning dips in the birdbath. Bees were circulating through blooming sage. Spring was alive and buzzing. The little dude dropped the woman’s hand and wobbled straight into the garden for a closer look at the action. The birds didn’t appear the slightest bit perturbed by the pair’s intrusion, and neither was the gardener — for what good is a garden if living creatures don’t pay a visit, be it birds, bees or boys? At one point, the little guy tripped and tumbled over. He didn’t cry, however. He pushed himself back to his feet and giggled, holding out a fistful of my good garden dirt to share with his companion. She made a delighted show of accepting his special Earth Day gift. Together they examined something in the palm of her hand, perhaps a big wiggly earthworm. My garden is full of them. How wise she was to encourage this new citizen of the Earth to get dirty in a garden. Once upon a time, when people lived much closer to the soil, nature was regarded as an essential teacher of the young, a maternal presence used in the service of myths, legends and fairy tales to convey important lessons about survival in a wild and unforgiving world. Perhaps the older woman knew this. Perhaps, given the enchantment of the moment, she actually was the Little Dude’s fairy grandmother. In any case, as I watched this tender scene unfold, leaning on a shovel in my side yard, two thoughts came to mind. One was a line from a poem called “The Stolen Child” by Irish poet William Butler Yeats that I committed to memory decades ago. Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand. The other was a powerful flashback to the enchanted young woman who introduced me to this poem and changed my life, 50 years ago to the day. * * * Her name was Kristin. We grew up attending the same church and sang together in the youth choir, but she never really looked my way because she was a year older and several lifetimes wiser, a beautiful cheerleader who became a wise and spirited flower child. During the autumn of my junior year in high school, however, she turned to me after choir practice and wondered if I might give her a ride home. On the way home, she informed me that she’d ditched her college boyfriend and wondered, with a teasing laugh, if we should begin dating. I had a new Chevy Camaro from money I saved up from mowing lawns and teaching guitar. I thought she just liked my car. What she saw in me at that moment is still hard to say. I was such a straight-arrow kid, an Eagle Scout who grew up camping and fishing and was more at home in the woods than the city. Once upon a time, I’d even briefly been a member of the local chapter of Young Republicans and shaken Richard Nixon’s hand, though I didn’t dare let this out until our second or third date. “That’s OK,” she said with a laugh, “I think the universe sent me to wake you up and save you from the Republicans.” Perhaps it was our shared passion for the outdoors that created such a powerful bond. She loved to hunt for wildflowers and visit public gardens, where she could sit and read poetry or study her lines for a play. She even walked golf courses with me doing the same. Yeats and Walt Whitman were her favorite poets. Because of her, I fancied Yeats and Whitman too. I was 17 on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, though I cannot tell you much about the rally we attended in a public park after school that Wednesday. There was a good crowd, lots of posters and energy, a bevy of passionate speakers warning about the dangers of air and water pollution to future generations. Someone had hauled a rusted heap to the rally site, as I recall, and protesters took turns southparkmagazine.com | 41
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gleefully bashing the gas-guzzler with a sledgehammer — or maybe this was a subsequent protest we attended together. In any case, I was grateful we’d parked my almost-new Camaro well away from the scene. I recently learned from the earthday.org website that the first Earth Day protest “inspired 20 million Americans” — at the time, 10% of the total U.S. population — to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums “to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development that had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts.” The site goes on to note that the first Earth Day led to some significant steps by year’s end: the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other environmental firsts, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act. Ironically, Richard Nixon signed these pieces of legislation into law. He deserved a handshake for this. “Two years later,” the website adds, “Congress passed the Clean Water Act, followed by the Endangered Species Act — laws that protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death as well as hundreds of species from extinction.” In 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries mobilized to make recycling and alternative energy sources primary objectives of Earth Day activism. “Today,” the site concludes, “Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior.” And create a sustainable planet. For me, the best part of that first local rally was when Kristin read Yeats’ “The Stolen Child,” which appeared in his first poetry collection in 1889. The theme plays off loss of childlike innocence against the unmentioned backdrop of a world being turned upside down by the social upheavals of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Yeats grew up in beautiful County Sligo, where folklore and legends of fairies stealing children were commonplace, a subject that deeply interested the poet for much of his career. In the end, the innocent child is lured away from the familiar comforts of home to a world far removed from the one he knows and loves — stolen away, in the end, to a place that is both wild but also faintly sinister. On some level, the message is an allegorical plea not to abandon the beauty and challenges of the real world, seduced by an illusionary longing to leave troubles behind. Over the year and a half we were together, Kristin opened my eyes about so many things in this world — poetry, art, music, the power of an open mind and the spiritual connectedness of every living creature. Whenever we debated politics — I was still something of a half-hearted Republican — she joked that she might end up becoming my Maud Gonne, the English heiress and ardent Irish Nationalist that Yeats met in 1889 and proposed to — without success — at least three times. She became the poet’s unrequited love and lifelong haunting. In a way, Kristin became mine — or at least my Stolen Flower Child.
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|simple life We agreed to part when she went off to college in the mountains. The separation was my suggestion. I had a cool Camaro and a silly notion that I needed “space” to date around “before I settled down.” The decision was one I soon came to regret. Two years later, we got back together. For three October weekends in a row, I drove six hours across the state to reconnect with my first love. She was soon to graduate with degrees in social work and drama, and was being considered for an understudy role in London. I was trying to decide between becoming an English teacher or a journalist. She helped convince me that writing was my proper path. On Sunday night, October 25, 1973, we parted, having made a plan to go to England together someday soon and see what life would yield. Kristin went to the steakhouse where she worked as a weekend hostess, and I drove six hours back to school. Later that evening, three young teenagers entered the restaurant to rob patrons, held a gun to the head of the hostess and pulled the trigger. * * * As I watched the wise fairy grandmother and Little Dude resume their walk down the block, hand in dirty hand, I went back to planting my young fig tree, marveling how quickly half a century had passed. I also wondered, on this important day in the life of the planet, what sort of world the Little Dude
would soon inherit. Ironically, just days before, a gutted Environmental Protection Agency removed the last regulations on air and water pollution in America, part of a systematic dismantling of the sweeping gains in environmental protection that had taken place over half a century, at a time when the vast majority of scientists warn the Earth is facing perilous consequences due to climate inaction. Among other things, the coronavirus pandemic has been traced to human encroachment into formerly wild places where Ebola, SARS and other killer viruses were born. Experts also warn that the world’s population of insects — the basis of our own food chain — is nearly half what it was the year of the first Earth Day. As for me, it took almost two decades to speak of my own personal tragedy. A final golf trip with my father to England and Scotland when he was dying allowed me to finally open up about that dark October. It proved to be my second great awakening. Today, I understand that the world is indeed full of sorrows, but thanks to the gifts my stolen flower child gave me, I understand that the power of love is the real magic of life on this planet, not to mention the importance of keeping an open mind while celebrating the spiritual connectedness of every living creature. I sometimes feel her presence — keeping an eye on my progress, I suspect — especially when I’m in the garden. SP
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An honest day’s storytelling
FINDING TRUTH IN LEE SMITH’S FICTION AND NONFICTION. BY D.G. MARTIN
ome North Carolina writers say that it is easier for them to tell the truth in fiction than it is in nonfiction. In nonfiction, the facts can bind up authors so tight that it is hard for them to deliver the truth. The two most recent books by North Carolina’s beloved novelist Lee Smith give us a chance to compare her “truth-telling” strengths in her fiction versus her nonfiction writing. Her most recent book, Blue Marlin, which came out in April, is fiction, while her memoir, Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, was published in 2016. The main character and narrator of Smith’s Blue Marlin is a teenage girl dealing with growing up, religion, boys and the troubled mental health and marital problems of her parents. Much of Dimestore, Smith’s only nonfiction book, deals with the same topics in the context of the real-life experiences of Smith and her parents. Blue Marlin is short, about 120 pages, each filled with Smith’s warm and sympathetic storytelling gifts and characters who reach out and remind us of people we knew growing up. In the book, the Lee Smith-like character, Jenny, age 13, discovered her beloved small-town lawyer dad was having an affair. Soon everybody in town knew. Her dad moved out of their home. Her depressed mom sought treatment at a hospital in Asheville. After a time, her parents decided to try to put their marriage back together on a trip to Key West, Fla., with Jenny. Riding to Key West in the back seat of her dad’s new Cadillac, Jenny began a list of good deeds she would do on each day of their trip, “which ought to be enough,” she thought, “to bring even Mama and Daddy back together.” But, will the time in Key West do the job? Their motel, the Blue Marlin, was a positive, not just because of its swimming pool and waterslide. The motel was occupied by a movie crew, including actor Tony Curtis. Jenny and her mom were big movie fans and read the fan magazines
together. They “squealed together” over Curtis. Things were off to a good start. Jenny settled into Key West. She walked the streets, visited the sites, made friends with the locals, and did her good deeds every day. But she’s not sure her good deeds are working. “My parents were endlessly cordial to each other now, but so far they had never slept in the same bed. I knew this for a fact. I checked their room every morning.” To find out whether Tony Curtis’ help and Jenny’s good deeds could bring about real marital reconciliation, you will have to read the book, but Smith leaves clues in the afterword. Following a real family trip to Key West to help her real parents’ troubled marriage, Smith writes that the Key West cure worked. “Mama and Daddy would go home refreshed, and stay married for the rest of their lives.” She writes that of all the stories she has ever written, “this one is dearest to me, capturing the essence of my own childhood — the kind of unruly, spoiled only child I was; the sweetness of my troubled parents, and the magic essence of Key West, ever since January 1959, when these events actually occurred.” Smith cautions her readers that not all the events in her book happened, describing it as “autobiographical fiction, with the emphasis on fiction.” She explains, “I can tell the truth better in fiction than nonfiction.” A few years ago when I read Dimestore, I thought her memoir’s real stories were, in some respects, even better than the wonderful ones she had told in her novels and short stories. Her descriptions of the real characters in her life were, like her fictional characters, compelling. Dimestore opened the door for her many fans to know her as well or better than her good friends do. It gave clues about how growing up in a small Appalachian coal mining town and spending most of her life working, writing and raising a family here in North Carolina have influenced her writing. southparkmagazine.com | 47
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We learned that her seemingly idyllic childhood, with devoted parents, surrounded by loving members of an extended family, was also full of challenges. In a chapter titled “Kindly Nervous,” Smith describes the “immense anguish” her beloved father felt during his bouts of bipolar mania. But for Smith, there was a bright side to her father’s condition, which he described as “kindly nervous.” When her father could not sleep, he would work all night at the dimestore he owned in downtown Grundy, Va. Smith often accompanied him to the store and slept on a pallet under his desk. In the morning, he took her to breakfast. “How I loved those breakfasts! I got to have my scrambled eggs and my own big white china cup of sweet, milky coffee alongside early-morning truckers and the miners who’d just worked the graveyard shift, their eyes rimmed with coal dust like raccoons.” Her mother suffered, too, and was frequently hospitalized for depression and anxiety. But, again, Smith emphasizes the bright side. “This is my story, then,” she writes, “but it is not a sob story. Whenever either of my parents was gone, everybody — our relatives, neighbors, and friends — pitched in to help take care of me, bringing food over, driving me to Girl Scouts or school clubs or whatever else came up.” One time, both parents were hospitalized, her mother in Charlottesville. Her mother’s doctor invited the 13-year-old Lee to have lunch with him. “Our luncheon,” she writes, “remains one of the most memorable occasions of my youth.” After a long formal lunch with lots of conversation about Smith’s love of literature, the doctor asked her if, because both parents were ill, she was worried about getting sick herself. Smith replied, “You mean, if I am going to go crazy, too.” When the doctor said, “yes,” Smith thought, “How did he know? Because that was exactly what I thought about, of course, all the time.” The kindhearted doctor assured her that he was a good doctor and she seemed to be “a very nice, normal girl, and I am here to tell you that you can stop worrying about this right now. You will be fine.” She was fine, and explains how such events can be blessings for an author. “This is an enviable life, to live in the terrain of one’s heart,” she writes. “Most writers don’t — can’t — do this. Most of us are always searching, through our work and in our lives: for meaning, for love, for home. Writing is about these things. And as writers, we cannot choose our truest material. But sometimes we are lucky enough to find it.” Is Smith’s “truest material” in her fiction or her memoir? I am not sure I know the answer. But one thing is certain, whenever she puts pencil to paper, the result is going to be moving, and honest. SP D.G. Martin hosts North Carolina Bookwatch Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. and other times.
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|talk it out
The fight for Father’s Day AFTER A SLOW START, THE HOLIDAY REMAINS AS RELEVANT AS EVER, EVEN DURING A PANDEMIC. BY MICHELLE ICARD
ather’s Day is just around the corner, and it’s bound to be unlike any other, considering the current state of the world. It’s okay, though. Father’s Day can take it. A brief look into the fascinating history of the holiday shows that Father’s Day knows how to put up a fight for its place on the calendar. Dads were first given their day in 1910 in Washington state. Just two years earlier, Mother’s Day had emerged as a new family holiday, inspiring Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of a widower raising six children, to honor dads the same way. She gathered support for her idea by rallying local churches, the YMCA and small-business owners to mark the day in celebration of all fathers do for their families. It was a great start with noble and warm-hearted intentions, but a slow one nonetheless. Just as the idea started gaining traction outside of Washington state, Robert Spero, a New York City children’s radio entertainer, pushed for an end to both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day in favor of Parents’ Day. With an early emphasis on co-parenting, Spero said his holiday would show “that both parents should be loved and respected together.” Spero’s movement gained surprising momentum through the 1920s and 1930s, but alas, along came the Great Depression, and marketers did what marketers do best. Families were encouraged to support hardworking bread earners with recognition in the form of a new tie, pipe, cardigan or, at the very least, a card expressing how much they cared. With that, Father’s Day got the boost it needed. World War II raised sentimentality and gave Americans yet another
reason to share heartfelt messages of appreciation with fathers, and, economically at least, the holiday caught on. But while Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914, a mere four years after it was introduced, Father’s Day wasn’t made official until 1972 by President Richard Nixon. It wasn’t just a long ride to becoming a holiday, it was a bumpy one. Now what? Now, we keep it up. So here we are in 2020, year of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Father’s Day has a lot working against it this year. Our daily lives are characterized by uncertainty, frustration and isolation … not exactly big celebration vibes out there right now. Plus, our communal go-to ideas for dads (you know — live music, sporting events and big barbecues) are likely not going to be happening this year. Lastly, plenty of families have been with their dads a lot lately. Do fathers really want more family time right now? It isn’t exactly the draw it once was. Ironically, when Father’s Day was gathering momentum in the early 20th century, a letter to the New York Times called for a national Home Day instead for mothers, fathers and children to simply celebrate being together. Oof. We’ve had plenty of those lately. Should we just … skip it? Given our circumstances, you might feel tempted to throw in the towel or phone it in this year. Dad doesn’t need much anyway, right? Lordship over the remote. His choice of takeout. A new picture frame for his work-fromhome desk. Poor dads. Maybe I sound like Sonora Dodd, but, now more than ever, we should look for reasons to show our loved ones how much we appreciate them. southparkmagazine.com | 53
|talk it out Ask the dad you know what he really wants this year. His answer might be different from the past or from what you expect. I asked some dads about this recently and was impressed by the number who said Father’s Day is one of their favorite days of the year. Even this year. All had different reasons: Some like complete freedom of choice for the day. Others enjoy spending time with their own dads. Some want time alone. Others relish the opportunity to force a hangout with their kids on their own terms.
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Advertisers try to make us feel that Father’s Day is one-size-fits-all, because that makes it easier for them to have the one gift to please all dads, but it’s not. The best gift is exactly what the dad in your life wants this year, and only he knows what that is. Perhaps the best memory you’ll give the dad in your life is the time you take and the conversation you have when you ask him what he really wants and needs on this unique and historical Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all. Enjoy your celebrations. SP Michelle Icard is an author in Charlotte. She runs local programming for middle schoolers and their parents, including leadership camps for girls and boys and conferences for girls and their moms. Learn more about her at MichelleintheMiddle.com.
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Memories dashed, but dreams endure FOR HIGH-SCHOOL SENIORS, THE VIRUS STOLE THEIR TRADITIONS — BUT NOT THEIR SPIRIT. BY KEN GARFIELD
or high-school seniors everywhere, a springtime of memories was dashed by COVID-19. Instead of dancing the night away at prom, posing for pictures in their caps and gowns, or hanging out on campus with friends for the last time, they were sheltering in place. But rather than wallowing in regret, these four young men and women (and so many others) put their losses in perspective. The pandemic kept them from going to school, but it has not kept them from learning some beautiful lessons.
ments. Her first thoughts were with those stricken by the virus and the health care professionals doing heroic work. But the more time she spent with her parents and brother, the more she realized what she had gained from all this. Life was hectic before the shutdown. Life will be hectic after the shutdown. How many other times in life will she be able to share a family dinner and linger over the conversation? “When I look back on it,” Grace says, “I’m looking at the bigger picture.”
‘LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE’ Grace Brashear is one of those kids who will go through life finding a way. Grace, who turned 18 on May 21, is headed to College of Charleston, where she plans to study early childhood education, or something related to children. But before then, she intends to make up for what COVID-19 took away from her senior year at South Mecklenburg High School. The traditional junior/senior spring break trip to Ocean Isle Beach that was canceled? She and her friends are hoping to find a week this summer to go — with parent chaperones, of course. The senior prom? Since the girls had already purchased fancy gowns, Grace says plans are in the works to hold a “prom” at a friend’s house. Guys are invited, tuxedos preferred. She isn’t sure how many seniors will come — “It depends on who wants to get dressed up,” Grace says — but they’re sure to have a great time. Initially, Grace, who is the daughter of Drew and Jill Brashear, was bummed out by the loss of so many “senior” mo-
‘THE MOST IMPORTANT THING’ Spring break trips to fish in Florida and watch his little sister play lacrosse at the Outer Banks? Gone. Taking his girlfriend, Catherine, to senior prom? Gone. Attending commencement, even if it’s rescheduled for this summer? Likely gone, since Trevor Kelly will probably have left for basic training before starting school at the United States Military Academy. “It’s tough,” says Trevor, who is graduating from Myers Park High School. “It’s disappointing. It’s supposed to be the cherry on top, the exclamation point of high school.” Trevor, the son of Kevin and Sue Kelly, spent much of the shutdown working out in his garage — he’ll play lacrosse at West Point — and connecting via Zoom with his small group at Westminster Presbyterian Church. But what he didn’t dwell on was himself. “The most important thing in my perspective is that everyone is safe,” Trevor says. “I’d rather see everyone healthy during this time.”
Kimai McPhee southparkmagazine.com | 57
|southpark stories He understands that other golden moments lie ahead. Anyway, he says, he got to go to junior prom. ‘TRYING TO STAY POSITIVE’ A.J. Ratchford’s mom says he’s a laid-back guy, a great quality to have during a pandemic, and whatever else life throws your way. A.J., 18, lost his senior season of varsity baseball at Providence Day School. Rather than pitching or playing left field for the Chargers, he played a little pickleball with his friends during the shutdown (keeping their distance, of course). He’s thinking he’ll wash cars this summer at Autobell before leaving for Fort Worth, Texas, and his freshman year at Texas Christian University. Are you seeing the picture? A.J., the son of Jim and Denise Ratchford, is looking ahead. What’s in the past is in the past, even as Providence Day works to revise some of the senior traditions — commencement has been pushed back to July 31. He’s headed to a great school far from home but near some family members. He thinks he’ll study finance. COVID-19 wasn’t powerful enough to take A.J.’s eyes off the prize that awaits. “I’ve been trying to stay positive.” ‘MAKE PEOPLE SMILE’ Kimai McPhee’s plans for her final semester extended
beyond the normal traditions. As student body president at Charlotte Country Day School, she wanted to close out the year with a focus on mental-health awareness and encourage fellow students to take care of themselves. She was also relishing the time she’d spend with her fellow seniors before leaving for Scripps College, a small women’s college in Claremont, Calif. Kimai, 18, is thinking about getting into film, hence her decision to go to school near Los Angeles. COVID-19 forced her to cancel her spring break trip to visit the campus. Kimai (pronounced Kim-i) is the daughter of Joel and Sherryl McPhee. In the midst of COVID-19, she filled the shutdown with meaningful pursuits, reading Toni Morrison’s classic novel Beloved and tracking her nightly dreams in a journal. “Dreams” is an appropriate word to apply to Kimai, for her future is fueled by the dream of spreading her positive spirit wherever life leads. As soon as we’re free to connect with others, Kimai will be off and running for good. So will Trevor, Grace, A.J. and many other high-school seniors who will not be deterred, not even by a pandemic. “One of my goals is to make people smile every day,” Kimai says. “As long as I’m doing that, I’ll be very happy.” SP Freelance writer Ken Garfield is a frequent contributor to SouthPark magazine, telling stories of people and places in our community. He also writes obituaries for people. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Goodyear House chef Chris Coleman, opposite page, grills and makes sâ€™mores with his kids, Ellie, 4, and Luke, 8. 62
Family style CHARLOTTE CHEFS USED TO WORKING NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS GET A RARE TASTE OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO EAT — AND COOK — AT HOME WITH THE KIDS. BY BEN JARRELL • PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL HRIZUK
n January 28th, less than a week before the restaurant would open, nine cooks hovered around a 6-foot long stainless-steel prep table, fresh from the warehouse, a barcode tag still attached to its leg. Outstretched arms, some tattooed, many scarred from minor kitchen cuts and burns, reached for cut-up portions of “goopy burgers” and pork schnitzel sandwiches, seasoned french fries, and vegan mac ‘n cheese. They were testing dishes for The Goodyear House in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. One of those cooks was Chris Coleman, the chef-partner behind the menu and the camera, taking photos that would end up on his Instagram feed. “Excited to finally be in the kitchen on day one of testing and tasting with the @goodyearhouse crew,” Coleman wrote of his burgeoning kitchen family honing its craft before the restaurant’s public debut.
It was still weeks before any local stay-at-home advisories or shelter-in-place orders were enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Goodyear House would press on with its soft opening in early February, hosting a small number of people in its first week of business in order to keep the inherent chaos that exists in a new restaurant — even sans pre-global pandemic — to a minimum. While Coleman celebrated with his team, which he tenderly calls “the goop troop,” he admits he was unprepared for the effects of the virus, like most (read: all) of us. “I was just focused on opening the restaurant. I had my blinders on,” Coleman says. Six weeks later, and in much the same fashion as it struck chef Gabrielle Hamilton to close her legendary NYC kitchen, Prune, a week earlier, it occurred to Coleman all at once. He called a meeting to let his staff know he planned to close the
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dining room for an indefinite period, serving only a limited takeout menu. During the meeting, Coleman learned via text that Gov. Roy Cooper had issued an order suspending all sitdown restaurant service in the state, affirming his decision. Six days later, with a photo of his entire staff from opening day, many of whom had been let go indefinitely, Coleman announced he was ending modified service and shutting down the restaurant for the time being. “We are tired. We want to step back, pause, focus on our families and reset for a few,” Coleman wrote. So during the most anticipated period of his young professional career, amid circumstances beyond his control, the chef ultimately found a chance to slow down, serving an elite clientele of private dinner guests whose discerning palates would offer a bit of saving grace in a moment of uncertainty. At home with his family, Chef Coleman fulfills every special order. No favorite is left off the menu, no request denied. Daughter Ellie, 4, prefers to cut her own strawberries to top her yogurt and frozen chicken nuggets to fresh. Her brother, Luke, 8, insisted they make breakfast in bed for Mom. Of course, little sister had to follow so, in all of this, Mom wins. 64
THE HOME KITCHEN Coleman wasn’t the only Charlotte chef who found comfort in the food cooked at home with little loved ones. As chefs were forced to shutter doors, furlough or lay off staff — and in some cases, watch their own dollars burn as they navigate labyrinthian government-assistance programs — they found joy in cooking for what — and who — matters most. William Dissen, chef-owner of Haymaker in uptown Charlotte, was among many fellow chefs who wished Coleman early success. “Can’t wait Chef!” Dissen (aka “Billy D”) commented on Coleman’s early post. At home in Asheville, where Dissen also owns The Market Place, he’s been teaching his children, along with his Instagram followers, some serious skills. “Set up your pasta roller and get your Sous Chef ready for the assist,” Dissen wrote on April 3, as he was teaching a fourpart, scratch-made pasta course. Later that day, his sous chefs did exactly that: His 4-year old son stood on a blue plastic stool, eyes closed and covered with dusting flour. His daughter, 5, appeared more determined, her hands a blur as she followed Dad’s instructions to
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PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY WILLIAM DISSEN
Haymaker executive chef William Dissen enlisted the help of his kids, age 4 and 5, in a pasta-making tutorial on Instagram.
Chef William “Billy D” Dissen wants his kids to be “connected to their meal,” he says. “From gardening and growing to chopping ingredients — it sparks their curiosity. … It’s a science experiment.”
work the dough into shape. It’s pretty dang adorable. Off camera and in the family kitchen, the pasta was filled with parmesan, green garlic and kale, dressed with a light sauce from tomatoes Dissen canned himself. Dissen wants his kids to be “connected to their meal,” he says. “From gardening and growing to chopping ingredients — it sparks their curiosity. ... It’s a science experiment,” he says. Chef Jamie Barnes, co-owner of What the Fries food truck, faced a challenge familiar to many parents during this time of social distancing — hosting a birthday party for his 9-year-old daughter, Lily. “She was pretty down that we couldn’t have a party this year,” Barnes says. Fun and cake, however, were still on the menu. Barnes and his wife organized a surprise birthday parade. “Her friends and their mothers drove by our house, honking their horns. They had balloons and music playing, circling the neighborhood,” Barnes says. “She was speechless.” Chef Calvin Wright, who works with Barnes in the ongoing Serving the Culture dinner series in Charlotte, cooked with his oldest son, CJ, 14. “[Three-year-old] Grayson will watch in amazement now that his brother — his older brother — gets to participate,” Wright says. CJ and his dad tried their hand at a classic — eggplant parmesan. And CJ learned that a made-from-scratch sauce requires heaps of small knife cuts. “I explained what brunoise cuts were,” says Wright, echoing his classical French training. Wright offers a tip to parents attempting to teach their own kids to cook: “Watching your child use a knife is terrifying. Just make sure to show them how to use and respect that particular tool.” Trust is paramount, he says. “Also, step back, watch, and have confidence in them.” Ben Philpott works alongside father and son team Alex and Paul Verica as sous chef at The Stanley. During the pandemic, Philpott, formerly of Lumiere and Block & Grinder, has picked up a second vocation — homeschooling his two kids. “Challenging,” is how Philpott describes the task. “But rewarding.” Like Jamie Barnes, Philpott had two birthdays at home. His 8-year-old daughter, Nancy Sage, dives into any baking project with gusto — including her own birthday cookie cake. But his son Cabell, 11, wanted Southern fried chicken for his big day, three days later. So Dad served it alongside homemade mac n’ cheese and bacon-braised cabbage.
PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY JAMIE BARNES
”Watching your child use a knife is terrifying,” says Charlotte chef Calvin Wright. “Just make sure to show them how to use and respect that particular tool.” Trust is paramount, he says. Chef Jamie Barnes teaches his kids Levi, 6, and Lily, 9, to juice carrots for a healthy drink. “He prefers Price’s,” Philpott says, honestly. Philpott has also used the time at home to experiment with various flavors. When asked if the recipes would end up in the dining room at The Stanley or in his own at home, Philpott’s answer was straightforward. “Could be either way!” he says. “Actually, my timer’s going off.” Another cookie cake? “I gotta go pull some wagyu skirt steaks from the sousvide machine.”
THE SEASONED CHEFS Some chefs requested the early shift prior to our world flipping upside down. One of the kitchens where Coleman earned his chops was at The Asbury inside The Dunhill Hotel, building a farm-to-table reputation with Chef Matthew Krenz. In November 2018, Krenz decided to leave professional kitchens to spend more time with his newborn daughter, Annie. Whether making biscuits at 3 a.m. or adapting to a baby whose taste buds seem to change more often than her diapers, Krenz relished the time at home. Making his daughter a priority for 14 months is a life experience Krenz sees as irreplaceable. “Precious time,” says Krenz, who now works for Sycamore Brewing helping develop food and coffee programs. “Looking back, I couldn’t imagine it any other way,” says Krenz, whose wife, Rachel, works in commercial real estate. Even before graduating from Johnson & Wales in 2008, David Quintana’s restaurant career had him cooking beside the likes of Sean Brock in Charleston, S.C., as well as Wyley Dufresne at WD-50, his legendary, and now retired, temple of molecular gastronomy on the Lower East Side. Quintana’s experience in those elite kitchens affects the
way he looks at food to this day, he says. But the arrival of his son early in his chef career also forced Quintana to reevaluate his life goals. “I can’t say that prior to leaving the restaurant industry that I had a work/life balance. I worked long days, late nights, holidays, weekends, and missed family events,” Quintana recalls. Quintana’s current role as a corporate chef at Compass Group has allowed him to achieve that balance, typically so elusive in the food world. Now, Quintana has traded late nights for lazy Sunday mornings with his family. “I have three kids and can say for the first time that I haven’t had to miss anything with my youngest. I work Mon. - Fri. and am able to be home for dinner every night.” And for family meals at home, Quintana has help. “My 5-year-old daughter has definitely taken an interest to helping me in the kitchen and gets her stool and cutting board ready when she sees me cooking. She loves mixing things and has deemed herself the best ‘egg cracker.’” On Easter Sunday, instead of gelling agents and pâtéen-croute, it was silver-dollar pancakes, cut-up bananas and confetti-colored sprinkles. “In the shape of the Easter Bunny,” Quintana says. Marc Jacksina, host of the culinary video series Order/Fire, slowly backed away from restaurant kitchens before assuming his current role as executive sous chef at Southminster retirement community. “Being able to go running with my wife on a Saturday, or pack the family up to go hiking or kayaking — when in the past I would have been cooking brunch for strangers and their families — feels like a bigger accomplishment than cooking at the James Beard House,” says Jacksina, who cooked at the southparkmagazine.com | 67
PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY MATHEW KRENZ
Former Asbury chef Matthew Krenz, who now works for Sycamore Brewing, took 14 months off to spend with his infant daughter, Annie.
“I can’t say that prior to leaving the restaurant industry that I had a work/life balance. I worked long days, late nights, holidays, weekends, and missed family events,” chef David Quintana recalls. prestigious New York dining room in 2012. Ironically, while he now finds more time than ever to spend with his two teenage sons, at work he’s cooking for elderly diners, a population most at-risk during the pandemic. “Our biggest challenges on a daily basis include creating moments and offering a sense of calmness for our staff, as well as our residents,” Jacksina says.
ON THE OTHER SIDE... Most chefs find little time away from the restaurant to cook in their home kitchens. While the post-cornovirus future of the industry is uncertain, a cadre of Charlotte chefs had a chance to catch their breath in this rare air — taking advan 68
tage of an anomalous schedule to spend more time at home and with their children. Because, added to the list of growing responsibilities these professionals now face, they’re also dads. When asked about any special moments during this stretch at home, Coleman describes what essentially is an every-weekend occurrence for most families with young children — only with better food: Tostadas with coal-grilled flank steak from Shipley Farms, a fire in the backyard and s’mores with the kids. After being closed for six weeks, Goodyear House resumed delivery and curbside pickup on May 2 and planned to reopen its dining room as soon as government restrictions were lifted, Coleman says. During the down time, the business expanded its patio, adding 73 seats and space that eventually will be used for corn hole, bocce ball and a kids’ play area. The owners had planned to build out the space later in the year but accelerated those plans to provide more socially distant seating. The restaurant was among the lucky ones who received a PPP loan to help get through the early days of the shutdown, but the long-term effects of the pandemic on the industry are yet to be seen. “Like the rest of the world, our state, our city and NoDa, we don’t know how the other side of this looks,” Coleman said in that Instagram post announcing The Goodyear House’s temporary closure. On this side, however, Coleman and other culinary professionals saw a glimpse of what life should be like for those making the daily sacrifice to walk away from birthday parties, from recitals, from weddings, from little leagues. They do this work so we can have a family dinner. They do it so their kids can eat. “That said, we know one thing,” Coleman continued. “We have lost no love, no appreciation, no optimism for the future. … Keep your chin up and enjoy your family. We love you.” SP
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man VINYL SHOP OWNER DILLON SMITH BUILT A COMMUNITY OF MUSIC LOVERS — AND A BUSINESS THAT PUTS FAMILY FIRST. BY ERIN BREEDEN PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN DRISCOLL
oble Records is a little off the beaten path. Located in a strip center on E. Independence Rd. that’s anchored by a massive Elevation Church, you might drive right past the small shop without even noticing. When you walk through the doors, you’ll see racks of vinyl, some music memorabilia and a casual seating area where customers can take a break from browsing. Behind the counter, a man with a beard and friendly eyes greets you and inquires how he can help you today. Dillon Smith, 32, is the owner of Noble Records. After nearly a decade selling records online and at popups at local coffee shops and breweries, the vinyl reseller opened a brick-and-mortar location in October. The Matthews shop, located just across the parking lot from a South 21 burger restaurant, is a place where everyone from the serious collector to the vinyl newbie can gather to shop and talk music. “I wanted to have a brick-and-mortar store since I was a kid,” Smith says. “I remember being 14 or 15 and being like, ‘I can’t find records anywhere. When I grow up, I’m going to start a record store.’ That was ridiculous at the time, but now it works. It’s amazing where the trend has gone to make it possible.” But it wasn’t until Smith became a father that he started seriously thinking about opening his own shop — after he saw the impact music had on others, and especially when it came to the well-being of his oldest son, Noble.
Dillon and Emily Smith at Noble Records’ Matthews store
mith grew up in a music-loving family in Midland, less than an hour east of Charlotte in Cabarrus County. Some of his earliest memories involve his mother’s collection of Bob Dylan records and his aunt’s turntable. “I would go up to visit my cousins, and we would mess around with the turntable,” Smith remembers. “Then I kind of started picking up records and collecting records. Eventually, I got a turntable of my own, and that’s how it all started for me.” In his early teens, Smith started listening to classic rock such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath that he could learn to play on the guitar. It was his guitar that also eventually led him to meet his wife, Emily, 34. “My wife is a great musician, and we met when we both played music for our church. We started doing southparkmagazine.com | 71
“I thought, everything I do from here on out is going to be for my kids, so the day we named him, we also renamed the business. That day it became Noble Records.” 72
coffee-shop gigs together,” Smith says. “We were friends, and we played those gigs for a while before she fell in love with me. I fell in love with her immediately,” he laughs. “It took her a couple of years to fall for me.” When they got married in 2010, Smith was between jobs with just a little over $200 to his name. It was around this time that he connected with a man who would change the course of his life. “In 2010, records weren’t big like they are now, but I found this guy who had owned a record store in Chicago,” Smith recalls. “He moved to Charlotte and was going to open a record store here and never did. He had 7,000 records that were still sealed, from the late ’80s and early ’90s. I asked him, ‘How much money do you want for everything?’ and he asked how much money I had in my pocket. I said ‘$200 is all I got,’ and he took it. So that’s how I started selling records.” Smith started selling vinyl on Craigslist, originally branding the business as DAE Smith Records (DAE stood for Dillon And Emily). That changed in 2013, on the day their son, Noble, was born.
Noble Records plans to resume its popular pop-up sales, such as this one at Divine Barrel Brewing in September, later in 2020.
“I thought, everything I do from here on out is going to be for my kids, so the day we named him, we also renamed the business. That day it became Noble Records.” Almost three years later, little brother Cannon was born. Smith was still selling records online and had a job he enjoyed at a fiber-optic manufacturing plant. It was during this time that the couple became concerned that 3-year-old Noble still wasn’t talking or reaching other milestones typical for his age. The Smiths took their son to a neurologist, and Noble was diagnosed with autism. Soon after, he started therapy and other treatments. Noble’s doctor leveled with Smith and told him that his schedule at work, which included a lot of 12-hour night shifts, was affecting Noble’s progress. Noble, who like many autistic children has difficulty sleeping, would stay up all night waiting for his father to come home. “Noble thrives on a schedule, and my shifts were really hard on him. That was the best job I ever had. … It had really good benefits, health care coverage, just everything. But I had to quit for him.” To make money to support his son’s therapy, Smith started
playing music on the side and got more serious about selling his records. Having amassed a huge vinyl collection over the years, he decided to sell all of it. His intention was to shut the business down so he could look for another job, but his customers had other plans for him. After selling a few high-ticket albums and launching a series of pop-up sales, more money started coming in. A community of music lovers formed, and they would prove not only to be devoted customers but also invaluable supporters of the Smiths as they sought new treatments for their son. In early 2018, Noble Records began planning one of its largest pop-ups to date at Divine Barrel Brewing on N. Davidson St. Proceeds from sales of records, T-shirts and other merchandise would be set aside for a new treatment for Noble. “We had done all the therapy and treatments our doctors had recommended, but … we wanted to try something that was more holistic,” Smith says. A doctor in New Mexico offered an alternative therapy with a high success rate of helping autistic children learn to communicate. But it would involve taking the family on a cross-country trek. “We knew Noble southparkmagazine.com | 73
During North Carolina’s stay-at-home order, Noble Records closed temporarily while continuing to sell records and T-shirts online. Believers in the healing power of music, the Smiths started a program where people could buy records for others — a way to pay it forward to those who are out of work or have been impacted directly by COVID-19. wouldn’t be able to take a flight; we would have to drive. We knew we needed help, and that’s when we planned the pop-up.” Before the event in June 2018, Smith had not spoken publicly about his son’s autism diagnosis. He posted on Instagram about the pop-up and the need to raise money for Noble’s therapy. Even before the sale, people started sending donations. Someone offered the family a 15-passenger van for use as long as they needed it. At Divine Barrel, the community of music lovers that Smith had built showed up and offered generous support. Between donations and sales from the pop-up, the Smiths had more than enough money for Noble’s two-week treatment session. They left for Albuquerque later that summer in the borrowed van. “We were gone for a month. He had his treatments, but we were also able to go to the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and we drove through a bunch of cool states,” Smith says. “Since we had kids, we had never really had a vacation. This allowed us to really focus on our family and not to have to worry about money or anything like that. It was [restorative] for 74
our family to be able to just enjoy each other and get treatment for Noble.”
ince that summer, the Smiths put Noble, now 6, on a gluten-, dairy- and casein-free diet. Today, he is not only speaking, he’s singing. He is also sleeping through the night, something Smith never expected would happen. “Autism is a journey,” Smith says. “Nothing is going to just click and make everything normal. ... He’s not 100%, but we’re working on it. ... We want to be open and be active about helping him grow. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation with autism. It’s called a spectrum for a reason. One person with autism can be completely different from the next.” Smith had always wanted to open a physical store, but after seeing the changes in Noble he decided to actively pursue it. “My main reasoning for wanting to open a shop was to be more flexible, because I want to be part of his treatment.
I want to be active in that and to be more flexible to where I can have more time with him. That’s what really makes a difference, is the intentional time.” In the spring of 2019, the Smiths found the retail space in Matthews. They signed a lease in September, and the store officially opened in October. “I only work two to three days a week at the store, but even if I’m out looking for records or collections, a lot of times my family comes with me. … It becomes an adventure.” Emily decorated the store, and there is even a room in the back for Noble and Cannon, now 3, to watch movies. Current favorites include Zootopia and Turbo. “I want [Noble Records] to be a place where people can come in and talk about music and hang out. We have a good family vibe in here, and people bring their kids in. Kids jump on the couch and run around, and it’s totally cool.” Smith says that when people find out about Noble’s journey, they want to talk about autism. “You know, through our story, I want to give people hope. I think it helps them understand autism a little bit better.” Noble loves music and likes to play the piano. At the time we spoke, he especially loved the Beatles. In this store, family and music go hand-in-hand. SP
“Autism is a journey. Nothing is going to just click and make everything normal. ... It’s not a one-sizefits-all situation with autism. It’s called a spectrum for a reason.” southparkmagazine.com | 75
moxie A BASEMENT REDESIGN SHOWS YOU DONâ€™T HAVE TO SPEND A FORTUNE TO CREATE AN INSPIRED LIVING SPACE. BY CATHERINE RUTH KELLY PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN DRISCOLL
rawing inspiration from an array of local artisans, a SouthPark homeowner recently refreshed the basement of her three-story townhome. By mixing their works with family heirlooms and vintage pieces, the remodel highlights the homeowner’s signature bohemian style while keeping the budget to a minimum. “My vision was to have a cool hangout for my boys and their friends, as well an area for me to entertain — a multifunctioning, beautiful space for our family that didn’t break the bank,” explains the mother of two. Through her work in the local fashion and design sectors, the homeowner has met a variety of artists and designers, and she used her basement project as an opportunity to showcase their work. “I’ve met so many talented artists in Charlotte who have inspired me, and incorporating their work helped create a special, meaningful space for my family,” she says.
“You can surround yourself with beauty without spending a fortune,” the homeowner says. “I always gravitate toward items that have history or a special meaning to me.” The inspiration for the “adult” side of the room was a mixed-media ink and resin painting by Amanda Moody. The piece’s vibrant colors are echoed in the soft hues of the velvet chairs, lacquered console and ceramic lamps, all vintage and sourced by Ariene Bethea of Dressing Room Interiors Studio.
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The gold velvet curtains from IKEA accent the ambertoned lucite chairs and round table, which interior designer Ashley DeLapp, a friend of the homeowner, found on Modway, a midcentury modern furniture distributor. Another family friend, Steven King of FirstRate Home Improvement, installed the artwork and lighting, including the retro globe pendant fixture. The vintage Turkish rug is from Krazy for Rugs.
Amanda Moody’s custom “Sugar Skull” wallpaper, installed by Vicki Turner of Vicki’s Custom Walls, transformed the utilitarian half bath into a glamorous powder room. The homeowner painted the cabinets dark blue to match the countertop and added brass hardware by Addison Weeks. The design was completed by a capiz shell mirror, monogrammed hand towels by E.F. Chandler Linens and flowers by Shelly St. Laurent of Foxglove Fine Flowers. 78
The homeowner’s first calls were to her interior-designer friend and neighbor Ashley DeLapp and her vintage furniture-loving friend Ariene Bethea, who owns Dressing Room Interiors Studio. DeLapp and Bethea collaborated on the wall color, a deep purple called Acai Berry by Benjamin Moore. “Painting is the quickest way to update a room,” Bethea says. “The dark purple is a perfect complement to many of the pieces [the homeowner] already had and a versatile backdrop for the multipurpose aspect of the space.” Much of the existing furniture and accessories in the home were hand-me-downs or repurposed items, including many items found in thrift stores. Blending new purchases with cherished collectibles creates a layered, curated look in a room, and it is often more affordable, the homeowner says. “You can surround yourself with beauty without spending a fortune,” she says. “I always gravitate toward items that have history or a special meaning to me.” She incorporates sentimental items such as family photographs, needlepoint pillows and monogrammed linens in her home decor. “Decorating with meaningful things personalizes a room,” she says. “They add warmth and depth, and they are great conversation starters.” SP
An oil painting of Charlotte’s skyline by Lindsay Hawfield Jones is the focal point of the “kids” side of the basement. The antique burlwood console was sourced by designer April Carlisle. The boys’ pingpong table was a welcome hand-me-down from a neighbor.
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|swirl A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
2020 We Believe Luncheon benefiting YWCA Central Carolinas Feb. 20, The Westin Charlotte
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
Rabbi Judy Schindler and Kirsten Sikkelee
Larken Egleston, Becky Carney and Malcolm Graham
A few morning snowflakes didn’t keep guests away from YWCA’s annual luncheon, filling the Westin hotel ballroom to near capacity. Among the highlights was the announcement of The Gambrell Foundation’s $3 million pledge toward an affordable housing project at YWCA’s Park Road campus.
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Sally Gambrell Bridgford and Mayor Vi Lyles
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A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
“What Are You Carrying?” a benefit for HopeWay Feb. 5, Quail Hollow Club WCCB news anchor Morgan Fogarty emceed the 2nd annual handbag auction raising money and awareness for mental health.
Morgan Liles, Millie McArdle, Emily Johnson and Katie Young
Caroline Penland and Donna de Molina
Katie Coble and Dana Galli
Jennifer George and Amanda Hollingsworth
Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte Gala a benefit for Charlotte Ballet and six local charities Mar. 7, Knight Theater
Jerry and Midge Barron
Fred Shropshire and Sarah French
Nina Austin and Josh Hall
Rasu Shrestha and Sarah Hayes Harkins
Juwan Alston and Jill Olsmstead
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRANDON SCOTT
Charlotte Ballet’s annual dance competition featured six community and corporate leaders and raised more than $1.4 million for the professional dance company and various charitable organizations. Jill Olmstead won the fundraising prize, while Martin Godwin took home the judges’ prize.
|swirl A monthly guide to Charlotteâ€™s parties and galas
Beans & Bundles benefiting Baby Bundles Feb. 25, Myers Park Presbyterian Church
Cyndi Schumann and Leonie Appel
Mallory Miller and Blair Scheuer
Catherine Miller and Katherine Kenney
Cullen Jones and Sarah Trimmer
Anne Ishee, Christina Desai and Kristina Hoops
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
Tracy Denning and Lucy DesPortes
Brian Boone, Dale Boozer, Kay and Marty Sowers
This yearâ€™s Baby Bundles luncheon attracted its largest crowd ever, with more than 500 attending. Bill Whitley was the keynote speaker, and Kay Sowers was presented with the 2020 Kathy Boozer Boone Leadership Award. Baby Bundles provides essential necessities to newborn mothers.
Sarah Walker and Adelaide Spizer
Robert Grant, Kevin Ballantine and George Webb
Rebecca Brown and Amy Hines
Melinda Edge and Neely Purcell
Emily Harry, Heather Leavitt and Cat Long southparkmagazine.com | 85
A monthly guide to Charlotteâ€™s parties and galas
Art With Heart benefiting SafeAlliance Feb. 29, Elder Art Gallery The Art With Heart live and silent auction celebrated its 20th anniversary by raising more than $115,000 for SafeAlliance, which helps those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.
Amanda Foshag and Mikel Frank
Rusty and Courtney Salton
Mike and Tana Greene
Amanda and Adam Cannavo
Ava Connelly and Meredith Connelly
Jennifer Gibbs, Sonya Pfeiffer and Ivi Bilich
Alex Giles, Kristen Miranda, Amanda Cannavo and Karen Parker
Jennifer and Jason Campbell
Carrie Foust, Elisha Cutter and Melissa Herriott
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
Esther and Stephen Moorehead
|swirl A monthly guide to Charlotteâ€™s parties and galas
Lupus Mardi Gras Gala benefiting the Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina chapter Feb. 22, Founders Hall Patrons feasted, danced and raised money for a good cause at the 14th annual Lupus Mardi Gras Gala. The New Orleans-themed event included a casino and raffle and the coronation of the gala king and queen.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
Jody Hartsell, Lea Hartsell, David and Crecia Keller
Todd Dickerson, Amy French and Kalis Egolf
Jill Long and Jenny Prince
Ashley Daley and Charles Fitzpatrick
Todd Dickerson and Sean Luther
Barb Meyer and Mariette Riemann
Bianca Pau and Andrew Chan
Sarah and John Komisin southparkmagazine.com | 87
AS THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CHARLOTTE ART LEAGUE, JIM DUKES AIMS TO USE ART TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION. BY VANESSA INFANZON
How did you become interested in photography? I realized I needed a creative outlet. I saw a thing where veterans were doing music, and I can’t sing or dance or play an instrument. I was broke. I was living with my mom and going to rehab. I realized I had my cell phone. It had a camera and it allowed me to take pictures and see the world through a different lens. Instead of seeing all the things around me that could kill me, I was able to focus on the beauty around me and get out of my head. How will Charlotte Art League grow under your leadership? Exhibits are going to be more fun, more socially conscious and discussion-oriented. Exhibit openings are going to be more event-related, panel
discussions based on the issues that we’re bringing up. We should be using art to facilitate communication. Artists want that opportunity, and we have a lot to talk about in this community. How will Charlotte’s art community bounce back after shelter-in-place restrictions? I know that we are rallying together to form a stronger bond and voice. Experiencing life without art may be an interesting thing — an absence of something may make your heart grow fonder for it. How often did you sit around during [stay-at-home orders] wanting to go to the opera? Or go to a play, or go to your favorite bar and hear your favorite guy play the guitar? Or check out some art? All of these are components to our activities and, whether we know it or not, it’s wired into how we do things. We’re trying to make these connections and collaborations to prove to the community that we are vital. SP
PHOTOGRAPHS BY AMANDA HENDLY & JIM DUKES
im Dukes never considered a career in art. His left-brain skills led him to a job as a bomb technician. Spending four years in Iraq disarming bombs for a defense contractor, he suffered five brain injuries from the blasts, causing post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety as well as permanent blindness in one eye and hearing loss. After he returned from Iraq in 1996, Dukes worked at an engineering design and construction-management firm in Charlotte and Raleigh until 2013. He struggled with substance abuse, getting sober in 2016. Dukes turned to photography to heal from his experiences and find a way to support himself. He served as an artist in residence at Tapp’s Outpost, an incubator for entrepreneurs in Columbia, S.C., and as director of healing art programs at the Big Red Barn Retreat, a center in Blythewood, S.C., that provides programs for active-duty military and veterans. On June 1, Dukes succeeds Cindy Connelly as executive director of Charlotte Art League. CAL opened in 1965 as a nonprofit organization to support emerging and professional regional artists. Today, CAL occupies 9,500 square feet in a renovated warehouse across from the Sugar Creek Station in northeast Charlotte. The location has 30 artist studios and event and classroom space. There are more than 200 members, with interests in assemblage, mixed media, jewelry- and
quilt-making, painting, photography, and spoken word. Comments were edited for brevity and clarity.
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