IBX Fiction: by Erica Plouffe Lazure, Brian Lampkin, Dean M. Tuck IBX Film: Mattamuskeet Videos‟ Awards & “Beyond Burlington” Ralph Scott on May 2010 Civil War Bus Tour Led by Professor David Long Ben B. Cahoon on Swan Quarter Revitalization ChooseAneed.org: Inner Banks Ingenuity Guides International Aid Efforts Emerge Gallery & Art Center Becomes Pitt County Arts Council
Welcome to North Carolina‟s Inner Banks!
Come home to North Carolina‟s Inner Banks IBXHOMES.com brings you comprehensive, up-to-date real estate offerings from across
North Carolina’s Inner Banks region, including resort and retirement homes, town homes and condominiums, commercial properties, raw land and office and manufacturing facilities. North Carolina’s Inner Banks region offers more than 3,000 miles of largely undeveloped coastline; two deep water ports; numerous rivers, estuaries, lakes, the Albemarle Sound and the Pamlico Sound; the Intracoastal Waterway; rail; the state ferry system; the 29-county regional hospital network of University Health Systems; and, 36 institutions of higher learning.
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Volume 1, Issue 4
Welcome to North Carolina‟s Inner Banks!
CONTENTS Inner Banks News
North Carolina’s Inner Banks towns and counties offer 4 these unparalleled assets:
6 20,000+ square miles of lush
IBX Fiction Erica Plouffe Lazure 10
Dean M. Tuck
IBX Features Emerge Gallery
W. Keats Sparrow Remembered
Civil War Tour
IBX Tourism Info
landscape—three times the size of New Jersey 3,000 miles of largely undeveloped inland coastline (the Inner Banks) Inexpensive real estate, relative to many markets Temperate climate Pristine rivers Albemarle and Pamlico sounds Intracoastal Waterway: ICW Two deep water ports State Ferry System 29-county hospital network of University Health Systems 36 universities, colleges and community colleges
Celebrating Inner Banks Film and Fiction In this issue we are very pleased to present short stories by three talented Inner Banks writers: Erica Plouffe Lazure, Brian Lampkin and Dean Marshal Tuck. Also, ―IBX Lifestyles‖ celebrates the work of three successful IBX film productions, two on the wildlife sanctuaries at Lake Mattamuskeet and Pungo Lake as well as a documentary on one man’s struggle to invent a new career for himself in ―Beyond Burlington.‖ There’s much more inside. Enjoy!
4 „NE Loop‟ plan gets life from stimulus A long-discussed large-scale fiber optic network in northeastern North Carolina is closer to becoming a reality, with help of the federal stimulus package passed by Congress. Nicholas Didow, a business professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discussed his group’s plan for a broadband network with local government and business leaders on Wednesday at an Albemarle Economic Development Commission meeting. The $40 million proposal expects to create a ―Middle Mile‖ network from Raleigh to Norfolk, Va., in what UNC officials are calling the Northeast North Carolina Initiative, headed by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Read more: http://www.dailyadvance.com/news/ne-loop-plan-gets-life-from-stimulus-1013779.html
N.C. Creative Industry $41 Billion, Employs Nearly 300,000 N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle today unveiled the findings of new research which shows that the Creative Industry in North Carolina accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs, just over 5 ½ percent of the state’s workforce, and contributes $41.4 billion to North Carolina’s economy. Read more: http://news.ncdcr.gov/2009/11/24/nc-creative-industry-41-billion-employs-nearly-300000
The Arrival of the Swans at Mattamuskeet Mattamuskeet Lake is the winter birding capital of the Inner Banks Pocosin. Tucked away in a sparsely populated corner of eastern North Carolina, Mattamuskeet attracts thousands of waterfowl each year. The Tundra Swan, or whistling swan, spends the breeding season on land, but during the winter prefers to sleep on the water. The swans migrate from Alaska and Canada every fall to winter here in North Carolina. The best viewing area is to drive along NC 94 between Fairfield and Swan Quarter. There are numerous overlooks and visitors will find that the setting sun provides excellent lighting to watch the swans return in the evening after feeding on neighboring fields. To learn more, visit: www.hydewaterfowl.com
UNC study: N.C. coastal communities to grow faster than state, nation The economies of Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties are forecast to grow 4 percent during 2010, faster than the state and nation, according to a study from economists at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. North Carolina is expected to grow 1.5 percent. Local, state and national economies are forecast to exit the recession late this year. Read more: http://triangle.bizjournals.com/triangle/stories/2009/10/05/daily22.html
NC-DOT provides money for Inner Banks music trail The state transportation department is providing more than $250,000 for a project that will tell the story of African-American musicians in eastern North Carolina. Read more: http://www.ibxlifestyles.com/news.php?extend.42
Duke Energy, UNC sign deal for Pamlico Sound wind turbines Duke Energy and the University of North Carolina say they have signed a contract to place wind turbines in the Pamlico Sound. The Charlotte Observer reported on its Web site Tuesday that Duke and UNC said they have signed a contract to place one to three wind turbines in the sound. The move could be the first step toward utility-scale wind farms on the North Carolina coast. Read more: http://hamptonroads.com/2009/10/duke-energy-unc-sign-deal-pamlico-sound-wind-turbines
N.C. Wesleyan installs new president IBX Lifestyles welcomes new president who hails from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. N.C. Wesleyan College has the real potential to become America’s next great university, the new president of the college said in his inauguration speech. Read more: http://www.ibxlifestyles.com/news.php?extend.47
Shipwreck of CSS Appomattox Confirmed The CSS Appomattox went down in flames in 1862 as her Confederate crew set her ablaze while fleeing Union forces. A team of volunteer divers has located the Civil War shipwreck and its identity has been confirmed by the Underwater Archaeology Branch, N.C. Office of Archives and History in the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. A silver-plated spoon inscribed with ―J Skerritt‖ discovered by the divers was critical to establishing the identity of the wreck. The volunteer divers knew that the Appomattox crew was on loan from the Confederate ironclad Virginia. Upon searching the Virginia’s crew list, reference was found to sailor James Skerritt. The divers turned the research over to the state’s underwater archaeologists along with the spoon. Read more: http://www.ibxlifestyles.com/news.php?extend.49
The Wilmington Shipyard: Welding a Fleet for Victory in WWII Ralph Scott‟s new book, featured in the Summer „09 issue of “IBX Lifestyles” magazine! Copies are available at your local North Carolina book seller, from Amazon.com, and from The History Press.
The History Press 18 Percy Street Charleston, SC 29403 843.577.5971
Accepting Betts Fiction Prize Competition Short Story Submissions The North Carolina Literary Review is now accepting submissions for the 2010 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers Network and the North Carolina Literary Review. First prize is $250. The winning story and finalists will be considered for publication in NCLR. Submit short stories of up to 6000 words by February 1. For eligibility guidelines and submission instructions, go to the North Carolina Writers' Network web site at: http://www.ncwriters.org/programs-and-services/competitions/19competitions/25-doris-betts-fiction-prize
North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by and interviews with North Carolina writers, and articles and essays about North Carolina writers, literature, and literary history and culture. The North Carolina Literary Review is edited by Dr. Margaret Bauer and is available here: http://www.ecu.edu/nclr/
ENC Film Commission Congratulates Mattamuskeet Foundation on Award-Winning Productions Mattamuskeet Foundation Wildlife Videos Win Twenty-five Awards In November of 2006, the nonprofit Mattamuskeet Foundation released a unique wildlife video in DVD format entitled, ―A Winter Day – Lake Mattamuskeet,‖ filmed entirely on Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in Hyde County. STRS Productions of Washington, N.C., filmed and produced the hour-long video for the foundation. Dr. Lewis Forrest, executive director of the Mattamuskeet Foundation, served as the executive producer for the project. Twentytwo individuals and organizations made the production possible by contributing financially with gifts, grants, and sponsorships. According to Forrest, this video has been very successful in independent film competitions across America and has received ten international film awards. In May of 2008, the Mattamuskeet Foundation released the second video in the Winter Day series, entitled, ―A Winter Day – Pungo Lake,‖ and filmed entirely on the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Again, Blake and Emily Scott of STRS Productions handled all filming and post-production duties, while thirty-four individuals and organizations sponsored the production costs. In just eighteen months, this film has received fifteen international awards in independent film competitions. Like the Mattamuskeet film, this video has no humans and no narration. Both films present wildlife, the natural sounds of the wildlife, and an original music score to complement the stunning visual scenes. The Pungo Lake film is in High Definition and both films have Surround Sound audio. According to Forrest, ―Our research shows that it is unusual for one independent film to receive more than two or three awards, and for these two films produced by a local production company and two individuals who are natives of Beaufort County to have received twenty-five awards is very rare.‖ The foundation and STRS Productions entered the films for consideration for these awards. Independent producers from around the world enter thousands of videos each year in each of these competitions. The judges in the awards programs evaluate each video independently based on its own merits. In more than half of the competitions, the Winter Day films received the top-level awards. Forrest said that the Mattamuskeet Foundation and STRS Productions jointly entered thirty-three competitions to win the twenty-five awards, a success rate of seventy-six percent. Forrest stated that the foundation hopes to expand the Winter Day series if funding and sponsors are forthcoming. Meanwhile, STRS Productions has produced two more wildlife videos in a separate series, entitled ―Refuge – Mattamuskeet,‖ and ―Refuge – Pocosin Lakes.‖ UNC-TV agreed to air both of these productions on its eleven-station public network across North Carolina and began broadcasting ―Refuge – Mattamuskeet‖ before Thanksgiving. UNC-TV premiered the ―Refuge – Mattamuskeet‖ in High Definition on December 27. The Mattamuskeet Foundation is a lead sponsor for the broadcast version of the two Refuge films. STRS Productions is currently filming two more wildlife videos for the Refuge series––on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County and on Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuge in Hyde County. According to Forrest, ―The Refuge series is winning awards in the same competitions that have honored the Winter Day series, further demonstrating that the Scotts are gifted in filming wildlife and producing high-quality educational films.‖ Forrest explained that the video, ―A Winter Day – Lake Mattamuskeet,‖ is the first wildlife film ever produced by Blake and Emily Scott. Forrest said that while the Scotts have been producing videos for about fifteen years, prior to this work they filmed large music concerts, training films, conferences, weddings, and other special events. ―With wildlife, the Scotts have found their special talent,‖ Forrest stated, ―and they fully deserve the recognition their work is receiving from these independent film competitions.‖
To order copies of the Winter Day or Refuge films in DVD format, contact Dr. Lewis Forrest at 252-3417882. To view short trailers of the wildlife videos on the Internet and to purchase copies online, visit www.awinterday.com and www. refugewildlife.com. The Mattamuskeet Foundation, 4377 Lewis Lane Road, Ayden, NC, 28513-7523; 252.746.4698; email@example.com
“A Winter Day—Lake Mattamuskeet Among the ten awards won:
2007, Aegis Awards, Documentary, Winner
2007, Telly Awards, Silver
2008, Hermes Awards, Documentary, Gold
2008, Communicator Awards, Award of Excellence
“A Winter Day—Pungo Lake” Among the fifteen awards won:
2008 Videographer Awards, Award of Distinction
2008 DV Awards, Cinematography, Winner
2009 Indie Fest Awards, Award of Merit
2009 Hermes Award, Documentary, Gold
“Beyond Burlington” Growing up in the small town of Newport, North Carolina, James Gould enjoyed discovering unique stories in everyday life. However, it wasn't until he came to East Carolina University that he realized that this was an art form. ―Ever since then, I have been captivated by the art of sharing life through the moving image. A documentary, like a passport, can take you to a place where you might otherwise never go,‖ says Gould. The idea for the film Beyond Burlington came to Director James Gould through the relationship he developed with Charles Pryor and his family. ―One day while talking with Charles on his front porch, he told me the story about losing his job at Burlington Industries’ Reidsville Drapery Plant. That story encouraged me at a time in my life when much of my future was uncertain.‖ said Gould. Charles Pryor, age 43, had worked at Burlington Industries for over 22 years. It was understood that Charles would take the place of his father, Dewey Pryor, as plant engineer. On November 15, 2001, five days after his father passed away, Charles lost his job when Burlington Industries filed for bankruptcy. Cheaper textile imports had brought the world’s leading textile company to its knees and left Charles and his family without income. Instead of returning to the workforce, Charles decided to use his creativity and passion to provide for his family by rebuilding classic cars and selling them on the Internet. The film Gould created revisits the week Charles lost his father and his job, but the focus of the film is about what life is like now for Charles and his family. The film follows the family as they make ends meet during the severe economic downturn of 2008. The most difficult aspect of making the film for Gould and his Producer Alexandra Jones was creating Burlington Industries as a character in the film that would be relevant to younger generations. In the first screening it became evident that, for some of the audience who had never heard of Burlington Industries, the impact of the plant closing was lost. ―After that screening my producer and I began the search for archival footage that would help audiences understand the impact of Burlington Industries,‖ said Gould. The filmmakers were able to locate old commercials produced by Burlington Industries as well as a home video of the demolishing of Burlington Industries Headquarters in Greensboro, NC. The filmmakers also added an interview with Craig Caldwell who had been a plant manager of the Reidsville facility during its prime. The interview and commercials, combined with shots of the demolition of the industries’ headquarters, evolved into a powerful scene for the movie. Gould says the most rewarding aspect of creating this film was working with the Pryor family. ―In this case I had the opportunity to tell the story of someone with whom I am very close. The process turned into a collaborative work involving me, my producer and the Pryor family. The trust that was built between me and the family allowed me to capture very real and moving moments that I believe are the reason this film has been so well received.‖ The film ―Beyond Burlington‖ won the Best Documentary category at the East Carolina Film Festival as well as the 2009 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Grant from The University. Gould plans to submit the film to other film festivals in the coming year, including The Carolina Film and Video Festival and The Reynolda Film Festival. Read more: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=91528510651
Private Equity Investors Seek to Purchase Inner Banks Commercial, Governmental and Professional Properties Sale & sale-leaseback opportunities available on desirable properties IBX Homes and Land LLC of Greenville, North Carolina, represents an international private equity fund seeking to purchase properties in the following classes:
Commercial; Office; Medical; Institutional/Town & County Governmental; Mixed-Use; and, Industrial.
As a result of the international marketing efforts of IBX Homes and Land LLC (dba www.ibxhomes.com and www.ibxlifestyles.com), private equity investors and real estate investment trusts are discovering opportunities for long-term investment appreciation in the eastern North Carolina Inner Banks market as well as in leisure and resort markets across North Carolina. These long-term investors seek to purchase commercial, governmental and professional propertiesâ€”e.g., retail centers, mixed-use developments, hotels, medical, dental and legal practicesâ€”at or near current appraised values. If you, your clients, associates and/or friends are interested in selling commercial and/or professional properties, including the option of sale-leasebacks, our client wishes to evaluate qualifying properties and, in the case of those properties that meet its criteria, to finalize offers within 15 days in most cases. Contact: Harvey S. Wooten at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Erica Plouffe Lazure
Erica Plouffe Lazure received her master's degree from East Carolina University, with a concentration in creative writing. While living in Greenville, she also worked for the ECU News Bureau. Erica also has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is currently the 2009-10 George Bennett writer-in-residence at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly, the Greensboro Review, and Booth, a new literary magazine published by Butler University. Her story "Spawning Season" was published in the 2007 issue of the North Carolina Literary Review, which featured "100 Years of Writers and Writing at ECU."
Eavesdropping on the private lives of fish and insects for the past twenty years had convinced Fred
Murphy that he was never alone. Every summer, Murphy would lie in a field or boat somewhere with his microphone and headset, collecting data, listening for signs of life and love. He was never disappointed. Some nights he caught the whirring screech of the male cicada. At other times, on the shores of the Pamlico River, he’d hone in on the peculiar boops of the sea trout or the red drum. And in the background, if he listened carefully, he could hear much more than that: the murmured march of ants underground or the frazzled buzz of the mosquito. Sometimes the rush of wind would chafe the surface of the calm estuary, and he would take in that, too. Listening to the chatter through the headset made the world seem full and rich, amplified and isolated, all at once. On occasion, out in a field at dusk, someone would find him. Usually, it was a lone man and his unleashed dog. Other times, a few jar-clutching children on the hunt for fireflies. He was never surprised. Footfalls have a way of interrupting the natural flow and swish of wind, especially in a field, and the microphone could cue him in better than any bloodhound. Something is always there to keep you company, Murphy believed, should you care to listen. He tried to explain all of this one day to Martina Finch, the Biology Department secretary at Eastern College. Before she delivered the bees to his office, Murphy had never paid her much attention, although he wasn’t blind to her charms. Every time he entered the department office for a package or an appointment, her head would turn at a perfect ninety-degree angle, her smile ready, determined to accommodate. When she typed, which was often, her spine straightened and her breasts would somehow angle up, trapped by wooly sweaters, which she wore even in the summer. Her left hand winked bright with jewels; he had heard she was getting married. When the last of the students cleared out for the summer, Murphy would stop by the office nearly every day to see if his kitchen bees had arrived. He had never really set out to become a keeper of bees, and how he came to have a hive happened as a kind of a mistake to begin with. After a while, he found that he rather liked the hymenoptera order; he liked their busyness and sense of purpose, even after the swarming debacle back in April. One afternoon, Murphy heard a rhythmic click and buzz in the hallway. It grew louder and stopped in front of the door to his office. There he found Martina Finch in the hall holding a box from the Beeline Apiary in Medina, Ohio. ―Well, aren’t you nice, lugging those bees up two flights of stairs for me?‖ Murphy said. ―You must have known how bad I wanted ’em.‖ Martina didn’t look happy. Her lipstick had smudged and her whole face seemed ridged with worry. ―You’ve been on the phone awhile, right?‖ Martina said. She was out of breath. ―I’ve been calling all day. I just couldn’t keep a box of bees in my office any longer. They’re so – loud.‖ She smiled in that sad, Southern way. Murphy knew that look. He used to see it in his mother all the time back in Tennessee. All teeth, no eyes. Murphy found his phone under a shuffle of papers, apologized, and put it back on the hook. ―Those bees can buzz, can’t they? There’s about twenty thousand in there. An entire hive,‖ he said. ―With queen. For what’s left of my kitchen bees.‖ She held the buzzing box with the tips of her fingers, as though it might explode. ―Kitchen – bees?‖
―Yeah. There was a mutiny a few months back,‖ he said. ―The workers reared up, killed the queen, and swarmed to a tree in my yard. The others who stayed are all outta whack. The hive is a mess. I’ll go right now to get these gals in there.‖ Martina looked skeptical as she wrestled with the box. Her narrow feet shifted in little pink sandals. He wondered how she managed to stand upright with all that height. Is this the source of the clicking noise? Could she run in those things? ―You had a beehive in your kitchen? With real bees?‖ she asked. He shook his head, snapping out of the spell of her feet. ―What other kind of beehive is there?‖ he asked. Martina looked thoughtful for a moment. ―Well, there’s the hairstyle,‖ she said, gesturing to the bun atop her head. Intrigued, he raised an eyebrow. He had not guessed her to be so funny. Beehive, indeed. ―But I have never heard of bees in a kitchen,‖ she said. ―Right, right,‖ he said. He supposed it did sound a bit strange. ―I was gone from my house for a month or so, and when I got back, my kitchen was just floating with bees. Everywhere. Turns out they had made up a hive in the corner cabinet, above the sink.‖ ―What did you do with the hive?‖ ―I kept them there for a while and left out a sugar solution. They have to eat, right? But the hive grew and there were a lot – I mean a lot – of bees. Did you know most bees are female? They hardly have use for the males, save for the queen. Boy, they’re fun to watch.‖ Martina shifted the box from one hip to the other. ―Did you call an exterminator?‖ ―Naw, I wouldn’t do that. I didn’t want them dead,‖ he said. ―When it got warm, I built them a little bee hut, a super. I smoked ’em out and took a scraper to their hive. So when they were good and calm, I brought ’em outside, took the honey, and that was that.‖ ―So you gave secondhand smoke to bees, then took their honey?‖ she asked. ―Hell, they ate my sugar. I considered it their rent for six months. I’ll bring you some.‖ ―Isn’t that dangerous? Won’t they get cancer, or something? From the smoke?‖ ―Nope. Smoke calms bees. And most insects got a good instinct about people. They can feel your intentions. Plus, I was wearing a net and some gloves, so – ‖ Martina shifted the box away from her hip, as though she suddenly remembered what was in it. ―Could you please take this? Now?‖ That Southern smile again. He glanced at her hand when he took the box. The engagement ring was gone. He was going to say something, but when he looked up at her, Martina was looking around, taking in the particulars of his office. Her head turned in that precise angle, one degree at a time, like the second hand on a clock. Murphy knew he didn’t keep the cleanest office, but in his defense, he had been at Eastern College for twenty years. He liked to collect things. That’s what he did. He considered most of the insects he kept, piled in old pickle and jam jars, to be research. He studied all kinds of species. One day, it’s cicadas, the next day fish. Murphy could see her take in all his anthropology stuff, the endless search for significance in the Kula ring and the potlatch, the human skeleton and fish bones and Maori shells. In the corner was the log -shaped didgeridoo that his ex-girlfriend Shelley had given him before he left Santa Cruz for North Carolina. Martina’s survey of his office stopped when her eyes fell upon his ponytail collection, just above his desk, amid the cardboard jewelry boxes and glass jars. They hung in various lengths and girths, the evolution of their shine and shade marking the past twenty-eight years. Every seven years, ever since his dad died, Murphy had cut his hair. He didn’t mean any symbolism or anything when he first did it, but his mother insisted that he look presentable for the funeral in Memphis. Those were different times. Shelley was still around, for one thing. She studied warm climate eels. Murphy had just started his post-doc in Santa Cruz, so he chopped off his ponytail at the office before he headed out to Memphis and threw the tail in a shoebox. When he came to North Carolina, alone (Shelley couldn’t bear to leave her eels), and started to unpack, he came across the first ponytail and tacked it to the shelf above his desk. He counted it out on his fingers and realized it had been seven years since he had cut his hair. When he found the shears in another box, he cut off the second tail, and tacked it up next to the first. Murphy figured it was a little strange, but they felt more like Continues next page bookmarks, or milestones, rather than long strands of rubber-bound protein.
―Spawning Season‖ continued
by Erica Plouffe Lazure
―There’s no real reason for those,‖ Murphy said. ―I just thought every seven years, I’d cut my hair.‖ He stroked the ponytail now falling below his shoulders. It had been a healthy seven years, although he was sure this time that there were a few more wiry whites mixed in than in the past. ―I think I’ll be ready to cut this one in the next few months.‖ Martina turned to inspect Murphy’s ponytail. He obliged her, turning his head and shoulders so she could see it. ―It’s like deciphering rings on a tree,‖ Martina said. Her hand reached out to touch one of the tails, but then she stopped herself. ―A dog’s year, each one.‖ Murphy did a quick calculation in his head. ―Actually, one human year equals seven dog years, so what you see here is um – 196 dog years. That means I am a very old dog.‖ Martina crossed her arms and looked at Murphy. He could tell she did not like to have her analogy messed with. He looked around the room. ―You ever hear a didgeridoo?‖ Murphy asked Martina. ―I’m a bit rusty, but check it out.‖ Murphy set down the box of bees and wrangled with the instrument until it stood waist-high between them. He picked it up and started to blow. Instead of producing a deep, creamy echo, Murphy sputtered a hollow groaning noise that filled the room. Martina covered her ears. She shook her head when Murphy motioned for her to try it out. ―Keep practicing, Professor,‖ she said. Murphy felt warm just then and wiped the spit from his lips. He set the didgeridoo down, and in that moment of silence the din of the bees grew louder. Martina waved at him and turned one hundred and eighty degrees, toward the door. Beehive hairdo. A dog’s year. Keep practicing. He could hear her sandals echo down the hallway. She was amazing. ―I will,‖ he called after her. ―Have a good weekend.‖ That evening, after he introduced the bees to the wooden super in the backyard and marked the queen with a big white dot, Murphy hitched up the rowboat trailer to his pickup and headed out to the estuary to listen to the spotted sea trout prepare to spawn at Rose Bay Creek, near the mouth of the Pamlico River. Out past Greenville, on the way to Little Washington, the highway shifts from a four-lane freeway to a rinky-dink back road that careens through the downtowns of Grimesland and Chocowinity. Mixed in with the rundown farmer’s mansions and trailer parks were acres of bright-leaf tobacco, about a dozen churches, and the occasional doublewide strip joint. He drove by the Piggly Wiggly Plaza and saw on the marquee ―Gwaltney Sausage For Sale.‖ He took in the advice of backlit signs from strip mall churches: ―What’s missing in Ch__ch? UR!‖ ―Evolution is a religion, not a science.‖ Murphy thought about that last one for a while as he headed east. You have to have faith that change is possible, he thought, that everything out there is guiding your mind toward new opportunities. Whether that kind of evolution was steeped in science or faith was beyond him. And maybe it didn’t matter. He accelerated, cruising past the cotton fields just starting to gather their bolls. Soon, the air would be wispy with the haze of loosed cotton. In the fall, it looks like popcorn, sitting on a crisp brown star, an open palm offering a gauzy gift. Some day, Murphy would find the courage to pull over to the side of the road and fill the bed of his truck with fresh cotton. Maybe he would go to the Art Department, get a loom, and weave his own face cloth with it. After he unloaded the boat, Murphy attached the hydrophone to his digital recorder and rowed out into the sound’s calm waters. When he found the right spot, he lay back, tethered by his anchor, pressed ―record‖ and took in the songs of fish. He always found calm, watching the summer sky turn from pale blue to the color of carrots as the sun sank. The fish, under the dark cape of quiet, gathered underwater. Murphy could hear them begin with a few ticks and clicks; he closed his eyes, and soon Martina crept into his
thoughts. He recalled her nervousness with the bee box, the peculiar glance at his didgeridoo. Her missing ring. ―Keep practicing, Professor,‖ she had said. The way she spun on one heel of her pink sandal and left his office. Murphy drifted off to sleep in his boat as the taps and burps from the sea trout below mingled with the memory of pink lipstick at the corner of Martina’s mouth. The kitchen bees and singing fish and Martina’s hairstyle and hips blurred into the tones and sounds of the dark night along the Pamlico. Murphy returned home late from Rose Bay Creek, covered in red bumps from mosquito bites, and discovered in the morning that he had missed out on a good bit of data during his twilight nap. He had initially thought the chorus of spotted sea trout would climax just once, but as he took the recorder out with him on his morning run, he realized that those fish had been up to something more. Round two had happened later in the night, and he had failed to catch it live. Listening to the recording during his jog, he could detect clicking sounds, an occasional sliding burp, and a gentle thump that bellowed like a heartbeat. The burp, produced by the fish’s swim bladder, sounded like the low-pitched groan of an opened door. Usually the larger leks happen in the early evening, but this one was out of step, a little later and louder. Sometimes when he ran, Murphy wanted to close his eyes and rely on his imagined sonar instinct to keep him from falling off the curb. He tried it once and broke his glasses on a utility pole. Afterwards, he kept his eyes on the ground with one earphone in, the closest thing he could get to running blind without breaking his neck. Because of this, he almost didn’t notice Martina – and it would have just killed him if he had run right past her – lugging a bag of trash to her curb. First, he heard clicking sounds, and then spotted the pink sandals, the same ones that had clouded his visions of fish grunts and crackles for the past twelve hours, and had lulled him to sleep during an unprecedented lek. Martina’s bun was gone, but her dark hair was tied back. He looked up from the click of her shoes into her Southern smile. ―Hey, Professor,‖ she said. ―Hi, Martina. Um, call me Fred. Everyone else does.‖ He was a little short of breath, and he scratched at the mosquito bites on his shoulder. ―Fred, then. Wow, those must really itch. Did the bees sting you?‖ ―Naw, they wouldn’t do that. It was the skeeters. They sure did make a snack of me,‖ he said. ―I was on the boat last night and fell asleep and forgot my spray.‖ ―You should be careful, you know. West Nile and all that,‖ she said. ―By the way, I was just looking at my garden. You must know something about bugs. Could you come look at this?‖ ―Of course,‖ he said. Murphy never would have figured Martina for a gardener – those fine nails, the glittering stones in her ears. She wore pale pants that ended at her calves and a pink sweater top that matched her shoes. ―I found a glassy beetle in my garden. I can’t imagine something this beautiful exists.‖ ―Where is it?‖ ―Out back. I’ll show you.‖ Murphy, still itching, followed her into the courtyard of apartments and onto her patio deck. There, in a bucket-sized terra cotta pot, stood a small green tomato plant. An iridescent beetle crawled up its fledgling stalk. Martina stooped low to the pot. ―Look at this. It’s so beautiful; is it rare?‖ She looked up at him, looking for approval of her find. ―It just looks like it’s covered in dew. Every color out there is trapped in this beetle.‖ It held the shape of a crystal ladybug, reflecting and absorbing light. ―I mean, if a beetle like this were common knowledge, more people would know about it. Keep them as pets, right?‖ Murphy hated to break her heart. These were the con men of all the garden pests. They weren’t worse than aphids, but they would certainly pose a problem to her tomato plant. The beetle’s iridescence was the result of a bit of liquid lodged between its chitin cuticles. It turned colors when stressed, and if you decided to keep one, thinking you could preserve its beauty, it would turn black and hollow when it died. Murphy could tell she just loved the thing, and the last thing he would want to do to someone who’s just discovered an insect that fascinates her is to tell her it’s a bad one and then urge her to kill it. But he couldn’t let Martina keep this thing without warning her. It would kill the plant. Continues next page
―Spawning Season‖ continued
by Erica Plouffe Lazure
―Looks like you got yourself a milkweed tortoise beetle, there. Pretty little pest, huh? You’d think it’s the magic fairy cousin to the ladybug, but they’re nothing but trouble,‖ he said. ―This thing? It’s so gorgeous, how could it harm anything?‖ Martina plucked it off the stalk, letting it run along the tip of her ring finger. It crawled toward her hand and paused, just as it came to her knuckle. Her smile faded, and he caught the sparkle, and it brought him back to spring semester, the winking diamond that was now gone from her hand. Oh man, Murphy thought. This was one smart bug. Insects waste no time getting to the heart of things. Rattled by the pest going straight for Martina’s ring finger, Murphy tried to shift her attention away from it, from what he guessed it was trying to tell them. ―It’s just a milkweed tortoise beetle, a Metriana bicolor. No, sorry. It’s a Metriona bicolor – triona. They’re common around here, like houseflies or slugs, only prettier,‖ he said. ―And just as pesky, too. They’ll tear your tomatoes apart.‖ ―This is my first garden, so I wouldn’t know,‖ Martina said, murmuring at the beetle. The halves of its shell parted, and in an instant, it was gone, floating like a soap bubble, back toward Martina’s one-plant garden. It looked like she was about to cry. Her nostrils expanded, and her face went deep red. Murphy didn’t know what to do except to keep talking about plants and pests. ―Well, if you keep these things hanging around, it’ll probably be your last,‖ he said. ―Just spray the plants with soapy water, but only when you come home after work. You do it midday, or even in the morning, the soap’ll get the leaves singed by the sun.‖ ―And what does the soap do?‖ Martina’s redness subsided. She looked a little better. Interested, at least, in the soap idea. ―It gets in their spiracles, their breathing chambers. Insects breathe from their sides,‖ he said, gesturing to his ribcage. ―The soap mucks up the works.‖ He looked at her, carefully at first, and then raised an eyebrow. He could tell she was really listening to him; there was an expression on her face that he saw when he was getting through to some of his best biology students. A little fun never hurt anyone, he thought. He looked around the patio, as if he was about to tell her a secret, letting her in on a conspiracy. ―Now, keep in mind, these aren’t exactly the kinds of insects you’d want to eat. Butterflies, too, are a problem. All the colorful ones are,‖ he said. ―There’s too many alkaloids. It’s practically poison – an insect’s fair warning to stay the hell away.‖ Martina seemed unfazed by his effort to shock her with the idea of eating insects. Murphy knew them to be some of the most nutritious beings on the planet. ―What about slugs?‖ Martina asked. ―Should slugs be avoided, Professor?‖ ―It’s probably not a good idea to eat slugs, but if you can dig up a few cicadas, well, I’ve got a stir-fry recipe for you,‖ Murphy said. Martina smiled. Murphy couldn’t tell if she was interested or if she was just humoring him. The cicada stir-fry was actually quite good. ―I’ll stop by your office next week to get it,‖ she said. ―I’ll bring some bug spray for you, too.‖ She noticed his headset. ―Say, what are you listening to? A didgeridoo performance?‖ ―Check it out.‖ He offered her one of the headphones. ―Now that there’s a lek. Female fish-wooing, basically,‖ he said, listening in to the fish. The second lek of the evening was emerging just then. The clamoring of the sea trout grew louder with boops and clicks. ―A what?‖ ―A lek. That’s when all the male fish get together to bring out the females. If there’s just one or two weak ones singing out there, the females might not come out. But if they hear a loud, strong signal, they’ll be more interested to see what’s going on. For the males, it’s just friendly competition, a serenade for the ladies.‖
―Wait. Fish make noise?‖ she asked. ―You bet they do. With their swim bladders. You got your oyster toadfish. Then there’s the spotted sea trout, which is what you’re listening to now,‖ he said. ―I’ve got recordings of red drum and weakfish, out near Ocracoke. You won’t find them in the Pamlico.‖ Martina adjusted the earphone. For a moment, their noses almost touched. ―If scribbles could speak,‖ she said, ―this is what they would sound like.‖ ―No, ma’am – it’s communication. A fish serenade. They’re all chattering down there with their little swim bladders, a chorus just waiting to spawn with the ladies,‖ he said. ―I’ve never heard of anything like this,‖ she said. ―I thought you studied bugs, not fish.‖ ―What I study is mating habits. Sexual dimorphism. This happens with tons of species. You’ve got your fiddler crab, the Tungara frog, the blue manakin, the hammer-headed bat, all the fish. Have you heard the buzz of a cicada? Only the males chirp like that. They’re doing the same thing. Sperm is cheap, my friend. There’s plenty to go around. The fellas got to do something to stand out, right?‖ ―Kind of like the singles scene downtown,‖ Martina said. She handed the headphone back to Murphy. ―Do you ever feel alone out there, listening to fish all the time?‖ ―Lonely? No. Not at all. The entire world is full of life.‖ Martina shrugged. ―I’ve been feeling alone lately. It seems like you’re alone with your work a lot. That’s all. I wonder if you like it, or how you cope.‖ Murphy took a step backwards. ―Well, I suppose I am alone out there,‖ he said. He was unable to control the tone in his voice as he took another step away from her. ―But it doesn’t feel like work, so there’s nothing to cope with. Every night, I go out to the field, or the waterfront, and I am surrounded by friends.‖ Martina looked confused. ―I only wanted – ‖ ―I am not lonely. Certainly not.‖ Murphy couldn’t stop his legs from trotting down the sidewalk, leaving Martina to contemplate glass beetles and the mating rituals of fish. How could she think he, of all people, was lonely? Why had she said that? He ran back to his house, making better time than usual, and covered himself in netting to check on the bees. As he scraped away the wax to get into their supper, it struck him that he wanted Martina to join him that night in the field. He should have inquired about the engagement ring when he had the chance. He wanted to let her know that he liked her pink shoes and that he wanted her to listen to marine nightlife with him along the Pamlico. He wanted her. But what if it changed everything? That night, as the lusty chorus of the cicada vibrated through the night, Murphy lay in the grass with his headset and microphone, listening for the click of her footfalls, thinking about his didgeridoo. Maybe he would bring it along next time. As the sky grew dark, the buzz of his inner dialogue replayed their conversations about loneliness and kitchen bees and beehive hairdos and the dating habits of spotted sea trout, eventually drowning out the gorgeous, familiar lull of the world outside.
Emerge Gallery & Art Center Becomes Pitt County Arts Council
by Holly Garriott
For many years, Pitt County has been one of the few counties in North Carolina without a local arts council. After many years of preparation and from an incredible North Carolina Arts Council staff, Emerge Gallery & Art Center has officially become the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge. The Pitt County Arts Council is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to educate, inspire, and make the arts accessible to the entire community within Pitt County and the eastern North Carolina region. The PCAC at Emerge is located in Uptown Greenville, at the heart of our wonderful city. Founded in 2000 by ECU students, the PCAC at Emerge has grown from a small student run gallery into a full 8000square-foot community arts center. There is a sales gallery featuring North Carolina artists and ECU students and alumni, and two exhibition spaces that feature monthly shows ranging from regional artists to juried exhibitions. Three smaller galleries are reserved for community artists to showcase their work. In 2006, Emerge expanded into the rest of their historic building and renovated to have a community arts center featuring a full pottery studio, metalsmithing studio, photography classroom and darkroom, two general classrooms, as well as a painted pottery studio. There is also an artistâ€™s studio where the current resident artist is photographer Ann Holland. In our first year as the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge we will be working to better promote and advocate for the arts in the county as well as throughout eastern North Carolina. We will be doing this by hosting quarterly meetings for Pitt County arts organizations and artists to better understand their issues and needs, and then we will create a Strategic and Marketing Plan that will begin to be implemented in 2010.
Making the arts accessible to the entire community is part of the PCAC at Emerge’s mission statement and part of Emerge’s daily life. This is accomplished through many outreach programs such as the Youth Public Arts Project, in collaboration with the Juvenile Justice Department, ECU School of Social Work and Pitt County Schools. Cancer in our Communities is an arts in healthcare outreach program in partnership with the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Oncology Department. After School Arts Clubs for visual arts and music are in several Pitt County Schools each year, and residencies and performances in the Pitt County Schools are funded by the Pitt County Arts Council as well. The Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge’s motto ―Free culture with every visit‖ can become a reality for you as soon as you step into our facility or become part of one of our programs. However, we also hope you will support the arts with your time, talent and treasure as well. Visit one of the many wonderful arts organizations in Pitt County. See a performance, a play, an exhibition, and become a member of one of these fine organizations. For more information about the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge, please visit us at www.pittcountyarts.org or call 252551-6947.
From the New York Times Real Estate section, two articles from an ongoing series entitled ―What you can get for…‖ “...$150,000 in Edenton, NC” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/ greathomesanddestinations/12gh-what.html?_r=1
“...$400,000 in Kitty Hawk, NC” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/26/ greathomesanddestinations/26gh-what.html
See for yourself what fantastic properties can be found in North Carolina's Inner Banks at:
2010 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit As part of its plan to stimulate the U.S. housing market and address the economic challenges facing the nation, Congress has passed legislation that grants a tax credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers.
Learn more here: httpwww.realthome_buyers_and_sellers/2009_first_time_home_buyer_ tax_credit
by Dean Marshal Tuck
Dean Marshall Tuck has lived in Eastern North Carolina most of his life and currently calls Greenville his home. Since receiving his Master’s degree in English from East Carolina University in 2008, he has been an English instructor at ECU. Tuck writes fiction and is a performing singer/songwriter (www.deantuck.com) and an advisory editor for Tar River Poetry. His work has most recently appeared in Night Train Magazine (http://www.nighttrainmagazine.com/contents/tuck_fb.php).
Rachel didn’t think twice about attending her mom’s alma mater. If she didn’t snag a husband in college, she would coerce someone into submitting to nuptial vows within four years of receiving her degree. She would teach second-graders as her mother and sister did before her. She would do all within her power to become pregnant during November so that her child might be conveniently born during the summer break. Rachel didn’t make plans. She seemed to innately possess those plans—never one move without the end in sight. So it was quite a surprise when she told me that she would be taking the kids and moving back to Ohio to live with her parents. Misinterpreted, misconstrued, misrepresented—I could only stare and watch as her father’s smartly dressed lawyer shouldered me out of joint custody, and by the end of the procedure I truly was unfit. Those first few months of being a divorced father blurred into memories of holding my baby girl, Melanie, in my arms, tucking her older sister, Sandy, into bed, their soft voices already so similar to their mother’s. For weeks after the big move, I would call every night, but she didn’t like for me to talk to the children too much, and soon enough, I didn’t really have anything to say to Rachel. I wanted to ask if she’d found someone new. I wanted to ask if she still thought about our marriage; if she ever thought of the camping trips to the mountains—there weren’t many, but they were precious to me; if she thought of how it was in the beginning, when we’d barricade ourselves in the house all weekend long, ignoring all our friends and family, skipping church, and then running late to work Monday morning. I’d only ask about the kids. She’d get curt. And then silence. I had nothing. I have nothing. Sometimes when I don’t go straight to my apartment after work, I go to this bar we used to drink in. Not the kind of place you’d expect to find a woman like Rachel. I knew she only tagged along to make me happy. Such a small woman. A few beers in her system, and I’d have to drive home—permanent designated driver. She kept me in line; that’s for sure. The kind of woman you give up smoking for and then start back because of. Last Friday night I drove down to the ocean. Smoked all the way. When I arrived, I walked to the shore and sat in the dark, thinking. Before Rachel, I loved a woman named Joyce. We’d do things like this—midnight hauls to the beach, naked in the crashing waves, her arms gripped tightly around my ribs, freezing and panting, screaming like mad, wet salty kisses on her shoulder and on my neck. We’d ball up the clothes and drive home naked, drip-drying in my old Buick, then chase each other to the back porch. Joyce had plenty of male friends, though. I wasn’t fool enough to think I was the only one. She spent most of her week with me, and this, for me, was victory enough. But this sand castle construct—no exclusivity, no boundaries, never even a frank discussion about how we felt—could only stand for so long. I mentioned her moving in. She had an apartment across town she hardly ever stayed in. And even though she practically lived with me, or because she thought she already had ―moved in,‖ maybe—I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t ready—but a few quiet breakfasts and she was gone within a week. I met Rachel three weeks later. I think about my girls a lot. And maybe it’s because I’ve been trying to put Rachel out of my mind, but I’ve been thinking of Joyce more than ever lately. God, that was nearly nine years ago. Wonder where she is? I would like to talk to her. What happens to people?
I wonder if Rachel and Joyce could’ve been friends if they’d met early enough? Maybe if the two had met when they were little girls or during junior high. Joyce might’ve infected her heart with whatever she had. Then maybe I’d still fit in somewhere. What happens to little girls? They’re not born with plans. Something happens—a father’s warning, a mother’s disparaging, a friend’s condescending? Marry money like your mother. A nursery rhyme she’d be sorry she lost, and me, the villain in a new cautionary tale. Unplanned pregnancy, unplanned marriage, unplanned me. But now she has her life back. What happens to little girls? Sandy. Melanie. They love and love and don’t ask questions. What has she told them? Sandy’s already begun to sound distant on the phone. Will she remember basketball in the driveway, me lifting her for countless slam-dunks? Will she recall her tiny fingers gripping the rim, her flight, her weightlessness in my hands? Will she tell her sister? This is what I imagine when I think of the future: Rachel making plans, dinners with her mother and father at the club, piano lessons for the girls, trips overseas, magnet school, cheerleading camp. Sandy loved basketball. Melanie would’ve, too, if she’d had a chance to watch her sister play. When I think of the future, I see Rachel, beautiful, prompt, and smiling at cocktail parties, art expos, yoga classes, and picnics. Last week, wearing jeans and an old sweater, I sat on the beach and watched the tide change. The moon lit the land, and you could see the shore for miles. People say standing near the ocean makes them feel ―small‖ somehow. I wondered do they feel like giants in their hometowns, their neighborhoods, at the office—everywhere else? After a while sitting there, watching the waves always returning to their shimmering horizon, I turned my back to the water. Something about the endless motion, the infinity seemed untrue. Then I looked out across the dunes. The wind was howling low like a broken siren, never rising—empty stretches of pale gleaming mounds, white sand glowing like a lunar landscape, the shadow of a cloud passing over, and me, nothing but a speck, I suppose, a dark blemish on the face of this desert moon—this is the future.
Remembering a Literary Visionary: W. Keats Sparrow The editors and staff of the North Carolina Literary Review are deeply saddened to report the death of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow on November 11, 2009 NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer explains Dr. Sparrow‟s role in the creation of the publication: “Long-time executive board member and past President of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, W. Keats Sparrow had a vision: a literary review to complement the association‟s North Carolina Historical Review. Not only did he convince the Association to support this plan, but also he convinced them to allow East Carolina University, where he was then Dean of Arts and Sciences, to create and house the new publication. In an early interview, founding editor Alex Albright would answer the question “How did NCLR come to be?” saying, “It‟s entirely due to Keats Sparrow — his vision, his enthusiasm and his ability to convince the board of...the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association that East Carolina University could do this.” In the obituary announcement she wrote for the ECU community (and delivered at Dr. Sparrow‟s funeral), NCLR Associate Editor Lorraine Robinson relates the inscription honoring Sir Christopher Wren in London's St. Paul's Cathedral to Keats‟s many contributions to the preservation of North Carolina‟s rich literature and history: Si monumentum requires, circumspice — "If you would see the man's monument, look around you." During his career at East Carolina University, Keats was involved in almost every North Carolina cultural and literary activity, and his leadership and dedication will be sorely missed. Right: Keats Sparrow receiving the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration at the 2007 Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming.
Read Dr. Sparrow‟s obituary to learn more about his contributions to North Carolina literature and history: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/reflector/obituary.aspx?n=w-keats-sparrow&pid=135874257
Saving and Remaking Swan Quarter
by Ben B. Cahoon
Pat Spencer’s service station in Swan Quarter, NC, is part visitor’s bureau, part community center, and, well, a place to buy gas and get your car fixed. Some days it is even a very fine place to eat. In the absence of a local diner, Pat started cooking something for lunch almost every day, under a tree or in one of the service bays, and everyone is welcome. On a recent day Pat flagged me down to ask if I had had lunch yet. I had not, I told him, and so I lucked into the very last of a mess of barbecued grouper fillets. As I took a seat at the picnic table and dove into my fish, about five other men were finishing up and excusing themselves. On this day, like most, Pat took a few minutes to chat. The cooler of fish had been purchased from a customer from Ocracoke who had come over on the early morning ferry and stopped for gas. A couple from Spain, driving down the coast in a rental car, had also stopped in. Talking with Pat offers insight into the stream of people who visit here. He likes to point out from where his customers hail, in part as proof of what Hyde County has to offer and the appeal upon which it capitalizes. They have come from Spain, Germany, Japan and all over North America. Pat fills their tanks, tells them a little about the area, suggests where they might visit and gives directions. Pat points out the new village park and gazebo across the street. He can also tell customers about much more to come. The other visible project is the dike, which actually crosses NC 45 in two places, west and south of the village. Discussion of a dike around Swan Quarter and the surrounding farms started in the 1960s but construction did not begin until 1988. At twelve miles long and almost seven feet high, the dike was completed in twelve phases. It is to be finished later this year. The final $5.3 million to finish the twenty-year project was part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The renovation of the historic courthouse is directly related to flooding from storms that preceded completion of the dike. In 1999 Hurricane Floyd inundated the village, damaging the building and adjoining county offices, and in 2003 Hurricane Isabel dealt a harsh blow: water in the first floor of the courthouse was six feet deep, damaging or destroying reams of documents. For over three years local government operated from rented offices and trailers scattered all over the county. The old county office building was demolished and a new one, elevated above the flood zone, was built on the same site. The historic courthouse, built in the mid 1800s was left standing but unused. Some want to see it demolished so that its upkeep does not burden the county. Others, led by the Swan Quarter Service Group, want to see it saved as the village’s cultural, physical and economic heart. The Swan Quarter Service Group is a longstanding, informally organized group of village residents. They meet on the first Tuesday of each month in the original Providence Methodist Church building, which floated to its present site during a storm and is known as the church ―moved by the hand of God.‖ Gathering around potluck dinners, they have planned and raised funds for a variety of community improvements. They donated part of the land for the new park, but the current slate of projects is their greatest undertaking yet. Their goal is nothing less than the economic revitalization of the village.
Ingrid Lemme and Pat Spencer in front of Pat’s service station, community center, lunch counter and general meeting place. Read more about Swan Quarter in the SwanQuarterly magazine at swanquarterly.net.
Saving and Remaking Swan Quarter, continued A feasibility study completed in 2008, initiated by the Service Group and commissioned by the county, showed how the courthouse might be renovated using a variety of grants and occupied by an assortment of small businesses. The Service Group sees the courthouse as the centerpiece of their redevelopment efforts, reassuming its status as a landmark and center of community activity. In front of the courthouse (and Pat Spencer’s Service Station) lies the intersection of NC Highway 45 and Main Street. Main Street runs north to US 264 while NC 45 carries traffic to and from the Swan Quarter/Ocracoke Ferry landing about two miles south. Outside these narrow corridors lie stately trees, historic homes and picturesque countryside. With carefully planned and located fencing, sidewalks, trees, lights and signage, the new streetscape will highlight the quaint beauty of Swan Quarter and visually unite the village core. A new trail, connecting the new park to the streetscape project, will provide pedestrians and cyclists access to the dike. Between the village and the bay, the dike is dramatic. High, wide and grassy, it appears strangely both natural and manmade. And the views from its top—across the marshes to the fishing boats and beyond to the glittering sound—are spectacular. The Service Group’s final project is a campground which will provide accommodation in a place where there are few places to stay and where a motel would not be economically viable. Set on a beautiful site surrounded by deep wide canals and adjacent to a NC Wildlife boat ramp, it will have gravel drives, hookups and a pump-out station. The campground will also be connected via a sidewalk to the dike trail and streetscape improvements. However, some still question the value of such projects. To answer them I return to Pat’s Station and the fellowship around the picnic table and on the painted wooden bench under the canopy. And to the bright, ambitious new consignment shop, whose proceeds support the volunteer Fire Department. To the condominium developer who fell in love with Swan Quarter and thinks other people will too. To the Fire Department which serves and unites the community. To the church ―moved by the hand of God.‖ In fact, what the new dike protects, and what the streetscape improvements enhance, are not the buildings, businesses, houses and roads. The dike protects a people and way of life and offers others an enticing, unique location to life, work, play and retire. Most members of the Swan Quarter Service Group, along with Pat Spencer and his customers and friends, are Swan Quarter stalwarts with deep local roots. But others, who moved here and chose to live and work here, they love this place even if it might be more difficult to say why. Most of them would eventually work their way around to the people, their trust in and compassion for one another, and the extraordinary natural landscape of North Carolina’s Inner Banks. This article is reprinted here courtesy of Ingrid Lemme, publisher of the “SwanQuarterly”.
“Earl Coward Put His Feet on the Floor” by Brian Lampkin Brian Lampkin lives in Tarboro, NC, and is currently chasing a Master’s in Creative Writing at East Carolina University. His column, "The Nature of Tarboro," can be read monthly in The Daily Southerner and recent poetry can be found in Connotation Press (www.connotationpress.com).
Earl Coward put his feet on the floor. Sunday morning and Earl was up early, before his wife and kids would be there to see what he had done to the house in last night’s celebration. ―So this is 1981,‖ Earl said to himself as he suffered through the bending over to pick up chairs, lamps, bottles, and television. He finished what was left of a champagne bottle before fixing a Sunday morning screwdriver. 1980 ended with Earl alone at midnight in his house, and he took the opportunity to really express himself. Earl was not happy with 1980. He scooped up the puppy shit and tried to clean up the now dried pee stains as best he could. His wife, Betty, and their four kids were in Greenville, North Carolina—some thirty miles south of Tarboro—in an apartment near the hospital where their youngest child, Kathleen Ann, two months old, was in room 304. Betty and the three boys came home to chaos barely disguised as disorder. Earl was outside with the puppy—a fivemonth-old, sweet-faced hound with ears far too long for its head. The kids called it Tick but had already grown tired of it. Earl never wanted the creature but now loved it more than anyone else did. The dog heard the family come home and raced back to the house, twice tripping over his ears as he ran. Earl slowly ambled back. ―Earl, what the hell has gone on here? Did you have a party last night?‖ Betty wanted to know. ―No, I didn’t have no damn party.‖ ―Then what the hell happened?‖ ―It’s fine. It’s all fine. You want a drink?‖ Betty declined and Earl fixed another. The boys dispersed to their rooms. ―Aren’t you going to ask?‖ Betty asked. ―No, I’m not going to ask. Why don’t you just tell me,‖ Earl spit out. ―Mom, the TV’s broken. The screen is shattered!‖ Earl Jr. shouted from the hall. ―What do you know about that, Earl?‖ ―You let ’em watch too much TV anyway. C’mon dog, let’s go for a ride.‖ Tick jumped into the truck and they drove off to the landfill to dispose of a week’s worth of Earl and Tick’s garbage. Tick loved the dump and rolled in the most offensive variety of rotting vegetation and flesh he could find. Earl let him. He sat on an old hot water tank and pulled on his flask. Bourbon now. Earl’s accounting firm was going under, but that just freed up the cash he’d been holding back in case the firm went under. January’s the time to shut down, he thought. Let it all go before tax season kicks in. Earl would soon be forty, and forty seemed like a good time to let it all go. Tick chased after a few rats, but ran back to Earl for help when he cornered one and it lunged back at him. Earl got his shotgun out of the truck and tried to help Tick out, but missed badly. Earl made Tick ride in the back on the way home. The smell was still powerful, but Earl drove on. He sprayed the puppy down with the hose when they got back. They both went inside for a nap. When Earl woke up, Betty and the boys were gone again. No note. He thought about driving to Greenville, maybe apologizing, maybe a game of chess with Earl Jr., maybe catch a bowl game with Ronnie and Jake. There was no ice in the freezer, so Earl had a beer and sat in front of the TV. Tick jumped up next to him, and they stared at the cracked screen. The evening came early.
January in Eastern North Carolina is unpredictable. In 1981, January is 70 degrees for the entire first week. At 8:45 each morning Earl and Tick walk to the Town Common. Betty calls at 9:00 every day because she assumes Earl will be at work. Each day the message she leaves is gloomier than the last. The count down to the baby’s death is unbearable to Earl. Each night he listens to Ted Koppel announce ―Day 423 of the Hostage Crisis in Iran, Day 424 of the Hostage Crisis in Iran, Day 425….‖ and he hears the accumulating days of his daughter’s life numbered. Hydrops fetalis. It should have killed her before she was born. It is a disease of incompatibility—the idea of it tickled Earl even as he absorbed the full meaning of the diagnosis. Earl has type B blood and Betty type A, which is not usually a problem even if the fetus is developing type B inside its type A mother. The barrier between mother and fetus prevents the transfer of blood, and Ronnie was born type B without any obvious problem. A trauma to Betty’s abdomen sometime during her pregnancy with Ronnie had created a break in the barrier. Their contrary bloods mixed, but without dire consequences. It’s the next pregnancy with a type B fetus that causes the problem. Betty’s body was now prepared to attack a foreign blood type inside her, and the growing daughter was assaulted by her mother’s antibodies. Earl knew what had happened during Betty’s pregnancy with Ronnie. One of Earl’s main problems, he knew, was his inability to hide from himself. He knew. On January 6th, for the first time in 1981, Earl drove to the hospital. Betty was in the room when he got there. And there was his daughter: trapped inside a ventilator. No one able to hold her. Earl stood in the doorway. He wanted to turn around and run. He wanted Betty to come hold him again in her arms. He wanted to tear away the tubes and the plastic surrounding his daughter and hold her. He wanted his arms and breath and heart to heal her. He wanted to suffocate her now. He stood in the doorway. The boys were ready when he got to the apartment and they went to the movies. Steve Martin’s The Jerk was the agreed upon choice even though Earl and Earl Jr. wanted to see Star Trek. Ronnie and Jake laughed; Earl went to the bathroom and drank. The boys all wanted Earl to spend the night in Greenville, but he had to get home to care for the puppy. Both the baby and the puppy were accidents. Jake, then the youngest, was nine and Betty was long since done having children—and done with Earl. Ronnie found the puppy half-dead on the side of the road and the family nursed it back to health in the month before the baby was born. It had been a long time since Earl had felt so useful, needed, happy. The family had taken a walk together on the night of the election. Earl and Betty were united in their support for Carter even as the pregnancy continued to divide them. Betty’s blood pressure was out of whack and she needed Earl to care more than he could. At 7:00 that night there was still hope for Carter’s reelection. Tarboro seemed split evenly between Reagan and Carter—still stuck in its Democratic past and just beginning its embrace of the new Republican South. Tick was bouncing alongside the kids and Betty was able to walk the streets of Tarboro and Earl was only half-drunk. It was a good night in all their lives, and the baby was born the next day. Earl’s lawyer friend who worked for the largest personal injury firm in Eastern North Carolina told him they should have caught the disease in the womb. It wouldn’t have changed much, but at least they would have had time to undo the damage hope had done. It was no secret that Earl never wanted the child—it was a secret that Betty also didn’t want it—and now he had to deal with the dying of a child he had been wishing away. It was nearly dark when Earl got home from Greenville. There was Tick shit and pee in the kitchen. Earl left it there and the puppy and Earl caught the last bit of daylight at the dump. Twilight is the time of the rats and Earl brought his gun. Tick ran and ran as the rats darted in and out of the garbage. As a boy Earl had tried to kill a rat in the tobacco barn. He grabbed a pitchfork and tried repeatedly to stab at it, but his fear kept his aim erratic. He really wanted nothing to do with killing that rat and eventually the rat grew tired of running away and turned and ran up Earl’s pant leg. Panicked, but still thinking, Earl dropped his overalls off his shoulder and the rat jumped out the top of his pants. Tick, for the first time in his life, had a rat in his jaws and he brought it back to Earl. He dropped it dead at Earl’s feet and Earl patted Tick. ―Good boy, now go get another one.‖ Earl watched Tick run off and he raised his gun. He fired and watched Tick tumble and roll across the dirt.
25 Decision in the West: Civil War Bus Tour, May 2010 by Ralph Scott Heritage Tours of Greenville conducts guided tours of east coast civil war battlefield sites. Tour members call themselves members of Long’s Brigade after Professor David Long of the East Carolina University History Department who has led the tours. After ten years of campaigning in Virginia and Pennsylvania at sites from Gettysburg to Petersburg, Long’s Brigade will be expanding its horizons this spring. If the muster call is sufficient they will make their next march west, across the mountains and into eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia. A five-day-long tour is planned that will include the battlefields of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. This trip will involve a very different topography and set of armies than any of the previous tours. At Chickamauga (a Cherokee term meaning ―River of Death‖), the Brigade will trek the countryside where the largest and fiercest battle in the western theatre of the war occurred, in September 1863. The Confederates were commanded by General Braxton Bragg and the Federals by Major General William Rosecrans. In two days of fighting, total casualties were thirty-five thousand, a greater per diem loss than at Gettysburg. Considering that the armies at Chickamauga were not nearly as large as those in Pennsylvania, the losses are all the more remarkable.
When the forces battled again two months later at Chattanooga, much had changed. Thirty-thousand additional Federal troops added their muscle to the Army of the Cumberland, and Major Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman were now in charge. From the scenic valley at Moccasin Bend on the Tennessee River where the important city of Chattanooga sat, the Federals reversed the course of the campaign and the war in a series of maneuvers that included: the opening of the Cracker Line (which permitted the Federals besieged at Chattanooga to again receive supplies and reinforcements); the capture of Orchard Knob from which Grant would oversee the final assault on Confederate positions; the ―Battle Above the Clouds‖ where Federal troops would scale the seemingly unassailable Confederate positions at Lookout Point; and, the final victory that featured the storming of Missionary Ridge in one of the most spectacular attacks in American military history, when thousands of Federal troops, acting spontaneously and without orders, stormed up the steep slopes and swept Confederates off the summit, leaving the southern Army of Tennessee broken and beaten. It was the campaign that sealed Grant’s status as the most formidable general in the Union Army and led to his being commissioned several months later as the first Lieutenant General since George Washington. This year’s Long’s Brigade campaign is mounted at a minimal cost increase from previous campaigns. Today, tour cost is $400 per person, but that depends on a substantial registration. The tour group will be traveling by chartered coach bus and will be staying at the historic and scenic Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, where they will get a special room rate of $85.00 per night (plus 17% local and state taxes). There will be no group meals as part of the package, although members will be able to partake of a delicious buffet breakfast every morning as part of the tour package. The tour leader will be A. Wilson Greene, historical interpreter extraordinaire. Those who were part of The Last Citadel tour a couple of years ago should remember how outstanding Mr. Greene is in his presentations and how brilliantly he makes events come to life.
The probable dates of the tour will be May 19-23, 2010. We would leave on a Wednesday morning and arrive back in Greenville on a Sunday evening. For more information contact Heritage Tours of Greenville at 1119 South Overlook Dr., Greenville, NC, 27858, or call (252)-355-8166.
ChooseAneed.org: IBX Non-profit Has International Reach By Christopher M. Johnson It began with a trip to Uganda. Mary and Brian Dawson, then students at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, were on a medical mission. It was there that they saw tremendous need for things we here often take for granted: clean water, a reliable source of income and education. With the staggering array of needs they encountered, choosing to help the people of Uganda was an easy decision; deciding which need to tackle first became the challenge. The Dawsons decided they could not simply choose to fund one project and be satisfied with their good will; they needed to find a way to meet as many needs as possible. In 2006, the couple founded ChooseAneed, a 501(c)(3) charity that is unique in that supporters choose exactly which project they would like to fund. 100% of the money donated goes directly to a project of the donorâ€™s choice. All overhead costs, such as fees to wire the donations to other countries, are covered by the board of ChooseAneed.
ChooseAneed has now raised over $100,000 for projects that have included: $1,500 to equip a maternity ward at a rural hospital; $3,140 to build a classroom in Sudan; $800 to construct a water well in Uganda; and, the currently featured project, $2,700 to buy two goats for each of 25 guardians. Each project is completed in four steps;\: identifying a specific basic need within a community; defining a way in which the project can be completed in a sustainable way; publicizing the need on the ChooseAneed website; and, meeting the need through funding and guidance. The goat rearing project, for example, was chosen not only because there is a great need for income in this village, but because there is also a plan in place to use the funding responsibly and in a way that provides sustainable income to the guardians. The guardians are often grandmothers and widows who care for orphaned and vulnerable children in Kabondo, Kenya. They will care for the goats, while using the income they earn to purchase basic medical care, food, school materials and school uniforms for the children under their care. Follow the link below to learn more about the 40+ completed projects that ChooseAneed.org has helped fund, including projects involving clean water, education and scholarships, healthcare, animal husbandry, farming, family well-being, microfinance and more.
ChooseAneed.org, the non-profit’s website, tracks all donor contributions. On the site, you can see which needs currently exist, and how much money is needed to fulfill each need. As donors contribute, the site tracks each project's fundraising progress. Once projects have been funded and completed, they become success stories. ChooseAneed posts information, photos, and sometimes video that show how contributions have helped the communities we serve. There are currently 45 success stories. The Open Arms India Well Project funded the installation of a drinking water well in Bihar, India. Muniya Devi, a 38-year-old mother of four, told ChooseAneed that before the well was put in, she had to walk an hour to find clean water. Often, the children would have to help gather water for the family, sometimes causing them to miss school. Now, with the $500 ChooseAneed raised to build the well, the village has accessible water and the children are able to attend school daily. While we know that no one can meet all of the needs they see alone, a core belief of ChooseAneed is that what we CAN do is choose a specific need and work to meet that need in some small way, financially or otherwise, through our knowledge or gifts. Finally, we challenge you to ask yourself and those around you, ―How are you meeting needs today?‖
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http://www.ibxlifestyles.com/page.php?25 Here’s a sample of what you’ve been missing: Fall 2009 ―IBX Lifestyles‖ magazine Featuring: Alex Albright on Fountain, NC; Ralph Scott on Edgecombe Community College’s new Historic Preservation Curriculum; NYC chefs relocate to the Inner Banks; IBX Fiction; IBXarts.org; Soul Food Celebration in Columbia; Magnolia Arts Center; Inner Banks news; Inner Banks tourism information. Summer 2009 ―IBX Lifestyles‖ magazine Featuring: sculptor Jonathan Bowling; enamellist/metalsmith Linda Darty; metals and jewelry master Robert Ebendorf; painter/collagist/assemblage artist Aleta Braun; filmmaker Bernard Timberg; jazz maestro Carroll Dashiell; artist/entrepreneur Tom Kilian; blues master "Lightnin'" Wells; sister musicians/writers Anna and Amelia Dietrich; writer/scholar on the American South Margaret Bauer; Magnolia Arts Center; historian/author Ralph Scott; and, some of the Inner Banks’ rising stars in art--Haley Sullivan, Judd Snapp, Lisa Beth Robinson and Owen Sullivan. Spring 2009 ―IBX Lifestyles‖ magazine Enjoy the new issue of the "IBX Lifestyles" newsletter, featuring: an interview with New York-to-Inner Banks transplant Ingrid Lemme; the 29 Inner Banks historical sites and towns of the Historic Albemarle Tour; Inner Banks film news; Inner Banks calendar of events and tourism resources; and, some of the best Inner Banks photography you’re likely to see anywhere. Summer 2008 Paddling the Inner Banks Lake Phelps and the Scuppernong River Roanoke River Jean Guite Creek Lumber River Northeast Cape Fear River White Oak River and Bear Island Building a Water Trail Economy Feature Film Shoots in New Bern: ―Death, Taxes and Chocolate‖ Written and Produced by Inner Banks Filmmaker
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Spring 2008 Interview with Celebrated Inner Banks Artist Robert Ebendorf Pocosin Arts Folk School Documentary Film Shooting in Hertford Handmade in America: Drawing Inspiration from Western North Carolina Inner Banks Mourns Loss of Goldsboro Native and ―Honorary Mayor of Hollywood‖ Johnny Grant: January 9, 2008 Winter 2007 Columbia: Honoring Our Past; Designing Our Future Currituck County: Rich in Heritage; Full of Adventure Manteo: Linking the Inner Banks to the Outer Banks South Mills: A Town and a Canal Forever Linked Fall 2007 Vineyards and Wineries of the Inner Banks Duplin Winery County Squire Restaurant and Winery Bannerman Vineyard and Winery Lu Mil Vineyard Martin Vineyard Summer 2007 Wilson Botanical Gardens Hollister’s Medoc Mountain State Park Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail Confederate Civil War Drum Returned to New Bern Merchants Millpond State Park Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Eco-Center Paddle for the Border: Paddling Event Links Inner Banks Great Dismal Swamp to Chesapeake, VA Spring 2007 Interview with NC Community College System President Martin Lancaster Interview with Author/Journalist Willie Drye Expanding the ―Fourth Utility‖ in Warren County Williamston: Crossroads of Northeastern North Carolina Mattamuskeet Foundation Releases Film: ―A Winter Day‖ Inner Banks Media Corporation Formed Winter 2006 Inner Banks Leaders Look to ―Irish Miracle‖ for Entrepreneurial Inspiration
Washington, the Heart of the Inner Banks William Howard Kunstler Headlines Inner banks Conference Inner Banks Seasonal and Special Events
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34 Inner Banks Tourism Resources Beaufort www.originalwashington.com
New Hanover www.cape-fear.nc.us
Bertie County Peanuts Just a sampling of the many ways our peanuts are prepared: BlisterFried, Boiled, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Roasted in the Shell, Red Hot Hexalina, Honey Glazed, Peanut Brittle, Roanoke River Trail Mix, Chowan River Trail Mix, & more!
Order our products at www.pnuts.net/?r=IBX&p=IBX09 Use code IBX09 with purchase of $20 or more and receive one jar of Blister Fried Peanuts FREE! Bertie County Peanuts is NOT among the companies that have been asked by the FDA to hold or recall their peanut-containing products.
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Next Issue: Spring 2010 Special thanks to the following individuals and organizations for providing photography, copy and graphics for this issue: James Gould and Alexandra Jones, Sam Young, Dr. Lewis Forrest, Tom Kilian @ IBXarts.org, Holly Garriott, Dr. Margaret Bauer, Dr. David Long, Ralph Scott, Ray & Susan Ellis @ Footpath Pictures, Ingrid Lemme, @ Scuppernong Gazette & SwanQuarterly, Christopher Johnson, Josh Armstrong @ Magnolia Arts Center, Chris Schwing, ENC Film Commission, IBX Foundation, Inc., NC Division of Tourism. Cover Illustration: Copyright 2003, The Fund for Sandy Point North Carolina, LLC If we have missed anyone, please accept our apologies and contact us at:
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ENC Film Commission www.filmeast.net
IBXhomes.com markets a comprehensive listing of up-to-date real estate offerings from across the Inner Banks region: homes and condominiums, commercial properties, raw land, office and manufacturing facilities.
The Eastern North Carolina Film Commission provides an array of services to make film and television production across the Inner Banks as trouble-free as possible. In coordination with the North Carolina Film Office and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the ENC Film Commission offers all the information and access to services that film and television producers need to mount production here in North Carolina’s Inner Banks.
―IBX Lifestyles‖ is a publication of the IBX Foundation, Inc., IBX Ventures, the Eastern North Carolina Film Commission and IBXhomes.com and IBXlifestyles.com.
Published on Jan 19, 2010
Published on Jan 19, 2010
Inside: In this issue, Inner Banks film, fiction and more. We are pleased to present short stories by three talented Inner Banks writers:...