Wandering Billy

You Auto Be in Pictures

How babies were made in the ’60s

By Billy Eye


“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.” ― Martin Scorsese

The history is vague but it’s been well over a hundred years since Model Ts and touring cars clattered their way to a spot on the beach or at a resort area like our own Pinecroft (pure speculation on my part), where management stretched a sheet between two trees and invited tourists to enjoy a moving picture under a starlit canopy.

Drive-in theaters never caught on in a big way early on. It wasn’t until 1933 that the first modern drive-in debuted in New Jersey, advertised as a place where, “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.”

Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights beginning in 1941, on the outskirts of town, The Drive-In on High Point Road was Greensboro’s first outdoor cinema with an automotive capacity of 600, admission $1 per car. It would remain the largest of its type in town. In 1949 the lot was renamed South Drive-In. That’s when North Drive-In (400 capacity) opened across town on U.S. 29.

In the summer of 1950, a smaller 195-car capacity Sundown Drive-In, catering to the African-American community, welcomed their first carloads of customers. Owned and operated by Rounder L. Ledwell & Clarence L. Fuller, the Sundown closed in 1966 after theaters of all types were desegregated two years earlier.

As the 1950s unfolded, mobile moviegoing exploded across the country, peaking in the early 1960s when there were more than 5,000 drive-ins nationwide. During that period, luring motorists in with neon signage comparable to a Las Vegas casino, the Piedmont on West Market, the Crescent on Piney Forest Road and the Park Drive-In on Lawndale became date night hot spots.

There’s something inherently romantic about enjoying a Hollywood popcorner bathed in midnight blue, soundtrack enhanced by chirping cicadas, the dialogue echoing from those metal speakers clamped onto the driver’s side window sounding like a too-loud television in the next room of a cheap motel. And why is the glass fogged over in the car next to us? There’s a semi-famous photo taken around 1960 at a local drive-in showing a couple in locked embrace wearing so many layers of clothing you have to wonder how the Baby Boom ever happened.

The format was pretty much the same at any location: After a cartoon and the first feature film, 8-minute shorts featuring dancing, bubbly soda cans, cascading Jujubes and back-flipping hot dogs enticed patrons to visit the refreshment center while counting down the time until the next picture show started.

In 1961 Jim Bellows, owner of the Center Theater downtown, bought the aging South Drive-In, installing new projection and sound equipment along with an air-conditioned concession booth and restrooms (“Plumbing with city water”). The next year, Bellows took possession of the North, renaming it Skyline Drive-In Theatre. In the late-1960s, the Skyline would hold dusk-to-dawn movies, from 8 p.m. until almost 6 a.m., on one weekend projecting all of the Sean Connery James Bond flicks, from Dr. No to You Only Live Twice, in order on the really big screen.

In most cases, like Skyline for instance, the manager’s office and living quarters were actually inside the screen.

Circle Drive-In on Robbins Street was last to open in 1970, just as attendance here and nationwide was winding down. As cities expanded their borders the real estate value of those large properties increased exponentially. The advent of daylight saving time in 1970 robbed businesses of that crucial, family friendly 7 to 8 p.m. hour. Within a few years, a gasoline shortage, coupled with smaller, less comfortable vehicles, resulted in the Piedmont, Park and South Drive-Ins closing in 1975.

By the end of the ’70s, schlocky, sex charged B-movies became the draw, grindhouse features produced especially for the drive-in market like ’Gator Bait (“Untamed and deadly, she ruled the swamp with a blazing gun and a luscious smile.” ), Mad Monkey Kung Fu, Blacula and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, along with blockbusters that had finished their first run at the Carolina or Terrace theaters, crowd pleasers like Smokey and the Bandit and Dirty Harry. The Skyline closed in 1980. Circle Drive-In, Greensboro’s last surviving, flickered out in 1983.

A few years ago, Mike Small was scouting photo opportunities just west of the intersection of highways 158 and 66 in Walkertown when he happened across a still-standing drive-in screen fronted by acres of unkempt weeds bordering a residential neighborhood. He tells me it’s a nearly forgotten reminder of the Bel-Air Theater: “We took our kids Rebekah and Dallas there in 1994 to see Pocahontas when they were younger.” The Bel-Air opened in 1955 and was welcoming carloads of moviegoers until 2000. A uniquely American experience tucked forever into cobwebbed membranes of the mind.

Not this time, Bunky!

You can still experience the joy of a moonlit motion picture. There’s an outdoor screen nightly at Marketplace Mall in Winston-Salem for fan favorites like The Dark Knight and Elf. Marketplace Cinema owner Daniel Kleeberg assures me, “We will be showing movies in the snow if that is what it takes to survive.” I like that idea!

Winston-Salem Fairgrounds also sports an open-air theater called The Drive while Scoop Zone Backyard in Greensboro will rent you everything you need to enjoy movie magic in your own backyard or neighborhood gatherings. Find them on Facebook.

Better yet, take a 45-minute drive north and you’ll discover Eden Drive-In, circa 1949, on Fireman Club Road in Eden. Open weekend evenings at 6:30 p.m., movies starting around 8:30, Eden Drive-In sports two screens with a choice between kiddie fare, Minions and such, and PG movies like Dirty Dancing and Grease. Friday nights are busiest; Sundays you’ll have more room to spread out. With a 400-car capacity, it’s the only authentic drive-in nearby, right down to the old-time snack bar grill. No need for those clunky metal speakers any longer, crystal clear sound is piped into your car radio. Haven’t been myself but plan to check it out.

Facing an uncertain future leaning into the past can be a worthwhile pursuit, no matter how noisy your kids are!  OH

Born and raised here Billy Eye, a former Hollywood movie poster designer, would like to credit CinemaTreasures.org for information about drive-in theaters.

Fair Winds and Following Seas

USCGC Diligence departs Wilmington

By John Wolfe     Photographs by Andrew Sherman


It’s a cool gray Memorial Day morning, and the tide is nearly full beneath the big white ship moored at the heart of Wilmington, this city on a river. The wharf bustles with last-minute preparations for departure. Sailors in blue coveralls load pallets of provisions up the gangplank; a life-jacketed crew prepares the ship’s small boat for launch as a team of line-handlers surveys the bollards and places fenders over the side.

A few crewmembers are still arriving at the ship. Some come alone, with seabags slung over their shoulders, saluting the flag flying at the stern as they cross the ship’s brow. One petty officer tarries with his family in the parking lot, wearing sunglasses and crisp dress blues, his tight-lipped wife beside him as he hugs his children one more time. This is part of the service. Goodbye is a familiar word in every sailor’s vocabulary. But on this day, it feels a little more permanent.

Their ship is the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew of 74. Commissioned in 1964, it has been stationed in downtown Wilmington since 1992 after undergoing a two-year, $28 million refit in 1990. After it departs it will spend the next two months patrolling the Atlantic, completing its missions of search-and-rescue, marine fisheries enforcement, counter-drug operations and migrant interdiction. To be diligent means to be persistent in application to one’s work, and Diligence lives up to its name: In 2011 it seized 3,000 pounds of cocaine in the western Caribbean, worth $34 million, and three years ago it intercepted three high-speed smuggling boats carrying $60 million worth of cocaine in the eastern Pacific.

This is the sixth cutter to bear the name Diligence, an honor few ships share. The first Diligence was one of the 10 original revenue cutters, built by order of George Washington in 1791 to enforce customs and tariff laws and provide income for the fledgling nation, and sailed from Cape Fear the following year. It famously seized notorious French smugglers, an act which led to the mysterious disappearance of its master, Thomas Cooke, and his son in 1796.

According to Coast Guard historian William H. Thiesen, the next three ships named Diligence were also based out of Wilmington. Diligence II served in the quasi-war with France in 1798 and now has a full-sized replica in the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. Diligence III was lost in a hurricane off Ocracoke in 1806, and Diligence IV saw action in the war of 1812.

As of this morning, Diligence is the only cutter named for one of the Coast Guard’s original 10 revenue cutters still serving in its namesake’s home port. But when it casts off its lines, that comes to an end. After this patrol, its new home port will be Pensacola, Florida, where Diligence will be moored alongside three other ships in its class to make maintenance easier as they near the end of their service life. When Diligence is eventually retired, its name will live on. The Coast Guard recently announced plans to build 10 new ships: Heritage-class 360-foot offshore patrol cutters, which will become the mainstay of the oceangoing fleet. The first flight will include WMSM-922 (W means Coast Guard and MSM stands for maritime security cutter), the seventh Diligence, which will carry the name forward. But currently, the Coast Guard has no plans to home port another cutter in Wilmington, although the dock will remain available to visiting ships.

Cmdr. Luke Slivinski is the ship’s commanding officer. Lean and tan, with steady blue eyes and close-cropped sandy hair, he stands on the quay by the ship’s bow, talking to the press and the small group of civilians who have gathered. Even though the ship is leaving, he emphasizes that the Coast Guard will remain: Sector Headquarters for North Carolina will stay in Wilmington, and small boat bases at Oak Island and Wrightsville Beach will continue to stand ready to come to the assistance of mariners.

“The Coast Guard has enjoyed a very special relationship with the city of Wilmington,” he says, and “that close relationship . . . will continue.” Calling Wilmington a “hidden gem in the service,” both captain and crew are sad to be saying goodbye.

Though its home port will be different, the mission of the cutter remains unchanged. Life onboard, Slivinski says, is about how you’d guess it would be spending months at a time on a 210-foot ship with “70 of your best friends.” It’s nothing like a Carnival Cruise, he explains: The work is 24/7, and 16- or 18-hour workdays are typical. The types of missions and activities the cutter gets involved in are rarely scheduled. The Atlantic Ocean can be a harsh place, something they get exposed to quite regularly, and it’s tough to be away from family and friends (and for the younger sailors, cell service) for months at a time.

“But there’s a certain allure and mystique about going to sea,” Slivinski says. “Every day is different — the environment is constantly changing. It never stops moving. And it certainly humbles you, in a way, because you’re at the whim of the ocean and Mother Nature. It’s certainly special for me, which is why I’ve made a career of it.” Working together in tight situations, while stressful, has the benefit of creating a floating family. “That’s what keeps people coming back,” Slivinski says. “It’s not the food, or the long work hours, or the constant motion or seasickness. It’s being part of a group and getting to accomplish some amazing things that no one person could do on their own. The camaraderie that you have on a seagoing ship can’t be replicated anywhere.”

It’s time to say goodbye. The captain goes back onboard, and the only people left on the pier are the families of the men and women on the cutter, waving American flags and homemade signs. A banner saying “THANK U” billows from a window on a nearby building. On the golden river, an armada of local boats floats outside the perimeter made by a Coast Guard small response boat, waiting to wish the Diligence off one last time. The ship’s crew appears on deck, on the bridge, on the fo’c’sle and the fantail, bedecked in blue coveralls and orange life jackets. Gray smoke billows from the stack as the engines warm up. The clouds are parting, the sun is coming out.

One prolonged and three short blasts on the ship’s whistle, a deep baritone bellow that announces it’s getting underway, and 228 years of maritime tradition come to an end as it clears its lines for the final time. The small boats in the river sound a chorus of horns in response; a cheer goes up. American flags wave everywhere. Diligence backs out, pivots to starboard, and slowly gathers way downriver with the falling tide. The Wilmington fireboat throws a sparkling cascade of water skyward as Diligence leads the parade south.

The crowd onshore waves goodbye. No longer will their ship play soaring bugle calls when they raise the flag in the morning or lower it at sunset. No longer will their ship ring eight bells at noon, a naval tradition that dates back to the age of sail, when time was kept with sand-filled hourglasses and eight bells signified the end of a watch, that “all was well.” Part of the heartbeat of Wilmington leaves with this ship.

Diligence, among other things, is the living counterpart to the old gray battleship North Carolina across the river — an active part of our nation’s tradition of service, a tradition as proud and colorful as the rainbow of signal flags she flew from bow to stern, dressed overall on the Fourth of July. The great white ship passes beneath the yawning span of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge for the final time, leaving the city in its wake, and heads out to sea.  OH

John Wolfe enjoys life as a writer and mariner on the North Carolina coast. More of his work can be found online at www.thewriterjohnwolfe.com.

September Almanac


Vector drawing of a twig with the ripe green apples.

September breaks you open with her golden hours, her wildflowers, her long, sweet kiss of transience. She is absolute radiance. Summer in her loveliest form. And one day, out of nowhere, she cradles your face in her tender hands, gazes into your dewy eyes, and tells you that everything will change.

September is the earliest fall leaves — yellow and burnt orange — dotting the trees like a Tibetan prayer flag strung across a verdant landscape. She’s the electric hum of cicadas, the pink glow of muhly grass in sunlight, blueberries on creeping crimson vines.

September is bewildering. Summer and autumn at once. She slows you down, asks you to savor what is right here, right now — treasures untold.

Look and see.

Pear trees heavy with yellow fruit.

Swamp sunflowers.

Monarch butterflies.

Eddies of tree swallows.

Blue tree swallow with white background

Here today, gone tomorrow. But such is the nature of September. Your face is in her hands now, and she asks you to watch closely.

You look up to the trees, notice the green and yellow leaves wave hello and goodbye as the first breeze of autumn passes through them. Just like that, summer is drifting beyond the veil, a transition that renders you both dizzy and tender.

September invites you inward. You aren’t looking for a sign per se, but you are open to one. A simple affirmation that all is as it should be; that you are where you should be, right here, right now.

It will take you by surprise.

Perhaps you will be on a walk. The path will be familiar, but today, on the stretch of trail that leads to the picnic bench in the woods, you will notice an arrangement of goldenrod and late summer flowers in a vase on the center of the table, the sun filtering through in such a way that the flowers glow. 

There is no one else around. You take a seat at the bench, and in this moment, all is well.

Everything will change, you think, but life is as it should be. Such is the nature of life
and September.

Herbarium series. Autumn series.

Signs of Autumn

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Native Americans had several names for this month’s full moon — the “Corn Moon” and “Barley Moon” among them. Other names include “Moon When the Plums Are Scarlet” (Lakota Sioux), “Moon When the Deer Paw the Earth” (Omaha), and “Moon When the Calves Grow Hair” (Sioux). Poetic, don’t you think? Whatever you’d like to call it — imagine the names you might contrive — this month’s full moon will rise in the wee hours of Sept. 2, when the swallows swirl as one, when the leaves begin to turn, when the apples are ripe for the picking.

Speaking of apples, Johnny Appleseed Day is celebrated this month — on Saturday, Sept. 26. Born John Chapman (1774–1845), this American nurseryman and missionary was the living legend known for introducing apple trees to the Midwest and northern parts of present-day West Virginia. Among the colorful stories collected about this gospel-preaching plantsman, Chapman was said to have had a pet wolf who began following him after he healed its injured leg. And while that wasn’t a mush pot on his head, he did wear a tin cap used for cooking during his travels. Another fun fact: Chapman’s trees grew tart apples believed to have been used for alcoholic cider, as the fruit itself was practically unpalatable. In Michael Pollan’s book The Botany of Desire, the author dubs Chapman a “modern-day Dionysus.” Bet they didn’t tell you that in grade school.


I meant to do my work today —
    But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,

And a butterfly flitted across the field,

    And all the leaves were calling me.

— Richard Le Gallienne


What You Sow

As winter squash and late summer crops spill from the September garden, plant mustard, radish, turnip, onion and pansies galore.

Organic kohlrabi isolated on white, straight from the ground.


Autumn is a second spring when
every leaf is a flower.
— Albert Camus


Simple Life

Unexpected September

And the art of rolling with the punches


By Jim Dodson

Not long ago, my daughter took a new job and moved with her fiancé from New York City to Los Angeles, or as I try not to think of it, from the Covid frying pan to the Coronavirus fire.

If anybody can handle it wisely, on the other hand, it’s probably Maggie and Nate. Both are experienced travelers and savvy outdoor adventurers who’ve seen just about everything from the urban jungle to the wilds of Maine.

During the first few days of their residency in the hills east of downtown LA, in fact, Mugs (as I call her) sent me a photograph of a large rattlesnake. It was casually crossing the footpath of the nature preserve near their house, where she was taking an afternoon hike with a friend and her dogs. Being a gal who grew up in the woods of Maine, she didn’t seem particularly rattled by the encounter, as it were — just respectful. “It kind of freaked the dogs but we were on the snake’s turf, after all. We just let him pass.”

A few days later, she phoned to let her old man know she and Nate had awakened to a gently shaking house. “Our first earthquake,” she pronounced with a nervous little laugh. At week’s end, she phoned again to let me know they’d already put together an  “earthquake emergency kit in case the Big One everybody predicts may happen soon.”

Once again, she didn’t sound particularly vexed, merely bracing for whatever the world might throw at them — and us — next.

During a year in which a runaway killer virus has delayed, cancelled, locked down or put on hold every aspect of “normal” American life — whatever shred of meaning that phrase still holds — I’m impressed with my daughter’s coolness under fire, an ability to keep calm and carry on as British citizens were famously advised to do on posters in 1939 as their world dissolved into World War.

Factor in 2020’s long overdue racial awakening, massive social protests in the streets, a collapsed economy and a presidential election that is shaping up to challenge the very foundations of our representative democracy and you have a formula for — well, who can really say?

A friend I bumped into at the grocery store recently told me her daughter was depressed because her wedding has been canceled due to the virus. Somewhere I later read that almost half of the scheduled weddings for 2020 have either been postponed, rescheduled or simply canceled.

“It’s as if tomorrow has been put on hold until further notice,” lamented my friend. “God only knows what the future holds.”

It visibly perked her up a bit, however, when I casually mentioned that my own daughter’s wedding was in the same boat, a victim of these unexpected times — either proof that we’re all in this hot mess together or misery loves company, take your pick.

Mugs and Nate were to be married later this month at the lovely old Episcopal Church summer camp outside Camden, Maine, where she and her younger brother spent many happy summer weeks as kids. They’d rented the entire camp and we were planning to decorate its cabins for guests to stay in rustic splendor as an option to local pricey inns. Two families were looking forward to several days of feasting on local seafood, songs around the campfire and watersports by day, with yours truly all set to don a camp sweatshirt and whistle to serve as de facto camp director, my first summer camp gig since scouting days.

Instead, wisely, they postponed the blessed event until the same third weekend in September one year from now.

The date stays the same because September in the North Country is exquisite, probably “as good as life and weather get,” as my sweet former Maine neighbor lady used to declare every year around Labor Day.

During the two decades we resided there, in fact, I fondly came to think of September as the glorious “End of Luggage Rack Season” because as the weather cools and leaves turn, the summer tourists suddenly pack up and head for home — a brief respite before bus loads of elderly “leaf-peepers” begin to roll into the Pine Tree State for their annual October invasion.

However brief, the sense of relief is palpable and the gift to residents is twofold. Summer’s end means local merchants’ pockets are full of wampum, and locals can safely venture into town to see old friends or visit uncrowded restaurants where the cost of a decent shore supper sometimes drops by a third.

Back on our forested hilltop west of town, meanwhile, surrounded by 600 acres of birch, beech and hemlock, I always found September days to be among the most peaceful and productive of the year. These were times when I was at my writing desk by dawn’s early light and spent my afternoons mowing grass or tending to my late garden or finishing up my woodpile for winter.

I never missed a chance to pause and marvel at September’s golden afternoon light and the telltale scents of summer’s end. Sometimes, if I sat long and still enough on the bench of my “Philosopher’s Garden” at the edge of the forest, a small procession of local residents would appear, including a trio of wild turkeys and a stunning pheasant, a large lady porcupine and a family of whitetail deer.

Once, unexpectedly, a large iridescent green dragonfly landed on the back of my hand as I sat on the bench, a creature from Celtic myth, allowing me to examine him — or her — up close and personal. I remember asking this divine creature where it might be headed but got no answer. After a while, on a puff of early evening wind, like summer itself, it flew away.

It’ll be 20 years next September since my wife and I sealed our own summer wedding vows by holding our reception the same third weekend of September that Maggie and Nate scheduled for their wedding this year. Maine-loving minds must think alike.

Wendy and I calculated that late September — the autumnal equinox — would be the ideal time to invite far-flung friends and family from Carolina to California to come to Maine and help us finish our vows and kick up their heels beneath a full hunter’s moon. We hired a wonderful Irish string band and our friend Paul to put on one of his spectacular lobster bakes for an unforgettable evening on the lawn.

But something unforgettable and unexpected happened that September.

Ten days before the party, as I was buying chrysanthemums at my favorite nursery on Harpswell Road on a perfect September morning, chatting with the owner as she rang up my purchases, her face suddenly went pale. I asked what was wrong. She simply pointed to the small TV playing on the wall behind me.

It was 8:50 in the morning and smoke was billowing from the side of the North Tower of Manhattan’s World Trade Center.

“A plane just flew into the top of that building,” was all she could manage. I stood watching with other shoppers for a few minutes then drove home wondering how such a horrible thing could possibly have happened.

Ten minutes later, after I unloaded the flowers and went inside to turn on the TV, I got my answer, tuning in seconds before a second airplane flew straight into the South Tower of the Trade Center.

You know the rest of this story, the single deadliest terror attack in human history that claimed more than 3,000 lives and changed so much about this country.

Like Maggie and Nate, within a day, Wendy and I decided to postpone our wedding celebration for a year. We cancelled the Irish band and the lobster bake and phoned more than 100 friends to break the news. They understood completely. Not unlike this summer of Covid-19, travel was severely restricted and most Americans simply wished to stay glued to their TV sets in the wake of 9/11’s unspeakable horrors.

Something else unexpected happened, though. After days of numbing news-watching, our phones began to ring with friends near and far wondering if they could still come to Maine for a visit. The phones kept ringing, the list kept growing. The reception was suddenly back on — and evidently needed by all.

In the end, nearly 150 souls unexpectedly showed up that September night to share our vows in a circle of hands, to dance in the moonlight, eat steamed lobster and vanish every crumb of Dame Wendy’s amazing wedding cake (which, for the record, the groom never even got a taste of). At a moment when we needed it most, we were all there for each other, to laugh, cry, dance and simply be circled in love. It was an unforgettable night after all.

“Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected,” authors Ron Hall and Denver Moore write in Same Kind of Different as Me, the moving 2006 bestseller about an unlikely friendship between a wealthy international art dealer and an angry Fort Worth homeless man that transformed both their lives.

“The unexpected can take you out,” they note. “But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life. Put a heart in your body where a stone used to be.”

That’s my wish for all of us this unexpected September, by the way — to find a heart where a stone used to be.  OH

Contact Editor Jim Dodson at jim@thepilot.com.



Cri de Kora

This year’s FolkFest is one for the ages

“Band, we’re ready for sound check!”

At the announcement, Diali Cissokho (pronounced “Djelly See-so-ko), sporting a colorful tunic in contrast to the black-clad production crew, strides down an embankment to the “stage” with its spectacular backdrop of horses, a majestic tiger and 54 other elaborately hand-carved and painted creatures of The Rotary Club of Greensboro Carousel that opened last month at Greensboro Science Center. Cissokho, a native of Senegal who makes Pittsboro his home, hoists a kora, an instrument made from hollowed-out calabash (bottle gourd), and positions it so the strings on its unusually long neck are facing him. Meanwhile the members of his band Kaira Ba, who look like any other dudes you might see in a Southern jam band, take up their own instruments.

“They’re all N.C.-born and-bred,” says Amy Grossmann, director of the NC FolkFest. She goes on to explain that all of the musical acts for this year’s festival have some connection to Old North State. With Covid-19, out-of-state bands stayed put and FolkFest organizers decided to go virtual. But, adds volunteer and board member Denny Kelly, “It builds community.”

From late July to mid-August, organizers filmed 10 bands in 10 different locations throughout the Triad: Rissi Palmer at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum in Sedalia; Chatham County Line at the Old Mill of Guilford; Charlie Hunter at Center City Park. The Hamiltones, says Kelly, belted out heartfelt songs, pretending to engage a nonexistent audience in front of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Each two-hour segment will be introduced by a host delivering remarks about the filming location and streamed September 11, 12 and 13. Kelly suspects local music fans will gather for watch parties and Grossmann concurs: “A hundred years from now, people could be watching.”

After Greensboro Science Center Director Glenn Dobrogosz makes remarks to the camera extolling the carousel as the “crown jewel” of the center’s $14.5 million expansion, Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba take the mics again, and sweet, clear, harplike notes emanate from his kora, while he sings softly building to a crescendo, songs about learning, loss and racial unity, an artist’s cri de coeur — or cri de kora in this case. “We all go in the same direction,” he says, while the carousel whirs around, its mirrored panels flickering in one continuous wheel of art, music, light and life. Info: This year’s folkfest will be available on several channels, including GTN, YouTube and mugs.net. For information please visit ncfolkfestival.com.

The Omnivorous Reader

The Write Stuff

What makes memorable writing work?


By Stephen E. Smith

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” “The world will little note nor long remember . . .” “A date which will live in infamy . . .” “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

The right words arranged in the best order have always served to rally us in moments of crisis, and although we have, of late, been inundated with words beyond number, no one has assembled the vocabulary that sums up our deep sense of frustration. Farnsworth’s Classical English Style (2020 revised edition) is the third volume in a series that focuses on words, metaphor, rhetoric and style in English usage, and although the author doesn’t address the present failure of language, he goes far in explaining what makes specific semantic patterns enduring.

Farnsworth’s approach is straightforward. He parses great writing by great writers: Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and many others whose eloquence survives even in our present circumstances — writers who understood the enduring principles of style but who were willing to violate those principles in the service of meaning and resonance.

Whereas most books on style offer formulas or impose a system for aspiring writers to follow, Farnsworth illustrates by use of example, citing short, familiar quotes to explain how memorable passages work. It is up to the reader to translate the lessons implicit in the writings of Lincoln or Churchill or in the King James Bible into a form that is acceptable in our times. Therein lies the benefit — and for the less disciplined reader, the rub. If you aren’t enthralled with language and its possibilities, the book is little more than a cure for insomnia. If, on the other hand, you’re a lover of words, Farnsworth’s latest offering might be just what the doctor ordered in the heart of a pandemic — a self-reflective occupation with the written word.

The opening chapters focus on word derivation with attention to the effects of Saxon and Latinate words, and how they shape meaning when used in opposition. “There are two ways to say almost anything in English: with little words or big ones,” Farnsworth writes. “More precisely, you can say most things with older, shorter words that have Germanic (or ‘Saxon’) roots, or with longer words that came into the language more recently — perhaps six or seven hundred years ago — from French, and before that from Latin.” Examples: ask/inquire; break/damage; luck/fortune; come/arrive, etc. Saxon words are short, direct, often one syllable, while Latinate words take prefixes and suffixes and are less likely to create an image in the reader’s mind — the visible vs. the conceptional.

Admittedly, there’s little new in this observation, and Farnsworth quotes English historian Thomas Macaulay, who detected, more than 100 years ago, the Latinate fault in the work of Samuel Johnson: “All his (Johnson’s) books are written in a learned language, in a language which nobody hears from his mother or his nurse, in a language in which nobody ever quarrels, or drives bargains, or makes love, in a language in which nobody ever thinks . . . ” Thus he cleverly employs Macaulay’s critique as both explanation and example.

Beyond this obvious observation, the reader is introduced to the more obscure nuances of word usage, demonstrating that the best writing — the most powerful writing — is a mix of Saxon and Latinate words, and he supplies and analyzes numerous passages from the King James Bible, Shakespeare, Lincoln and more. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s . . . .” “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hands?” “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff,” etc.

Many of the most recognizable passages begin with Latinate words and end with a strong series of Saxon words, as with Patrick Henry’s “I conceive it my duty, if this government is adopted before it is amended, to go home” — emphasizing the power created by word arrangements that stand in opposition to one another while keeping the demands on the reader (what Farnsworth calls “the cognitive load”) at a minimum.

The book’s central chapters explicate active and passive voice, sentence variations, and esoterica such as metonymy, anacoluthon, right- and left-branching, and direct and indirect approaches to the audience and situation, all of which are, despite the pedantic terminology, easily accessible.

The book’s final chapters, “Cadence: Classic Patterns” and “Cadence: Combinations & Contrasts,” which deal with prosody, the study of the stress and intonation in language, can be a trifle deadly — reminiscence of junior high English classes where you were tortured with scansions of Poe’s bouncy “The Raven” or Christopher Marlowe’s “Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships. . . .” During a raging pandemic, who gives a rip about spondees and pentameters?

Still, Classical English Style is immensely entertaining, an indulgence for anyone wishing to escape the moment, and it’s worth a careful read, if for no other reason than it collects memorable quotes, a sort of Greatest Hits of clear and beautiful communication.

So where are the words we need to hear? Where is the unifying sentence or paragraph so necessary at this time in our shared distress?

It may have been uttered by George Floyd as he lay on the asphalt with a knee on his neck. Whether accidental metaphor or straightforward reality, “I can’t breathe” — a simple Saxon sentence that Farnsworth would find perfectly acceptable — may well sum up our collective state of mind, although it does nothing to lift us out of the funk in which we find ourselves.  OH

Stephen E. Smith is a retired professor and the author of seven books of poetry and prose. He’s the recipient of the Poetry Northwest Young Poet’s Prize, the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Prize for poetry and four North Carolina Press awards.

Mural, Mural on The Wall

Raman Bhardwaj sends big messages with oversize art

By Maria Johnson     Photographs by Lynn Donovan


Artist Raman Bhardwaj stands so close to movie star Lupita Nyong’o, he can feel the heat coming off of her, and she is flat sizzling.

Neither wears a mask — worrisome behavior in these Covid-19 times — but it’s OK because Bhardwaj is painting the actress’s face on an outdoor mural that’s catching the late afternoon sun.


“I can’t stand the heat,” Bhardwaj says casually. His last name is pronounced BARD-wadj. First name: RUM-an, “Like in rum and Coke,” he says.

As a native of India, he cannot claim this is his first experience with furnace-like temperatures, but he is undeterred. Shade from a curtain of trees crawls his way.

He pours a stream of glossy black latex into a tray and soaks a paint roller to do Nyong’o’s hair.

“Usually you would start a picture from the top down,” Bhardwaj explains as he steps up to his sweltering work. “If something goes wrong, I’ll fix it. I’ll take the risk.”

He crowns Nyong’o in broad strokes. The paint does not cover completely, and the effect is softening.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Bhardwaj says, stepping back. “It’s good.”

Just then, the roller attachment drops off its handle, landing in the recently bulldozed dirt of the Kotis Street Art Outdoor Gallery.

“Uh-oh,” says Bhardwaj.

He snatches up the sticky roller, picks off the biggest pieces of crud and continues painting, standing on the toes of his paint-splattered Crocs until he cannot reach any higher.

He tries a longer handle, but it doesn’t work, so he reverts to the short handle, drags a ladder to the wall and continues working on Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave.

Gently, Bhardwaj wipes a drip of black paint from her left ear, picks up a can of nutmeg-colored spray paint and replaces a curved ridge of cartilage. Pssst. A thin line of black under her left eyelid. Pssst. A white gleam in the center of her iris. Pssst. A touch of sienna in the white of her eye.

“Our brain thinks it’s white, but it’s actually not,” says Bhardwaj.

A breeze sweeps away puffs of paint that do not make it to Nyong’o’s striking face, a visage Bhardwaj chose to venerate the beauty of brown-skinned women.

Marty’s brush. That’s what some people call Bhardwaj, meaning he’s the go-to painter of Greensboro developer Marty Kotis, father of the local street-art scene.

It’s a remarkable nickname for the 44-year-old artist, considering that he had never painted a mural, much less tagged a wall with graffiti, before last year.

“In my hometown, we had no culture of murals,” says Bhardwaj, who was weaned on paper and canvas. He grew up in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh and landed in Greensboro on an artist’s visa in 2018.

Now, a year after Kotis handed him a spray can, Bhardwaj has finished 29 projects, a healthy slice of the 220 works created under the umbrella of Kotis Street Art in its four-year history. (See September 2018’s ohenrymag.com/painting-the-town/)

Bhardwaj has a strong presence at the developer’s latest project, an outdoor gallery of pole-mounted panels near the corner of Church Street and Lees Chapel Road.

Not only is Bhardwaj’s mural of Nyong’o’s face prominent there — you can’t miss her; she’s the one with a third eye of consciousness on her forehead — his work covers almost every vertical surface in the adjacent Church Crossing shopping center, which Kotis owned for seven years before making it a venue for aerosol art.

The caramel whorls painted on stucco over Millie Nails? They’re Bhardwaj’s. The stout round columns covered with brown faces and Hindi letters? His. The Marvel Comics and DC Comics characters duking it out on a retaining wall? Those are Bhardwaj’s, too. At Kotis’s direction, he darkened the complexions of some characters. Witness a Captain America that looks more like America — and Greensboro.

“We wanted a welcoming wall that inspired kids of different colors and nationalities,” says Kotis.

Bhardwaj’s art is not limited to the walls of Kotis holdings.

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, Bhardwaj took to the streets of downtown Greensboro with other supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The activism resonated with him. As a dark-skinned child, he felt the sting of prejudice. Though he was born a Brahmin, the highest social caste, he watched as his teachers lined up the lightest-skinned students in the front rows for class pictures.

“I thought, ‘OK, the fair-skinned kids have a better chance than me,” he says. “It acts on your confidence level. I can connect with the Black community.”

In late May, he joined other Greensboro artists who got approval from business owners to express themselves on plywood that protected plate glass from looters.

Bhardwaj painted two murals at Little Brother Brewing. One shows two boys — one Black, one White — with their arms around each other. The other shows a dark hand and a light hand curled to form a heart shape. The panels have been moved to Guilford Preparatory Academy, a charter school on East Cone Boulevard.

“They’re going to appeal to kids,” he says. “Even if you’re not paying attention, images are stored in your head, and they have an effect.”

Last year, his piece Flights of Fancy, a dreamy green vision of floating people and animals, was posted on billboards across the Piedmont. The surreal piece was one of five local winners of ArtPop, a national contest sponsored in this area by the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Bhardwaj’s submission was grounded in his own feelings about immigration.

“I was thinking of a free land, with no borders, where people can fly anywhere,” he says. “I like to dream happy. No matter how big you are, everybody likes magic.”

As a child growing up in Chandigarh, a city laid out by French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier (picture lots of traffic circles), Bhardwaj was fascinated by religion and mysticism.

He built an altar to Hindu gods in his room at age 4.

By the time he was 6, he was known as the kid who recited long chants and prayers.

“I could memorize anything and retain anything,” he says. “I was good in studies for the same reason.”

One day, after looking at a classmate’s drawing of the popular comic strip character Daddy-Ji, Bhardwaj went home and drew Daddy-Ji for himself.

“I drew it for many days,” he says. “I was trying to perfect it. The day I could draw it without looking at the picture, I was like, ‘Yes!’”

Soon, he was known as the kid who spouted prayers and drawings. Gradually, art replaced religion as his obsession. He shunned sports, which he found to be populated by bullies.

“I was intimidated,” he says.

He made peace powerful in pencil and paper, which he used to detail the musculature of athletes, superheroes and mythical figures. Bhardwaj imagined that he, too, possessed the powers to overcome his weaknesses and help others.

His favorite hero was Batman, righter of wrongs.

Bhardwaj’s father, a city college official and editor of a literary magazine, divined a career for his younger son: illustrator.

He introduced him to a children’s book publisher, and Bhardwaj, age 12, had his first professional gig, drawing pictures for moralistic books by the writer Munshi Premchand.

Bhardwaj earned 10 rupees — about 60 U.S. cents in those days — per illustration. A book contained 10 to 15 images. “For one book, I would get more than my monthly allowance, so I was happy,” he says.

At age 19, while studying art at a local art college, Bhardwaj won a national award for his illustrations.

Emboldened, he asked the college gallery for a one-man show of his figure drawings. He was denied, but he landed a show at a city museum. He also got an encouraging review after badgering a tough critic, S.S. Bhatti, to see his work.

Today, Bhardwaj reflects on the chutzpah he mustered as a young man.

“I wanted to prove something to everyone, always,” he says. “Even in school, I dreaded failure, so I over-prepared. It was out of fear of failure.”

Fear propelled him to the top of his profession. He won recognition as a newspaper illustrator and designer at The Indian Express and The Times of India, both daily behemoths.

He also expanded the sideline he’d started at age 12, illustrating children’s books and, thanks to the growing reach of the Internet, generating logos and animations for business websites.

Bhardwaj preferred Western clients to Indian clients. They were more polite, he thought, and they paid better.

“I felt like they were more honest and appreciated me,” he says.

He became a pure freelancer in 2010, and he thought about moving to the West, but family ties kept him in India until his mother’s sudden death in 2017.

“After that, I thought, ‘I have to go now. Life is short,’” he says.

He applied for an artist’s visa that would allow him to stay in the United States for three years.

In March 2018, he landed in Greensboro, where his brother lives. Bhardwaj liked the city immediately. It reminded him of home.

“It’s clean and green and sleepy,” he says. “I like sleepy.”

He hadn’t been here long when he added an item to his bucket list: “I cannot die without doing a wall.” Murals, with their oversize scale and impact, mesmerized him. “Content-wise, they can be grand,” he says. “I like to do grand things.”

By the summer of 2019, Bhardwaj had painted his first two murals, one inside the Greensboro Cultural Center and one facing a covered patio at The Brewer’s Kettle, a beer hall in Kernersville.

He was itching to tackle more visible pieces, but he was nervous.

“I’m not ready,” Bhardwaj told his friend Bill West, a musician from Chapel Hill.

“You’ll never be ready,” said West, as he handed Bhardwaj the web address for Kotis Street Art.

Bhardwaj and Marty Kotis had coffee. Kotis offered him a trial run inside his Red Cinemas, a movie multiplex blanketed, inside and out, with wall art. Wielding spray cans for the first time, Bhardwaj painted caricatures of two Bollywood stars, Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.

Kotis offered another space, on the backside of Saffron Indian Cuisine in the Westover Gallery of Shops. Bhardwaj brushed on a giant ballerina.

He spray-painted his next piece, Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight, which haunts the backside of Red Cinemas.

Kotis was floored, not only by the composition, but by how quickly Bhardwaj learned to use spray cans and the “doodle grid” system that most street artists use to accurately transfer digital images to large walls.

He was even more impressed when Bhardwaj squeezed another version of the criminal clown — based on Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal in Joker — into a doorway in the back of the theater.

“That’s extremely difficult, to aerosol that small a character,” says Kotis. “There’s not a lot of room for error.”

Next, Bhardwaj busted out a shirtless Bruce Lee on the back of World of Beer the Westover Gallery. After that, Kotis, who’d been providing the artist with supplies and food, started paying him for commissions.

Last year, on the 25th anniversary of the Community Theatre Group’s performance of The Wizard of Oz, Bhardwaj and Kotis cooked up a tribute. Bhardwaj would paint 13 Wizard scenes on Kotis properties all over town, creating a scavenger hunt for fans of the film.

But first, Bhardwaj had to watch the movie.

“Now I see what everyone is so excited about,” he says. “I love that movie. It’s great, great storytelling.”

Increasingly, Bhardwaj paints murals in private homes. For one client, a basketball fan, he plastered Michael Jordan across a carport wall. For Jeanie Duncan and her partner Lyn Koonce, who live on the edge of Fisher Park, Bhardwaj blanketed one dining room wall with a condensed panorama of the park. Using a brush to achieve the look of a pen-and-ink drawing spiced with splashes of color, he folded in the couple’s favorite features of the neighborhood: antique street lights; stone bridges; the masonry King’s Chair; rocks in the creek; and wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels, birds and dragonflies.

He finished the piece in July.

“We can’t wait to share it with others,” says Duncan, who’s eager for coronavirus to subside. “It’s a conversation piece between the two of us. I can only imagine what it will be among friends and family.”

In the post-Covid world, Bhardwaj wants to pick up where he left off, doing local shows of his paintings on canvas. His studio pieces whisper the influences of Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse.

These days, he paints mostly women, including nudes, a practice scorned in many places in India.

“I still find in Greensboro some people are not comfortable with it, but it’s not dangerous. It’s not like people can come to your gallery and mess up your show and take down your paintings,” he says.

Bhardwaj hopes to get a three-year extension of his visa, which runs out at the end of this year. He’s gathering contracts to justify staying. He’d like to get a Green Card, indicating permanent residency, and become a U.S. citizen.

For all of this country’s problems, he says, it’s a fertile place to be an artist. The average person here knows much more about art than his compatriots back home.

“Here, even if I’m alone among foreigners, we still have the connection with art, which is my life.”  OH

See Bhardwaj’s work on Instagram @artistraman or

O.Henry Ending

By Chris Burritt

We packed Alice up and put her on a plane to Paris. Somehow she had convinced me that spending a year in one of the most expensive cities in the world would be cheaper than going to college in Columbia, South Carolina.

Not yet 21, Alice has turned out just as many parents would wish. She’s smarter than her dad. She inherited a blessed few traits from me. She stumbles on her words. When the last of her travel documents for Paris arrived shortly before her departure, I chided her, but she reminded me she had learned procrastination from me.

I imagine some of you would welcome a break from your grown children. In the few weeks Alice was home last summer, she left coffee mugs everywhere except in the kitchen sink. She hijacked her grandmother’s car and scooted around whenever she pleased. Exactly where, I’m not sure, though I think she was somewhere in the Carolinas.

I ask you to remember a few years back, or maybe long ago, when your children were coming along and you wished the best for them. If you were lucky, they didn’t get caught skipping school or breaking the speed limit — or worse. We shouldn’t be surprised when they fail to resist the temptations of the proverbial primrose path; after all, we’ve created a roadmap for them.

I should have learned this lesson sooner. But admittedly, I’m a pushover for my daughter — even to this day. Children play the gray between parents. They tell us where they’re going. They sometimes lie. Alice tends toward being sneaky, another of my traits. I’ve warned her about the perils of shading the truth; she shrugs.

I’ve urged her to wear a mask wherever she goes even if Covid-19 regulations don’t require it. Her insouciance nagged me as Alice left for her second trip to Paris, on her own. The first visit was a family trip that lasted a few weeks. Alice was old enough to cycle with her older brother, Christopher, to the bakery near our garden apartment. They’d return with soft éclairs, fresh and wrapped in paper.

I realized then they were blessed with wanderlust that lured Christopher to Asia and now Alice to Paris. She said she’s actually going to study there. Alice endeared herself to me long ago when she defended my dog, Inky, from someone’s accusation that she smelled bad. “Inky smells like Inky,’’ Alice replied.

She was a precocious child. I rocked her on a creaky floor, telling stories about a little girl who lived in a house in the woods. On her walks, she’d encounter a monster with long claws that would swipe at her heels. She always managed to escape, jumping through her bedroom window and under her bed covers, safely home.

I remembered those stories when Alice came home last summer, though some of their details had slipped away. I also remembered rocking Alice for a while when I’d finish the story, until she’d say, “You can leave now.’’ I guess she’s saying as much now.

Before she departed, Alice invited me to visit her in Paris. I’m setting aside money from odd jobs to buy a plane ticket.

I’m inclined to pass on things we did before. Wouldn’t I regret skipping the Mona Lisa in the Louvre? I tell myself no. I’m embarrassed to say what I actually want to do: Return to a particular bench near the Musée d’ Orsay, a museum of Impressionist art. It was shady and cool on that July day, I remember, and Alice slept in my lap, while her mother and brother visited the museum to look at Van Gogh’s self-portraits and one of his starry nights.

I think I’ll book a flight for next spring. On second thought, the view from the Eiffel Tower may be too breathtaking to pass up. My daughter and I may ride to the top together. Imagine this instead: I jump on a flight to Paris and when I get there, Alice is not. Never was. Wouldn’t that be just like her?  

Chris Burritt is a Greensboro native who has worked for the State Port Pilot, the weekly newspaper in Southport, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Bloomberg News. He now writes articles for the Northwest Observer covering Summerfield, Oak Ridge and Stokesdale.



Illustration by Harry Blair

Life’s Funny

Hanging with Coneheads

How to lick a pandemic


By Maria Johnson
Are you ready for a scoop or two of good news?
Then lean in for the story of Ozzie’s, a Greensboro ice cream shop owned by local educators Adam and Betsy Greer.
In case you’ve never been to Ozzie’s, you’ll find it on Old Battleground Road, near the national military park, in a space that used to hold a cross-training gym.
These days, folks come to lift waffle cones, floats and sundaes instead of kettle bells. You’ll see Ozzie’s customers — a diverse lot by age, race and favorite flavor — fanned out across the broad lawn, posted up at picnic tables, folded into lawn chairs and perched on blankets. In the parking lot, some dangle their legs from tailgates while others hunker inside the ultimate personal protective equipment — their cars — within view of their neighbors but out of breath’s reach.
With masks at ease, they lap up glistening globes of Honey Roasted Peanut Butter, Mint Moose Tracks, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle and other ice creams churned out by the Blue Bell and Hershey’s brands.
In a year when many businesses have been choked — if not outright suffocated — by Covid-19, Ozzie’s thrives because of many threads that wound together as the pandemic gained steam.
Shop owner Adam Greer starts the story earlier this year, one night in February. He was walking the family dog. His cell phone rang. It was someone from Cobb Animal Clinic, next door to Ozzie’s former location, farther south on Old Battleground Road.
They wanted to talk about parking.
Adam understood. Ever since 2014, when the Greers bought the ice cream shop thinking it would be a good source of sideline income and a great place for their five kids to learn about business, parking had been a pain. When the shop’s 10 spaces filled up, cars spilled over into the veterinarians’ lot. The Greers asked people not to park there, but they did anyway.
The phone call was cordial, but Adam was panicked by the time he hung up. He needed to change something, but he didn’t want Ozzie’s to lose its location beside the A&Y Greenway, a popular hiking and biking route. And he didn’t want to move to a shopping center, which he thought would rob the store of its charm.
Named for a diner that the Greer family frequented while they were on a church mission to Jinja, Uganda, in 2010 and ’11, Ozzie’s was meant to re-create the laid-back, good-to-see-you, linger-as-long-as-you-like vibe of the cafe.
Place was important.
Adam — who works full-time as lead administrator at The Covenant School, a private Christian academy housed at Centenary United Methodist Church — hopped in his truck and drove past the ice cream shop, hoping for inspiration in a string of commercial buildings up Old Battleground Road.
Hope winked in a “For Rent” sign, which Adam later learned had been put up the day before. He toured the former gym the next day. He and his wife Betsy, who works at Caldwell Academy and Hope Chapel church, agreed on signing a lease the following week.
The family descended to up fit the new location.
“The kids painted and laid tile,” says Adam. “In some ways, it was fun for us.”
Meanwhile, in March, Covid-19 clenched the country, and business at the original Ozzie’s slowed to a trickle. Then came the full force of spring.
“As the weather turned, it began to pick up,” says Adam. “People were looking for something fun to do that didn’t cost a fortune.”
It didn’t hurt that people itching for exercise flooded the greenway, as well as the adjoining necklace of parks: Jaycee Park, Country Park and Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.
When Ozzie’s opened the new location at the end of April, sales ballooned, partly because of Covid boredom, partly because of proximity to the parks, and partly because of the shop’s roomier digs.
“A lot of customers have said they didn’t go to the old location because it was harder to get in and out,” he says.
Adam admits it feels weird for Ozzie’s to flourish in a year when so many other small businesses suffer.
“For that, I’m sad,” he says. “It’s a ton of work, and it’s hard to make money.”
But he’s happy that his shop provides a wholesome place for people to gather at a distance. There are several tables inside the new parlor, but most people gravitate to the lawn, where they can drift apart, yet knit together loosely — if only around the primitive pleasures of summer shade, a dollop of creamy sweetness, the nod and smile of a stranger.
The Greers stress to their teenage employees the importance of being upbeat and welcoming to all who mask and queue inside for a cone.
“We want to be a blessing, a bright spot,” he says. “One of the things Covid has done is help us understand the importance of community. I think that’s the way the Lord made us: We crave community.”
And occasionally, a scoop of Sea Salt Caramel. OH

Info: ozziesicecream.com Info: ozziesicecrea
Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. She can be reached at





Slant toward another

Season. The light tells

time when the first red leaf

Of fall lands torn and bug bitten

at our feet after fluttering

down like some letaloose

little bird. Summer lays lost

and the grasshopper saws his song

To some organic green tune

His mother wove. He chides

What works he himself has never

Seen nor done. His antennae

Tick, flicks dust mote spangles

Of sun spent worries and he

Glides toward home.

— Ruth Moose