Allison Hand + Jordan Kral


Photographer: By Colette Photo Videographer: Wayward North Films Wedding Coordinator: Mary Dutton, Forest Creek

Both collegiate athletes, Jordan, a golfer, and Allison, a softball player, met through a teammate at a college bar. After dating briefly in school, the couple reconnected a few years later when Jordan reached out.

“We talked on the phone for hours that night and pretty much never stopped,” Allison remembered.

A beach proposal secretly photographed by Allison’s cousin and a brunch celebration with friends and family made a sweet start to a Sunday. After moving all over the United States and even back to Jordan’s hometown of Windsor, Ontario, the couple settled in Pinehurst so the groom could continue to work in golf.

They held their wedding ceremony on the grass overlooking a golf course at the Forest Creek Golf Club and then moved on to food in the dining room and dancing outside on the patio. With flowers from Thistle & Moon, Allison said her modern, boho wedding came to life.

Ceremony & Reception: Forest Creek Golf Club | Dress: Elsie, Made with Love | Shoes: Vince Camuto | Hair: Kaylee Thomas, Bronde Salon & Extension Bar | Makeup: Chelsea O’Neal, Brittany King | Bridesmaids: Birdy Grey | Groom & Groomsmen: Freeds of Windsor | Flowers: Thistle & Moon | Cake & Cupcakes: Designer Cakes by: Brigitte and Southern Angel Donut Co. | Catering: Forest Creek Golf Club | Rentals: Richmond Rentals & Sales | Invitations: Shutterbug Grafix | Transportation: A Ride Transportation and Seven Lakes Transportation

Omnivorous Reader

Dame Agatha’s Mystery

A novel look at Christie’s 11-day disappearance

By Anne Blythe

Dame Agatha Christie, the famed author who wrote 66 detective novels in her 85 years, left the conclusion of one very public mystery untold.

While some details are known about what happened in December 1926 when the prolific writer famously went missing for 11 days, much remains unknown. That has led to an array of books and films in which writers attempt to piece together clues, fill in gaps and offer theories about Christie’s perplexing disappearance.

Nina de Gramont, a creative writing professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, has put forward an intriguing and inventive account in her latest novel, The Christie Affair. She tells her story from the perspective of the mistress who, history tells us, broke up the marriage of Christie and her first husband, Archie.

Here’s what we know from newspaper accounts.

The search for Christie included hundreds of police officers, planes, amateur sleuths on bicycles and in cars, musings from fellow mystery writers Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers, and even a séance at the site where her green Morris Cowley was found deserted in a ditch in the English countryside.

Many theories were posed about what happened to the “lady novelist,” as some journalists described Christie. Was her body at the bottom of the Silent Pool, the lake in Surrey, England, near the abandoned car? Could the mystery writer, not so well-known at the time, be pulling a publicity stunt?

The hunt ended some 200 miles north of Sunningdale, where the author lived with her husband Archie and their daughter, when it was revealed that Christie had checked into the Swan Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate using the name Theresa Neele. It was not known at the time by the public, but Neele was the last name of Archie’s mistress, the woman he planned to leave his wife for.

Christie’s only public explanation of her whereabouts came in a February 1928 interview with the Daily Mail, in which she described being in a state of depression after her mother’s death in 1926 and suffering from “private troubles,” which she said she preferred not to get into with the reporter. The Daily Mail reported that Christie contemplated death by suicide several times before driving her car into the remote ditch, hitting something, being flung against the steering wheel and bumping her head. It has long been questioned whether Christie truly had amnesia as the family reported after a public outcry about the extensive search and cost of it when it was revealed the author had been staying in the hotel under an assumed name.

“Up to this moment, I was Mrs. Christie,” she told the Daily Mail.

In her book, Gramont names her narrator Nan O’Dea, a departure from Nancy Neele, the real-life other woman. Without giving short shrift to details of the headline-grabbing disappearance available in newspaper archives around the world, de Gramont devises a double-pronged plot. She alternates between Nan’s account of the days and crucial moments before Christie went missing and a backstory filled with sadness and grief that drives the fictional narrator.

We’re transported from London to Ireland and the worlds of the haves and have-nots amid World War I. We move back and forth between Nan’s early days and her first powerful love in Ireland to Christie’s unraveling marriage and the 11 days that inspired the novel. Slowly, we find out why Nan sets her sights on Archie and aggressively works to woo him away from Agatha to achieve a greater love that becomes clearer as the suspense unravels.

Like the “Queen of Crime,” Gramont has a knack for mystery. She lures her readers in with her first sentence: “A long time ago in another country, I almost killed a woman.”

The North Carolina author also has a gift for leaving subtle signs of what lies ahead, putting pointers in plain sight in the style of Christie.

“Anyone who says I have no regrets is either a psychopath or a liar,” Nan, the narrator, says in the opening chapter when asked by her sister whether she regrets what she did. “I am neither of those things, simply adept at keeping secrets. In this way, the first Mrs. Christie and the second are very much alike. We both know you can’t tell your own story without exposing someone else’s. Her whole life, Agatha refused to answer any questions about the eleven days she was missing, and it wasn’t only because she needed to protect herself. I would have refused to answer, too, if anyone had thought to ask.”

Right at the start, we find out what will become clear in the end — Nan ends up with Archie and Agatha does not.

What we get from de Gramont’s evocative and layered scenes between the beginning and end are often twists, steamy romance, deadpan humor, an unexpected body (as necessary in any Christie mystery) and adventures to old-fashioned villages with a cast of mostly affable, but complicated characters.

“As readers our minds reach toward longed for conclusions,” de Gramont writes as Nan brings her own narrative to a close with an ending that’s not all rosy.

Her storyline for Agatha, though, concludes with a happier image.

“A mystery should end with a killer revealed, and so it has,” de Gramont writes toward the end of her book. “A quest should end with a treasure restored. And so it has. A tragic love story should end with its lovers dead or departed. But a romance. That should end with lovers reunited. Beyond the confines of these pages, life will go tumbling forward. But this is my story. I can make anything happen, unbeholden to a future that now has become the past. I can leave you with a single image, and we pretend it lasts forever. So for this part of the story, let’s stop here.”

The author’s masterful storytelling leaves you longing for more. PS

Anne Blythe has been a reporter in North Carolina for more than three decades. She has covered city halls, higher education, the courts, crime, hurricanes, ice storms, droughts, floods, college sports, health care and many wonderful characters who make this state such an interesting place.


The Second Independence Day

Produced by Brady Gallagher

Photographs by Tim Sayer

In June of 1865, two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 2,000 soldiers of the 13th U.S. Army Corps arrived in Galveston, Texas. Led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, the troops marched through Galveston reading General Order No. 3 at numerous locations, including their headquarters, the courthouse, and at what is now the Reedy Chapel-AME Church. The order informed all Texans that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves were free.

One year later, on June 19, 1866, the formerly enslaved people of Galveston celebrated a year of freedom with the Juneteenth holiday, a name derived by blending the words “June” and “nineteenth.” Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteenth is believed to be the oldest African American holiday, and currently 49 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia — in addition to the federal government — recognize Juneteenth as either a holiday or ceremonial holiday and a day of observance.

Juneteenth celebrations include picnics, rodeos, barbecues, parades, and readings of the works of Black authors like Ralph Ellison, whose posthumously published second novel is titled Juneteenth. Mitch Capel will host his second Juneteenth celebration this year at Cardinal Park. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at Sandhills Community College will also host its second Juneteenth celebration this year.

Kim Wade

Educator and Community Activist

I can only imagine the mixture of overwhelming emotions felt on June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas, heard U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger read the Executive Order of the United States, that all slaves are free.

When reflecting on that day, once the slaves felt safe to react, I imagine them running, jumping, dancing and shouting with joy. I’m certain many fell to their knees and praised God for answering their prayers. I can feel their tears of relief and understand their fear and uncertainty — including the PTSD effects so many acquired after experiencing years of inconceivable abuse and separation from family.

To me, Juneteenth marks that moment in history when the dynamic for many slaves began to shift, for the first time in their lives, to being acknowledged as a human. We became more than humanlike plantation cattle. It is one of the original landmarks of unlimited possibilities for the formerly enslaved.

Juneteenth is Independence Day for African Americans because it marks a documented date when the last group of slaves across the nation finally got the news.

My family and I celebrate Juneteenth by attending festivals or hosting cookouts and now family reunions. I remember learning about President Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves, but this portion of history was not something I was taught in school. Like many baby boomers, we learned most of our Black history through the grapevine of relatives, Black media and historians in our community.

One of the many personal stories about some of my ancestors becoming free slaves, documented in UNC-Chapel Hill historical archives, includes family members here in Moore County owning so much land they donated some of it to build what was known as a formal school for Negroes. That property is presently mapped as part of Hoke County. They were industrious enough to use the pine trees on their property to operate a lucrative turpentine business. Some of the same family’s offspring migrated to predominately Black Rosewood, Florida, where a racial massacre took place in 1923. These are the types of stories we share to honor the resourcefulness of our ancestors.

Every African American across this county and country has so much history about their ancestors we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. Juneteenth, declared a federal holiday, will help document and create a platform for many of those treasured conversations for generations to come. It will not only include the story about slaves in Galveston, it will lead to many personal stories of the enslaved and their descendants throughout America.

Juneteenth is a time for all Americans to gather and celebrate African American history and culture. Together we get to reflect how far America has come and how much further we plan to go, despite the obstacles in our path. For those of us who embrace different cultures and love learning about everyone’s uniqueness and our different journeys, it’s an exciting time to be alive.


Danny Hayes

House of Fish Owner and Chef

Juneteenth wasn’t taught or celebrated in the school system where I was educated. I wasn’t aware of Juneteenth, the meaning of that day, or what actually occurred until about 15 years ago, setting me off on a quest for knowledge and understanding. Now that I know something about this incredible holiday, I choose to celebrate with food. The seafood dishes I will serve on the Saturday before Juneteenth will be inspired by what my ancestors would have had. It’s an acknowledgement that I stand on the shoulders of people who paid the price for me to live my dream.

The poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou speaks to how I feel about Juneteenth, especially two lines in the final stanza:

Bringing the gift my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.


Diana Turner-Forte

Teaching Artist in Dance, Reiki Master and Holistic Health Practitioner

Juneteenth represents another day to express gratitude to a higher source for being alive and having the opportunity to share my passion for creative expression. It’s a day to celebrate freedom, not just for African Americans but for all of humanity. Every milestone in history is a step forward and should be appreciated.

My journey as a classical ballet dancer occurred during a matinee performance at Mershon Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio, when I was mesmerized by a live performance of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Fall River Legend. I received the kiss of destiny and was lured into the program by the craftsmanship of the dancers, the synchronicity of movement to music, and the lighting and stage sets. 

A few weeks later I was on a plane to study at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School to be molded into a professional ballet dancer. It was in Canada, through the rigorous, disciplined daily ritual of mental and physical training, where my technique was refined and my awareness of classical lines, flexibility and physical form were honed. I was transformed into an artist and began my professional performing career with the Chicago Ballet in 1974.

In addition to Juneteenth, another 19th century milestone was the 1846 premiere of African American dancer George Washington Smith in the role of Albrecht with Mary Ann Lee in the first American production of the ballet Giselle in his hometown. Smith acquired his skills as a ballet dancer from studying with visiting European teachers in Philadelphia, a thriving arts hub at that time. 

Trailblazers are driven by faith, passion and courage. They are always looking past the horizon with an innate knowing of potential opportunities. They are compelled to continue their journeys regardless of what others say or do. Friedrich Nietzsche speaks to this idea: “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

Racial, economic or educational obstacles are simply provocations for visionaries to take great strides forward aligned with their higher purpose. The voices of Black, Indigenous, people of color, women, healers, poets and artists are inevitably inclusive — filled with wisdom and clarity — and yet often end up being the most maligned contributors of a civilization.

Ideally Juneteenth will evolve into a celebration of American freedom, truth-telling, and multicultural community events in which citizens become more awake, spiritually grounded, and together seek to forge paths that offer meaning and hope to future generations.


Fallon Brewington

Chief Executive Officer Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills

Growing up, I never really knew what Juneteenth was and what it symbolized. I honestly got the best explanation and understanding of it from the ABC show black-ish. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to watch it whether you are just learning about it or have known and celebrated it for years.

What Juneteenth personifies to me is yet another momentous day that I am proud of my heritage and history as a Black woman in America. In my family, we were raised to know how the strength and perseverance of our ancestors helped shape and mold us into resilient, powerful, proud people, and to take pride in the the color of our skin and what it means to be in it. It is a sacred legacy, to do whatever it takes to ensure the generations that follow have it better than we do, just as my ancestors endured injustice to pave a better way for me.

I spend time with my children on all holidays. It’s important to have those family traditions that they can reflect on when they get older and have their own families. It’s the same for Juneteenth. We celebrate by participating in various community events in Moore County, or we may go back to where I was raised in Richmond County. This year we will Celebrate at Cardinal Park.

My parents made sure we knew we were going to do more and have more opportunities than they did. It was their mission to ensure that their children would have the ability to do and experience just about anything we wanted. I now know how much of a sacrifice that was emotionally, mentally, physically, financially and even spiritually. I can see this as a parent trying to do the same thing for my own children, as well as the youth in our community. It’s the greatest gift to experience the fruits and rewards of their labor in my life, in my children’s lives.

Ultimately, I believe that’s the essence and spirit of Juneteenth. All of us, especially Black Americans, are the fruit and rewards of our ancestors’ labor and what they endured.


Mitch Capel

Storyteller, Artist, Actor, Poet

Juneteenth is a day of reflection on the struggles, hardships and injustices suffered by our ancestors who were held in captivity for over 400 years. It was a day of jubilation for the descendants of the 250,000 still enslaved people who finally received the news 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation that the dream of freedom was a reality.

The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times. Now that it is a federally recognized holiday, the level of acceptance and awareness will hopefully be accelerated. The history of this country has been distorted while being taught, and it is disheartening that there is now an effort to sugar-coat even more of the truth about this nation. If we ever want to have an honest accounting of who we are in America, we can’t pick and choose what we wish to remember. There is an African proverb that says: “Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse.”

In 1872, in Galveston, Texas, those formally held in bondage saved $1,000 to purchase a piece of land where they could celebrate Juneteenth because of laws barring people of color the use of public facilities. Ninety years later, in 1962, my father, Felton Capel Sr., purchased acreage in Pinebluff where folks could celebrate, recreate and gather because of residual effects of those same laws — renamed segregation — that were in place. The Cardinal Park has become synonymous with good wholesome fun for all communities in Moore and surrounding counties.

I have celebrated Juneteenth over the years telling historical stories around the country at festivals, museums and other venues where the day was being acknowledged. Last year we decided to celebrate Juneteenth at Cardinal Park in Pinebluff in an effort to bring about reflection and reconciliation in our communities. It was a joyously wonderful gathering of an estimated 750 people. This year we’re expecting the same, if not more.

One of my father’s, and my own, favorite stories is by the great African American poet laureate Paul Laurence Dunbar and is titled “Goin’ Back.” I love this poem because it captures the migration after emancipation and the climate 30 years later. My father loved it because he too left the South and moved to New York at an early age seeking a better life only to return soon after, realizing his best opportunity was where his roots were. Right here in Moore County.   PS

The Happy House

Elegance and practicality on the lake

By Deborah Salomon     Photographs by John Gessner


When Bill and Mandy Berg moved from Charlotte to Pinehurst in 2018, Mandy’s goal was to create a “happy place” — light, bright, uncluttered, cheerful. The tools were at hand: Mandy’s profession is staging houses to look their best for prospective buyers. But this job had moving parts. The décor must be elegant for entertaining yet practical, given a family with two young children, a huge dog, a cat and all the attendant paraphernalia.

Mandy pulled it off, complete with white carpet in the bedrooms, off-white upholstery in living room and den, and vanilla walls throughout.

Not that anybody would notice a few muddy footprints or sticky fingers with all eyes on the view. The Bergs’ three acres slope down to Lake Inverness at the Country Club of North Carolina (CCNC) where a brood of ducklings paddle through the water lilies and a turtle climbs onto the grassy shoreline. Herons, largemouth bass and an eagle complete the wildlife backdrop. Sunsets can be spectacular from a deck stretching the length of the house, equipped for cooking, eating, relaxing, playing.

Naturally, this happy place, built in 1982 for a furniture executive, brings the view inside through windows and tall sliding glass doors . . . everywhere. In fact, if the 1 1/2-story house with slightly Asian lines, four roof pitches covered in wood shakes and a whiff of Mid-Century Modern was seeking a name, The Abode of Sliding Doors might work.

A door not facing the lake reveals a petite tea garden walled off for privacy, and the children’s upstairs bedroom doors open onto balconies. Even the laundry room has a view. The effect is absolutely mesmerizing, rain or shine, winter or summer, with dogwood, hydrangeas and azaleas splashing color onto the exterior gray longboards.


Mandy knew Pinehurst from her grandparents, who lived at CCNC. Her parents came up from Florida to play golf. After deciding to leave Charlotte, Mandy and Bill narrowed their house hunt to Pinehurst village or CCNC. At the time nothing in the village quite suited. Despite the view, even this house had its drawbacks, for Mandy at least. Every floor except the tiled kitchen was covered in thick white carpet. And every wall wore wallpaper. Bill, however, experienced the wow factor and, as a recreational handyman/renovator, he identified the projects. And the floorplan allowed the family to spread out, or come together. After some budget tweaking, they moved in, hired a contractor and pitched in.

Up came most of the carpet, replaced by whitewashed oak. Off came all the wallpaper, leaving some walls in need of repair. An upstairs playroom for Emma, 8, and Harry, 10, was squeezed under the eaves. After they are grown, it’s destined to become a guest bedroom. Then Bill had an idea: Why not cover an open space near the loft with strong rope netting secured to a frame, creating something like a hammock, where the kids (or grown-ups) could bounce around or simply peer down into the den?

“I was out of town when they built the hammock,” Mandy says. “I wasn’t that happy . . . it compromises privacy.”

But it sets the house apart from every other at CCNC. And the kids love it.

Bill also constructed and installed mantels for the double-faced fireplace, built the outdoor firepit, and created a desk to fill a pass-through between the living room and den. He framed the loft and installed a new kitchen backsplash. “I’m a hands-on kinda guy,” Bill says. “I got it from my dad, who was a This Old House kinda guy.”

His next project: docks, since “The lake is my favorite part of living here.”


The layout does retain some of its 1980s features. Back then, locating the master suite on the main floor was coming into fashion, especially for retirees. Turn left from the wide foyer with its handsome twin Chinese chests lacquered white and, beyond the TV den, the master suite opens out onto the deck, where railings have been removed to further expose the view. The living room is in use, flowing into a dining area with a spectacular white trestle table and molded Plexiglas chairs. Hanging low over the table is a chandelier more Star Wars than Phantom of the Opera.

Turn right from the foyer and find the kitchen — a surprise in an age of glamorous food preparation centers. No Sub-Zero, no farm sink, no island, no Viking or Wolf blast-furnace ranges. Instead, there are classic pine cupboards and a dinette glassed in on three sides. Except for new countertops and some minor adjustments, the L-shaped kitchen was left intact, at least for now. Mandy has plans. Beyond the kitchen is a modern butler’s pantry with laundry equipment, wine fridge, another sliding door and storage cabinets. This mixture of new and recently done (in white and sandy beige) adds to the retro charm.


Mandy’s signature hue, however, is blue — more bright navy than Carolina pastel. Bill also favors blue. Navy against white is everywhere, splashed on rugs, sewn onto pillows, woven into dinette chairs, dominating a collection of ginger jars. The dining room sideboard is lacquered a shiny dark royal, as is a writing desk in the master bedroom. Even the art, some commissioned, other pieces collected, explores shades of blue.

Ah . . . the art. That makes Mandy happiest. “It speaks to me,” she says. She planned white walls and retained some white carpet so the art would “pop.” Several paintings come from local artists, including Kristin Groner. Abstracts are both framed and flush-mounted. Mandy has an eye for placement — an art in itself. In the dining room a single painting, spotlighted by a recessed fixture, adds drama to the simplest meal. Just as dramatic is an old, stained, full-sized North Carolina state flag that Bill found on eBay and mounted over Harry’s bed, while Emma’s room requires a bean bag chair and sparkly princess-pink accents.

Each child’s room has its own small bathroom, beyond a blessing for teenagers.

“We’ve done a lot with a little, here . . . built a lot of value,” Bill observes.


Contemporary architecture and furnishings are rarely classified “romantic.”

The exception might be The Abode of Sliding Doors, sitting at the end of a narrow lane canopied by branches of tall trees, thick with new leaves. The sun shining through turns the canopy into a cathedral. Beyond, the grass slopes toward the lake, where two Adirondack chairs await sunset viewers.

But does the conglomerate create a happy house?

“The color, design and art make me happy,” Mandy says. “This is a joyful place.” PS

Golftown Journal

Full Circle — Almost

Sometimes dreams have to wait

By Lee Pace

What a story it would have been — Rachel Kuehn, gestating in the womb of her mother, Brenda, as Brenda played the first two rounds of the 2001 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles, growing up to become a crack golfer and qualifying herself for the 2022 return engagement of the Open at the same venue.

“I joked many times over the years to Rachel that she’s already ‘played’ in a U.S. Open,” Brenda says. “Maybe one day she’ll play in one on her own.”

Brenda and Rachel enjoyed one Sandhills golf déjà vu moment in 2020 when Rachel won the Women’s North & South Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2, a quarter-century after Brenda finished runner-up.

“I joke with my mom because she had a great finish years ago and has been holding that over my head,” Rachel said after the win. “I’m glad I could top her a little bit, but to add my name to the list of winners here is an unbelievable feeling.”

Sadly, adding to the legacy was not meant to be — at least not yet, and at least not this year at Pine Needles.

Playing in sectional qualifying at Shannopin Country Club in Pittsburgh on May 3-4, Rachel shot rounds of 74-70 for a 144 total and was tabbed second alternate for the 2022 championship, set June 2-5 at Pine Needles. A double bogey on the 13th hole in the first round and six putts that “were hard lip-outs,” in Brenda’s words, were her downfall. Though it’s not impossible, the odds of a second alternate slipping into the field are long.

Still, it’s a remarkable and evolving story of the Kuehn family of Asheville, a prominent and popular family at Biltmore Forest Country Club — dad Eric, a radiation oncologist; mom Brenda, a former Wake Forest University golfer and accomplished mid-amateur golfer; son Corrie, a former varsity golfer at Rhodes College in Memphis; Rachel, who’s just finished her junior year at Wake Forest; and son Taylor, a rising senior at Christ School in Asheville who’s committed to play golf at Samford University. 

“We’re a competitive family,” Brenda says. “Corrie was maybe 2, 3 years old and he was shooting baskets on a little goal in our living room. If he made it, I went, ‘Yay!’ If he missed it, I went, ‘Boooo.’ One day a friend was over with her little boy. She was horrified. She said, ‘You’re booing your child?’ I said, ‘Of course, it was a bad shot. How else are you going to differentiate good and bad?’”

Adds Rachel, “There’s a hole in the wall next to our ping-pong table. All I’ll say is, I didn’t put it there.”

Brenda Kuehn developed her love of sports and competition playing golf and tennis in her native Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She particularly loved golf as her father, Jack, was a Dominican Sports Hall of Fame member and an avid golfer.

“My most precious memories with my dad were walking nine holes of golf at 5 o’clock, walking and talking, the talking more important than the golf,” she says. “I cherish those moments and the lessons I took from them.”

Brenda wanted to attend college in the United States, but the Northeast was too cold and Florida felt too much like her homeland. So she targeted the Carolinas and the smaller, private universities, and investigated Duke and Wake Forest. She fell in love with Wake Forest immediately, entered in 1983 and, as a senior in 1986, won two individual titles, was medalist in the ACC Women’s Golf Championship, and made first-team All-America. She had no grand designs on playing professional golf, but Wake Forest men’s team members and friends like Billy Andrade, Len Mattice and Jerry Haas encouraged her to give it a shot.

“I came close — I made it twice to final round of Q-school,” Brenda says. “I played the Futures Tour for two years, but I didn’t enjoy it. Playing for money changed it for me. There wasn’t the kind of camaraderie I’d known and enjoyed. Travel was hard. I was lugging one suitcase and a golf bag around and staying in stinky motels. It wasn’t the life for me.”

She then married college sweetheart Eric, and after he finished med school in 1995, they settled in Asheville. Brenda regained her amateur status and had a whirlwind decade playing amateur golf, with nine U.S. Women’s Open appearances and two Curtis Cup berths in 1996 and ’98. Corrie was 4 years old and Brenda was eight months pregnant with Rachel when the Women’s Open was held at Pine Needles May 31-June 3, 2001.

She played 36 holes with sore feet and hips, and at least twice she hit a drive and doubled over in pain from a contraction. Her hip action was limited by the size of the child she was carrying, “so it was pretty much an arms-only swing,” she says. No wonder she posted rounds of 79 and 84 to miss the cut. But the pregnant lady was great media fodder. Brenda was featured on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and interviewed by Katie Couric on The Today Show. She occasionally runs across photos from those two rounds, with Eric caddying.

“Why I wore horizontal stripes when I was so pregnant, I have no idea,” she says today. “I was wearing Eric’s size-XX shirts. I looked like a balloon. I look back and say, ‘Oh my God.’ I was so big. I cringed later when I saw a picture of me using my stomach as a table to write my score on the scorecard.”

But she had fun with it all and brought a jovial sense of humor to post-round interview sessions.

“I’m trying to save as many clips as I can to put in the baby book,” she said. “It will be a great thing for the baby to see what happened when it was moving around in here.”

Rachel was born one week after Karrie Webb was crowned Open champion and is certainly putting her own scrapbook together through her high school career and three years at Wake Forest. Biltmore Forest CC head pro Jon Rector cites times he’s started a round of golf with Rachel on the practice green and, four hours later when he’s coming up 18, she’s still there.

“She is the most intense, disciplined golfer I have ever seen,” Rector says. “She’s a sweet spirit liked by everyone. But she’s a fierce competitor and is out to shred you on the golf course.”

Just as Brenda treasured her twilights playing golf with her father, the Kuehns played together on the 1922 Donald Ross-designed course at Biltmore Forest. 

“I remember our family playing as a fivesome,” Rachel says. “I remember the Monday shootouts, walking nine holes late in the day. It was such a special place to grow up and have your first memories of golf.”

Brenda won the 1998 and 2001 Carolinas Women’s Amateur, and Rachel added her name to the trophy in 2017. Rachel won the first college tournament she participated in (the ANNIKA Intercollegiate) and, as a junior in 2021-22, she scorched the UNC Finley Golf Course with a women’s course-record 63 in winning the individual title of the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational.

The highlight so far was last summer’s trip to Wales to participate in the Curtis Cup. Rachel was certainly well-versed in the event’s prestige. Brenda secured the clinching point in the 1998 matches at The Minikahda Club in Minnesota.

“It was the 17th hole and I had a left-to-right 4-footer,” Brenda says. “I didn’t want to hit it, but I knew I didn’t want to play the 18th hole. I’ve shared my entire Curtis Cup experience with her since she was young. Rachel definitely ‘got it’ when she was named to the team. You have arrived in golf if you make the Curtis Cup.”

Rachel lost her match in opening-day foursomes with partner Emilia Migliaccio. But then that pair won on Friday and Rachel partnered with Jen Castle to win a Friday four-ball match. Rachel won 2-up in her singles match against Louise Duncan, and her point proved the clincher in the Americans collecting a 12 1/2 – 7 1/2 victory.

“The Curtis Cup was everything I was told it would be and more,” Rachel says. “It was weird traveling with COVID. Our team was kind of in its own bubble over there. But to represent the United States, I can’t think of any greater honor.”

While Rachel might not be playing in her second Open at Pine Needles this time, there will certainly be more opportunities — for the Kuehns and the Women’s Open. PS

Lee Pace has written about golf in the Sandhills since the late 1980s and has covered three U.S. Women’s Opens at Pine Needles—1996, 2001 and 2007.


Golf’s Front Porch

The little magazine that could

By Bill Fields


Seventy-five years ago this month, Pinehurst resident Robert Harlow gave golf something, a present that provided pleasure for decades. His creation was Golf World, a weekly publication that would become an important square in the quilt of the game.

Remembering Golf World is personal for me because the magazine was my professional home for nearly a quarter-century.

I wasn’t around for the debut edition — June 18, 1947, which covered Lew Worsham’s U.S. Open victory over Sam Snead — but in two stints I worked in various capacities on more than 800 Golf World issues and was a senior editor when subscribers received their last print copy eight years ago. Current PineStraw editor Jim Moriarty, who like me had a long history with Golf World, wrote the final cover story on Rory McIlroy winning the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool (where, coincidentally, Fred Daly took the Claret Jug during Golf World’s first year).

A couple of days after we put that print edition to bed on a Monday night, positions were eliminated and so was a meaningful chapter of golf history. Those of us who worked there lamented the loss. So did thousands of Golf World readers, many of them avid players or part of the industry, for whom the publication was a pillar in their golf lives.

Harlow called his creation a newspaper when it launched, but soon enough it was seen as a magazine. By any name the publication was golf’s front porch and party line, where people found out what was going on in the game they loved. E. Harvie Ward Jr. of Tarboro was a subscriber. So was a young bank teller and budding golfer in New Zealand, Bob Charles, who discovered the world he one day would join despite the news being weeks late when he received his copy.

You could find Pete Dye in the results of elite amateur events and in tiny advertisements for his services as a golf architect. Philadelphia restaurateur Helen Sigel plugged her establishment and clubmaker Bert Dargie his 7-woods in the one-inch ads. Golf World also got local businesses to advertise, with The Dunes Club promoting “floor shows, excellent cuisine and dancing.” (It couldn’t come out and say it was a little Las Vegas in the longleaf.)

Golf World started small — Harlow, instrumental in the nascent days of the professional circuit in the United States, and his wife, Lillian, formed the early core — and never got very large. Over its first four decades, when it was located in Pinehurst and later Southern Pines, a skeleton staff put out the stories and the scores with help from a network of correspondents around the globe, scribes who made less for their contributions than the pros who tied for 37th in the tournaments they were covering.

Reporters doubled as photographers, and a few of us got competent with a camera. But our skills weren’t always evident, sabotaged as they were by limitations in color separations and printing that could make images appear as murky as Drowning Creek.

Before Golf World got big-time owners — The New York Times Company and later Condé Nast — it didn’t do much live photography. This meant that when someone won in Dallas in the spring, the shot of the victor on the cover was most likely taken a couple of months earlier on a tee with good light and a clean background in Los Angeles. The use of stock pictures was largely harmless, with one notable exception. When T.C. Chen won at Riviera Country Club in 1987, the photograph used on Golf World’s cover was of his older brother, T.M., taken the previous year at the Masters’ par-3 contest.

Given that I took that Kodachrome of T.M. Chen — correctly identified on the slide mount, by the way — I thought of the publishing blunder when the curtain was closed on Golf World in 2014. It made me laugh when I felt like crying. I also considered how much the magazine got right over nearly seven decades and how many readers renewed their subscriptions year after year, grateful that Bob Harlow’s idea was in the mail, with news of the game, of their game. PS

Southern Pines native Bill Fields, who writes about golf and other things, moved north in 1986 but hasn’t lost his accent.

The Coolest Summer Job Ever

When blocks of ice were the size of Volkswagens

By Tom Bryant     Illustration by Gary Palmer

Actually, pine trees were the reason peach orchards, as we knew them in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, went away.”

It was 1997 and we were sitting in a semi-circle in the living room of Clyde Auman’s home listening to him reminisce about the old days of peach farming. The “we” was the latest crop of the Moore County Leadership Institute, a group of about 15 diverse residents of the county. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, our group met once a month to tour a place important to the success of our county. It could be a historical location like the Bryant House, or something as integral to our economy as its peach farmers. Mr. Auman was, without a doubt, the patriarch of peach farming. His orchards were famous throughout the state.

“Yes, sir,” Mr. Auman continued, “before the loblolly and longleaf pines got so tall, the frosty winds of early spring would blow right on through the orchards not harming the peaches. But then the tall pines stopped the circulating winds and allowed frost to settle, and that killed not only the current crop, but later even the trees.

“Right now, on our farm, we do just about as much with pine straw as we do with peaches.” He chuckled. “Can’t make it on one end, we try it on the other. We have a few peach farmers, here and yonder, but nothing like the heyday when the region was known throughout the country.”

Mr. Auman was in his 80s when he spoke with us and, as we left his house to get on the bus and head back to Southern Pines, I hung back from the group.

“You might remember my father,” I said to him as we stood at the back door of his home.

“Who is your father?” he asked.

“Monroe Bryant. He was superintendent of the ice plant in Aberdeen.”

“I do remember him. A good man. I hope he’s doing all right. I’m sure he’s retired by now.”

“Unfortunately, Dad passed away at an early age.”

The folks had boarded the bus and were waiting on me.

“He thought a lot of you and your peaches.”

“I’m sorry to hear about your dad. He and his ice plant played a tremendous part in our peach industry. We need to get together. Come back out sometime and let’s visit.”

When I got back on the bus I sat behind the driver. On our way out to the main road, he looked over his shoulder at me. “You got along well with Mr. Auman,” he said. “Must have some history there.”

“Yeah, he knew my father back in the day when peaches were king.”

“Your dad in the peach business?”

“In a way. Without the ice plant my dad ran, the peaches would have had a hard time getting to the markets up north and out west.”

By now two or three of our group had tuned in to our conversation. One asked the natural question. “What’s an ice plant? I’ve seen those ice boxes beside the road but surely that’s not it.”

I tried to give a short history of an industry that’s as extinct as the dodo bird.

“Think about a giant cooler,” I said, “one about the size of a football field and about eight or 10 stories high full of blocks of ice, each weighing between 350 and 400 pounds. That ice was used to cool down railroad cars carrying fruit from our region, like peaches, or vegetables from down in Florida, all heading north or west.”

“And that giant cooler is no longer there?” one of the ladies asked.

“Yep, just like the old iceboxes before electric refrigerators. That’s kinda what happened to the ice plant when refrigerated rail cars came along. It was the tallest building in the county until it burned down in the late ’60s.”

I thought about that conversation the other day when I rode by the dirt lane that used to lead to the ice plant. I was on the way back from Burney’s Hardware and decided to take a walk down the railroad tracks to see if I could find the former site of the plant.

I parked out of the way next to a vacant lot, locked the car and headed south. It was only about a half mile walk and I made it in no time. Tall longleaf pines were growing where the major ice storage room used to be, and the hole in the sand that was the engine room was thick in weeds and briars about head high. I stayed on the tracks and did a cursory inspection of the remains of the place that played such a major part in my early years.

The recollection of those days came back clearly. My dad was the head honcho of all the doings around the massive plant, and I remembered my own participation in what has turned into a dead industry.

City Products Inc., the corporate head of ice plants from Miami, Florida, to Aberdeen, North Carolina, had massive ice factories in Florida, including Miami, Belle Glade, Lakeland, Sanford and Jacksonville. There was also a plant in Florence, South Carolina. The Aberdeen location was the last stop on the way north and west. The locations of the ice plants were built close to major railroad switching yards, at just the right distances, to service the needs for massive freight requirements of railroads hauling perishable fruit and vegetables across the country.

As a young fellow, I naturally hung out with Dad as much as I could, and he often let me accompany him as he made the rounds of the peach packing houses in Moore County and the surrounding area. For me, it was fun — I got to eat all the peaches I wanted. Then, as I grew older, it provided much-needed college funds. I worked a couple of summers at the location in Aberdeen and later spent a summer at the plant in Lakeland, where Dad became manager after the Aberdeen plant was closed.

Often when summer employment came up among friends, I’d try to explain my job pulling ice. The ice was made in attached cans that would hold enough water to make a block that weighed 400 pounds, sort of like the ice in an ice tray. The cans were submerged in a refrigerated brine tank about half an acre in size. The metal cans were attached, 10 to a group. My job was to hoist the ice out of the tank, using a crane, and walk the cans down to a 10-foot dip tank, full of water, which would free the frozen cubes from the cans. Then, still using the crane, I’d lower the cans, now with loose ice blocks, to a swivel tray that would allow the ice to become free and slide on a conveyor into the storage room. I didn’t know what boredom really meant until I began pulling ice all day. But, hey, the job paid minimum wage — a dollar an hour — and that went a long way to provide spending money for college.

It’s remarkable how well the entire network of plants from Florida to North Carolina meshed to refrigerate rail cars traveling with highly perishable vegetables and fruits.

The plant was built in 1928 and the business was huge during the height of the Great Depression, when there was no shortage of laborers. Each plant location had bunkhouses, kitchens and dining halls to house traveling workers who would move as needed from one location to another following the rail cars north.

Platforms running parallel to the railroad tracks enabled workmen to ice 50 railcars at a time using just the right formula of ice and rock salt to cool the fruit or vegetables to the correct temperature and get them to their destination fresh and unspoiled.

Not long ago someone asked me what I remembered most about the ice plant. I guess it would have to be the immensity, the sheer monumental size of the major storage room, the huge electric motors that pulled the compressors that cooled and refrigerated the brine tanks and ice storage rooms, and in its heyday, the number of people it took to make it all work — and how few it took to close it all down.

Most of all, I remember my father. The endless hours he committed to making sure everything was done just right, never, ever doing things to just get by. He led by example, and I’m a better man for the experience of working with him.

Now the ice plant is just a hole in the sand where tall pines grow. The memories are all that’s still eight stories high. Most folks don’t even know it existed.

But it was here and what it did made a difference. In the process it even taught one kid about the world of real labor, sweat, the value of a dollar, and responsibility. A pretty cool job. PS

Tom Bryant is a Southern Pines resident, a lifelong outdoorsman and, in his youth, a reliable summer employee.

Out of the Blue

You Can’t Eat Just One

Never underestimate the power of cookies

By Deborah Salomon

Today I will explore a subject rarely attempted by essayists, columnists, commentators. They are too busy solving (or fomenting) world problems to bother with cookies.

Pity. We’d be better off if Freud had spent more time on cookies, less on phantasmagorical dreams.

My only memory of kindergarten is the tiny choco-chip cookies shaped by a cookie press, served at snacktime with a paper cup of milk. They weren’t even good but they were cookies, and I loved them.

Obviously, I suffered a cookie-deprived childhood. My mother (high school math teacher) never baked a cookie in her life. The only ones she bought were mushy with dried fruit. How I loved playing at my BFF’s house. Not only was her mother a retired Broadway chorus girl, she kept a stash of store-boughts (fancy, gooey, buttery, frosted) in the pantry. And you needn’t finish your spinach to get one.

No surprise, then, that I learned early on to bake cookies — just chocolate chip and oatmeal — usually on Friday when my kids’ pals hung around for handouts. Holidays meant shaped butter cookies: turkeys for Thanksgiving, hearts for Valentine’s Day. In the mid-’90s I arrived in Switzerland to write about the former Vermont governor, Madeleine Kunin, then U.S. Ambassador, carrying a tin box of state-shaped cookies frosted green. Even her Swiss pastry chef was impressed.

By then I realized that cookies are an acceptable carryover from childhood. Zabaglione and tiramisu for dessert, cookies at bedtime. Where a Supreme Court justice wouldn’t be caught dead drinking espresso from a sippy cup, nibbling a cookie is OK. In fact, this penchant affirms the jurist’s status as a smart cookie.

Long live Cookie Monster! Don’t get me started on the misnomer.

I know one man and three women who have been called Cookie for so long nobody remembers their real names. I also befriended a cat named Oreo (black on top, white tummy) and a figgy-hued poodle called Newton.

Another crumb on the cookie path: It was once my honor to attend a weekend house party hosted by a New York Times food writer/cookbook author. Everybody brought something for a potluck beyond lucky. I brought chocolate chip cookies which, although made from my usual recipe, spread out flat rather than rising. Even worse, they were chewy, not crisp.

The foodie’s husband went gaga over my disaster. She was miffed. The culprit, I assumed, was old baking soda. Imagine my horror when she swallowed her pride and requested my “secret.”

People wax emotional, even irrational over their choices. Duels have been fought over Whippets vs. Mallomars. A gentleman I know well, who grew up in the Northeast, insists Hydrox are far superior to Oreos, even before this bestseller went wack-o with seasonally flavored/colored fillings.

To me, Hydrox still sounds like a controlled substance.

Would it impress you to know that Lorna Doone shortbreads were named for the heroine of an inconsequential British romance novel published in 1869, in which Lorna is shot at her wedding . . . but survives?

It bothers me that spicy Biscoff monopolize in-flight airline refreshments. I don’t care if they are vegan and made in Belgium. They leave fingers greasy.

I save mine for the squirrels.

It also riles me that faced with worldwide cookie popularity (fortune cookies, Italian wedding cookies) the Brits insist on dipping “biscuits” in their tea, while calling real biscuits “scones.”

Alas, commercial cookies have deteriorated, except maybe Pepperidge Farm. Smaller packages, questionable quality, higher prices. I miss real vanilla in vanilla wafers. Most chocolate is diluted or outright fake.

Therefore, over the years I have committed several simple, foolproof cookie recipes to memory. The latest — a super-easy but divine almond mini-chocolate chip biscotti.

Because you never know when an ambassador or Supreme Court justice might ring the doorbell on a Friday afternoon.  PS

Deborah Salomon is a writer for PineStraw and The Pilot. She may be reached at


The Evening Merriment

Getting a kick out of summertime

By Eileen Phelps

The deserted street was silent, punctuated only by the hum of mosquitoes searching for a tasty arm to nibble. Not a soul was visible, not even a hungry squirrel hunting for buried nuts. Dinnertime. All the children had been summoned to their family meals. Their absence created a vacuum of silence. Temporary. Fleeting. The calm before the storm.

In an instant, a cacophony of voices ignited the street. As if at once children burst from their homes, anxious to get on with the evening’s passion — the nightly neighborhood kickball game. Oh, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it was the highlight of our summer evenings. From late spring when the days grew longer until early fall when school signified the return to schedules and early bedtimes, the kids loved their daily dose of excitement.

The bases weren’t fancy. The mailbox post was transformed into home plate. Rocks, frisbees, and an occasional log served as stepping stones to scoring runs. There wasn’t time for arguments or rock, paper, scissors; everyone wanted to play every minute they could squeeze in before dark. Disputes were settled with a nod in order to keep the game going. Cooperation was the unwritten rule as the competition, no matter how frenzied, required no adult intervention. No one was left out of the festivities. If you didn’t kick well, maybe you were a speedy runner or a superb pitcher. Everyone was good at something. Age wasn’t an issue. Holding hands with older players, little tykes were escorted to shortened bases where they enthusiastically cheered for themselves, as the older kids laughed at their silliness and applauded their successes. The commotion of joyful voices, mixed with shouted directions to teammates and scurrying children, led to sheer exhaustion by dusk.

As quickly as it began, it stopped. Adult voices beckoned the players home to the comfort of their beds as darkness blanketed the concrete field. The shadows disappeared into the night. The street returned to its hushed self, awaiting the next day’s contest. Only the drone of mosquito wings pierced the silence. PS

Eileen Phelps is a retired Pinehurst Elementary teacher who loves reading, writing and spending time with her 10 grandchildren.


June Books


It All Comes Down to This, by Therese Anne Fowler

The Geller sisters — Beck, Claire and Sophie — are a trio of strong-minded women whose pragmatic, widowed mother, Marti, will die soon and take her secrets with her. Marti has ensured that her modest estate is easy for her family to deal with once she’s gone — including a provision that the family’s summer cottage on Mount Desert Island, Maine, must be sold. Beck, the eldest, is a freelance journalist whose marriage looks more like a sibling bond than a passionate partnership. The Maine cottage has been essential to her secret wish to write a novel. Despite her accomplishments as a pediatric cardiologist, Claire, the middle daughter, has always felt like the Geller misfit. Her secret, unrequited love for the wrong man, is slowly destroying her. Youngest daughter Sophie appears to live an Instagram-ready life, filled with glamorous work and travel. In reality, her existence is a cash-strapped house of cards that may crash at any moment. Enter C.J. Reynolds, an enigmatic Southerner and ex-con with his own hidden past who complicates the situation. All is not what it seems, and everything is about to change.


Jackie & Me, by Louis Bayard

In the spring of 1951, débutante Jacqueline Bouvier, working for the Washington Times-Herald, meets Jack Kennedy, a charming congressman from a notorious and powerful family, at a party in Washington, D.C. Young, rebellious, eager to break free from her mother, Jackie is drawn to the elusive young politician. Jack, busy with House duties during the week and Senate campaigning on the weekend (as well as his other now-well-known extracurricular activities) convinces his best friend and fixer, Lem Billings, to court Jackie on his behalf. Only gradually does Jackie begin to realize that she is being groomed to be the perfect political wife. Sharply written by the bestselling author of Courting Mr. Lincoln, this historical novel draws a picture of Jackie as never before seen, in a story about love, sacrifice, friendship and betrayal.


Woman of Light, by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent mob. As Luz navigates 1930s Denver on her own, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion. Woman of Light is a transfixing novel about survival, family secrets and love, filled with an unforgettable cast of characters.


Horse, by Geraldine Brooks

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Brooks braids a story that sweeps from antebellum racetracks to the vibrant post-World War II art scene in Manhattan, all the way to the Smithsonian’s high-tech osteology labs. Kentucky, 1850 — A bright bay foal, Lexington, and his enslaved groom forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. An itinerant young artist who makes his name from paintings of the horse takes up arms for the Union and reconnects with the stallion and his groom on a dangerous night far from the glamour of any racetrack. New York City, 1954 — Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a 19th century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance. Washington, D.C., 2019 — As a Smithsonian scientist studies the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, an art historian seeks the lost history of the Black trainers and grooms often depicted with the horse. Leaning heavily on Lexington’s remarkable true story, both on the track and during the Civil War, Brooks highlights the unsung contribution of the Black horsemen on whose expertise vast fortunes relied.



Bearnard Writes a Book, by Deborah Underwood

Bearnard the bear wants Gertie the goose to have her very own book. Their adventure in writing comes complete with dragons, volcanoes and rampaging monsters. This adorable adventure story even has a literary surprise ending. (Ages 4-7.)


Pineapple Princess, by Sabina Hahn

Any old princess can have a sparkly, bedazzled crown but it takes a warrior queen to fully embrace a more . . . natural option. Move over Fancy Nancy, there’s a new girl in town, and she’s, well, a little bit sticky. (Ages 3-7).


Gardens Are For Growing, by Chelsea Tornetto

There’s a special bond between daddies and daughters, and this adorable picture book celebrates that together time through the seasons in a family’s garden. Perfect for Earth Day, Father’s Day or graduations. Fans of Love You Forever will declare this a must have. (Ages 3-6).


The Curious Book of Lists, by Tracy Turner

What’s the world’s slimiest creature? Which are the deadliest snakes? How many countries exist with no coastline? Find out all this and more in The Curious Book of Lists. This would be a fun one to keep on the dinner table. (Ages 8-12).   PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.