January is a creation story.

It begins with the wrinkled hands of a grandmother — perhaps your own grandmother — in the darkest hour of morning.

The wise woman knows the secrets of this barren season. She’s found warmth in the bone-chilling air; comfort in the aching silence; promise in the dwindling pulse of winter. When the frozen earth has nothing left to give, she reaches for the mother dough — the breath of life — then steadies herself for the tedious ritual.

The mother dough is a myth of its own: a wild yeast kept bubbling since the dawn of time. The grandmother feeds it once more — a bit of flour, a bit of water — then walks away. 

Breadmaking is a dance of time and space.

Tonight, she’ll make the leaven. Tomorrow, the dough. The rest is as crucial as the work.

At first light, a nuthatch sings its rhythmic song. Grandmother washes her ancient hands, folds the dough four times over, then lets it sit.

Two, three, four — sit.

Two, three, four — sit.

Again. And, again. And, again.

The hours tick by. The dough rises. The grandmother hums as she dusts the work surface. 

Creation is a process. After she shapes and scores the loaves, she bakes and cools them. Neither bread nor spring can be rushed. Such is the wisdom of this bitter season. Such is the wisdom of the grandmother.


Year of the Rabbit

The Lunar New Year begins on Sunday, Jan. 22. Goodbye, tiger. Hello, rabbit.

Considered the luckiest animal in the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit is a calm and gentle creature known for its grace, compassion and ability to take swift action. Those born in rabbit years are said to embody these desirable traits. Never mind their fickle nature and escapist tendencies.

But what does the Year of the Water Rabbit have in store for the whole fluffle (yes, that means bunch) of us? 

Some say peace. Some say hope. The rabbits in the yard suggest more rabbits.


Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year, for gardening begins in January with a dream.   — Josephine Nuese


The Blank Canvas

January is for dreaming. Every gardener knows that. Fetch the sketch pad. Reflect on last year’s highs and lows. Ask what your garden is missing.

This frosty month of seed catalogs and new beginnings, allow yourself to think outside the planter box. Or inside, if that’s your preference.

Is yours a kitchen garden? Butterfly garden? Purely ornamental?

Suppose you added more fragrance. Snowdrops in the springtime. Aromatic herbs in summer. Chrysanthemums in autumn. Honeysuckle and jasmine woven in between.

Color outside the lines. After all, nature does it all the time.   PS

Golftown Journal

That Sinking Feeling

When your world goes sideways

By Lee Pace

It’s a golf shot, as Ebenezer Scrooge might say apropos of the holiday season, that reeks of an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato.

All is right with the world — the sun is warm, the sky is crystalline, the perfume of freshly mown grass permeates the air. The foursome’s in high gear — the bets are made, the jabs are flying, the competitive juices flowing. One-fifty to the green, nice lie, pull the 7-iron, imagine crisp contact and visualize a perfect ball flight, a waggle, a trigger, good extension, sweet tempo . . .

And then a nauseating clunk.

Instead of boring high into the wild blue yonder, the ball flies out of the right corner of your field of vision, into oblivion and certain death.

Silence from the guys.

Golf’s version of Armageddon: the shank.

It happens to the best of them.

Webb Simpson was on the eighth hole at Medinah on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup. He needed to hit what he termed would be a “smash 8,” got a little ahead of the ball and shanked it way right, in the direction of the fourth hole.

“I did the math and figured out that was about where Tiger was,” Simpson says. “I thought they’d have to move all those people and make a big scene. It would make no sense to Tiger, and he’d have this on me for the rest of my life. We were in the locker room afterward and Tiger came up to me and said he had a question.

“He said, ‘The wind was tricky today. Where was it blowing on eight?’ He was smiling. I knew he had me. We still talk about that.”

Ian Poulter has hit more shanks than he cares to remember, many of them on the biggest stages in golf. There was the el hosel while in contention at the 2015 Honda Classic, the duck slice at the 2017 Players Championship and the wide right in front of an unforgiving gallery at the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open. You can find them on YouTube if you care to venture into that cauldron of horrors.

“I’ve had a number of them at inopportune times,” says Poulter, who’s actually a good sport in talking about a shot that many golfers refuse to address by the s-word name. “I’ve hit a shank on almost every par-3 at Augusta. I tend to move my head slightly forward and my weight gets a little too close to the ball.”

Jack Nicklaus hit a shank on the 12th hole in the 1964 Masters that flew so far right, it didn’t even get wet in Rae’s Creek as it crossed the fairway.

“I’ll never forget the tension in my right arm,” Nicklaus says. “When I swung, my right arm just dominated. It never broke down.”

Johnny Miller hit a shank in the 1972 Crosby Clambake and it haunted him for years. When he won the U.S. Open at Oakmont the following year, he played the back nine while shooting a 63 with one swing thought, “Don’t shank it.”

Miller says the hardest shot in golf is the one after a shank.

“The clubface looks the size of a pea while the hosel looks as big as an elephant,” Miller says. “I contended in tournaments probably 50 times after that, and every time I was worried about shanking.”

Tommy Bolt was once playing in a pro-am with a man who was very nervous on the first tee. He managed to get his first drive in play, but he shanked his second shot. Bolt gave him a word of advice, but he shanked his next shot as well. Bolt gave him something else to try, but the result was yet another shank.

“Tommy, what should I do?” the man wailed.

“Pards, just aim to the left and allow for it,” Bolt said.

Charles Smith was warming up on the practice tee before his semifinal match in the 1960 North and South Amateur at Pinehurst. He hit a shank with his wedge. Then another. Then another.

“Your hands start to sweat and you get that awful feeling in your stomach,” Smith says.

Smith refused to pull the wedge out of the bag the rest of the day. From a hundred yards in, he either hit a choke-down 9-iron or a hooded sand wedge all day. He won the match and went on to collect the title the next day.

“I wasn’t going to risk hitting a shank,” Smith says. “God, what an awful feeling.”

Former PGA champion Jerry Barber designed and manufactured a line of irons that were supposedly shank-proof. Instead of having a round hosel connecting the clubface and shaft, the front of the hosel was flattened. So even if you connected hosel-to-ball, the ball presumably would go forward instead of sideways. The company is now out of business, but the 800 number used two decades ago still gets calls from the afflicted.

Purvis Ferree, the longtime head professional at Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, was hounded by the shanks in older age as his swing flattened with the inevitable rounding of the body and lessening of flexibility. He eventually played with two of Barber’s “Golden Touch” wedges, a no-shank 7-iron for chipping, and a bag full of fairway woods.

“Father was such a wonderful teacher, but the shank almost reduced him to a spectator,” says son Jim, himself a club professional and tour pro on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. “There were times he could not hit a solid golf shot. One day at Roaring Gap, he gave his irons away to a caddie when he got to shanking.”

In one celebrated story they still tell around Old Town, Purvis went out for a regular match with Malcolm McLean, the trucking magnate and owner of Pinehurst Resort for a decade in the 1970s. The bet was that if McLean could win any one hole, he won the match. On the first hole, Ferree shanked several shots around the green and wound up in the very divot he made with his first shank. He picked up and conceded the hole and the match to McLean.

Jim Ferree was a club professional in Pittsburgh in the 1980s when one of his members, a doctor, saved his golf game by acquiring a set of the Barber irons. When the member read in Golf World that Barber’s company was going out of business, Ferree helped him acquire a backup set in case something happened to the original clubs. Several months later, Ferree was at the doctor’s home for a cocktail party and wondered if the man still had the irons. The doctor led Ferree into a walk-in vault in his bedroom, where the irons were tucked away along with his wife’s jewels and furs.

Just goes to show you the lengths a man will go to protect his cure to the abominable shank. If you’ve never hit one, count your blessings. If you have, please don’t let this harmless little narrative pollute your mind the next time you address a 100-yard approach.  PS

Lee Pace has written about golf in the Sandhills for three decades. His newest book, Good Walks — Rediscovering the Soul of Golf at 18 Top Carolinas Courses, is available at area bookstores and through UNC Press.

Tea Leaf Astrologer


(November 22 – December 21)

We all know you’re the live wire of the zodiac. A hell of a party guest, too. But you’re so much more than a wildcard or a cheap thrill or a flaming hot mess. You’re kind, generous and far more sensitive than people realize. This month, Venus is in your sign until Dec. 9 and Jupiter is finally direct. Like it or not, you’ll be a magnet for love, money and luck. Just remember that your energy is precious. You get to choose who’s worthy of basking in it.

Tea leaf “fortunes” for the rest of you:

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Try aiming a bit higher.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

Do yourself a favor: Call it what it is.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

The end isn’t always the end.

Aries (March 21 – April 19) 

You’ll be fine.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) 

The jokes are getting a bit stale.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Normalize active listening.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Is it time to take out the trash?

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

It’s all fun and games — or is it escapism?

Virgo (August 23 – September 22) 

Spice things up: Go for the two-ply.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

Consider an alternate route.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

If it doesn’t bring you joy, then what are you even doing?  PS

Zora Stellanova has been divining with tea leaves since Game of Thrones’ Starbucks cup mishap of 2019. While she’s not exactly a medium, she’s far from average. She lives in the N.C. foothills with her Sphynx cat, Lyla. 

December 2022 Poem

Small Prayer

We see this ground as if through a spaceship’s

faceted metal eye. Having seen the blue round

as small as a child’s ball, having solved just enough

of mystery to be lost in what we think

we know. We’ve thought to play with it,

to make the planet smaller yet.

Now we do with it what we will,

forgetting how its vastness left us

speechless, worshipping. We lose

forest and furrow where we began.

And the kindred animals have begun

to leave. The water’s gone

that married time and loved the stone

into a canyon’s grace. We’ve forgotten

how to stay — how to say: this place.

Let the earth grow large enough again

that only clouds and stories can

encircle it entire. Let rockets land

for good, satellites fall dumb,

and wires unspan enough that distances

grow wide to dwarf our wars.

May mystery loom large enough again

to answer prayers and keep us.

  Betty Adcock

Betty Adcock is the author of Rough Fugue.


December Books



Like a Rolling Stone, by Jann Wenner

The Rolling Stone founder, co-editor and publisher offers a memoir described by Bruce Springsteen as “touchingly honest” and “wonderfully deep.” Called the greatest editor of his generation, Wenner brings you inside the music, the politics and the lifestyle of a generation, an epoch of cultural change that swept America and beyond. He takes us into the life and work of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bono and Springsteen, to name a few. He was instrumental in the careers of Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Annie Leibovitz. His journey took him to the Oval Office with his legendary interviews with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. From Jerry Garcia to the Dalai Lama, Aretha Franklin to Greta Thunberg, the people Wenner chose to be seen and heard in the pages of Rolling Stone tried to change American culture, values and morality.

Rare Birds True Style: Extraordinary Interiors, Personal Collections & Signature Looks, by Violet Naylor-Leyland

The private realms of well-known creatives reveal how unique personal style can color the home with a sense of history, autobiography and, above all else, magic. This lively book celebrates unique and inspiring British style and those who own it. Spanning generations — from Nicky Haslam to Alice Temperley, Beata Heuman and Luke Edward Hall — Rare Birds is an irresistible tour through the homes and wardrobes of some of England’s most celebrated contemporary talents, each with their own distinctive and unconventional taste.

A Few Collectors, by Pierre Le-Tan

An utterly charming book by the beloved Parisian artist Le-Tan, A Few Collectors is filled with dazzling illustrations and intriguing tales about often eccentric art collectors. Known for designing New Yorker magazine covers and collaborations with fashion houses, Le-Tan summons memories of inveterate collectors in this lavishly illustrated volume. He evokes fascinating, sometimes troubled figures through insightful and curious portraits. With 70 of his distinctive pen and ink drawings, the book details encounters in Paris, the Côte d’Azur, North Africa, London and New York, where Le-Tan’s subjects have amassed a range of treasures.

The Vegetable Grower’s Handbook, by Huw Richards

Following the success of Veg in One Bed and Grow Food for Free, Richards shares his tried-and-tested approaches from his own garden so you can unearth your garden’s potential. With simple yet effective methods, such as nurturing healthy soil, optimizing space and following a planting plan, anyone can be a productive vegetable grower while working in harmony with nature. In addition to recommendations on good planning and infrastructure, Richards has tips for plenty of quick wins too, like how to attract beneficial pollinators. Every successful business has a strategy. Why not apply one to your vegetable patch?



Jim Harrison: Complete Poems, by Jim Harrison

Introduced by activist and naturalist writer Terry Tempest Williams, this is the definitive collection from one of America’s iconic writers, containing every poem Harrison, who passed away in 2016, published over his 50-year career, as well as a section of previously unpublished “Last Poems.” The volume includes the nature-based lyrics of his early work; the high-velocity ghazals; a harrowing prose-poem “correspondence” with a Russian suicide; the riverine suites; fearless meditations inspired by the Zen monk Crazy Cloud; and a joyous conversation in haiku-like gems with friend and fellow poet Ted Kooser. Weaving throughout its pages are Harrison’s legendary passions and appetites, his love songs and lamentations and a clarion call to pay attention to the life you are actually living. Jim Harrison: Complete Poems confirms what Publishers Weekly called him, “an untrammeled renegade genius . . . a poet talking to you instead of around himself, while doing absolutely brilliant and outrageous things with language.”



Ty’s Travels: Winter Wonderland, by Kelly Starling Lyons

Joining Biscuit, Amelia Bedelia and Little Bear, these tales are now a must-have for every learning-to-read shelf. Fun family adventures, lovable characters and accessible language make these the perfect choice for beginning readers. (Ages 4-6.)

The Corgi and the Queen, by Caroline Perry

On Queen Elizabeth’s 16th birthday, she didn’t ask for a car or a trip to a faraway land, she asked for a corgi puppy. That puppy, Susan, was the first in a long line of beloved pets that stayed by the queen’s side during her long reign. This is their story. (Ages 6-8.)

Through the North Pole Snow, by Polly Faber

When a little fox goes looking for dinner and meets a certain jolly old soul, they find something to fill the belly and something to warm the heart. This one is destined to become a new holiday classic. (Ages 4-8.)

Moo, Baa, La La La, by Sandra Boynton

Deck the halls with cows and holly! Boynton’s beloved cows are back and it’s time to celebrate Christmas in the barn. Sure to become a holiday favorite, Moo, Baa, La La La is the perfect way to celebrate with the littlest carolers. (Ages birth-2.)

The Replay, by Adam Skinner

Whether its baseball, basketball, golf or football, every sports fan has that favorite story they love to tell again and again. Relive 25 of the greatest moments in sports with this fun title that is perfect for that sport-loving young reader. (Ages 9-13.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.


December is a frosted window, a singing kettle, the busying of hands.

Beyond the glass, the breath of winter settles upon the still earth like a blanket of glittering lace. The garden withers. The air grows bitter. The cold sucks the life from the glistening landscape.

Yet, for a few precious hours, the wild ones stir.

As the sun thaws the silvery earth, critters emerge from their hideaways.

Birds flit from feeder to swinging feeder.

Deer feast on turkey tail mushrooms; paw for acorns; chomp on chicory and sunchoke roots.

Mice sniff out seeds. Rabbits munch on winter buds. Hawks watch from the naked trees above.

Inside, time is measured by cups of tea — earthy, dark and sweet. The fire crackles. The kettle sings. Quiet hands ache to make things:

Sourdough loaves studded with walnuts and dried figs.

Gingersnap cookies thick with blackstrap molasses.

Stovetop potpourri swirling with pine, orange and warming spices.

Winter wreaths woven with wild grape and honeysuckle vines.

Beyond the window, night comes early. The air grows frosty. Critters disappear with the dwindling light.

You stoke the fire, tend the kettle, nurture an ancient knowing growing wilder in your winter bones.

Long Nights Moon

The Cold Moon rises on Thursday, Dec. 8. Also called the Long Nights Moon and the Moon Before Yule, this month’s full and luminous wonder will share the limelight with a bright and strikingly visible Mars. With the Red Planet at opposition (meaning the Earth is positioned between it and the sun), Mars will appear brighter than all the stars.

Speaking of lustrous marvels, the Geminids meteor shower will peak on Dec. 13 and 14, illuminating the night sky with up to 120 meteors per hour. As its name suggests, this celestial pageant will emanate from the constellation Gemini, but here’s a hint: Just look up.

The final meteor shower of 2022 happens in tandem with the winter solstice on Dec. 21 — the longest night of the year. Although it’s hardly as eventful as the aforementioned Geminids, a dark sky makes conditions favorable for the Ursids, a minor shower that peaks with up to 10 meteors per hour.

May your nights be merry and bright. And your New Year, full of light.


Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.      — Mary Oliver


Where the Sunchokes Shine

’Tis the season for Jerusalem artichokes, which are not, in fact, from The Holy City. Nor are they artichokes. These tasty tubers, also known as sunroots, sunchokes, wild sunflowers and earth apples, were first cultivated by indigenous peoples. When Italian settlers discovered this yellow-flowering plant, they dubbed it girasole, the Italian word for sunflower. The blossoms do look a bit like sunflowers, but they are actually more like daisies. Anyway, “girasole” became “Jerusalem” over time. You know how it goes.

Assuming the ground isn’t frozen, the tubers can be harvested all winter. Then what?

Scrub them, slice them and toss them with oil and spices.

Roast them until tender. Sauté them with garlic. Pan-fry them with butter and sage. You’ll figure it out.

A root by any other name would taste as savory and sweet.   PS

Simple Life

Miss Jan for Christmas

By Jim Dodson

As she eats her Sunday morning breakfast, Miss Jan looks across the table at me and cheerfully remarks, “You look very nice. Why are you so dressed up?”

As usual, I have a silly answer ready. 

“Actually, Jan, I’m planning to address Congress today. I’m proposing a constitutional amendment promoting universal kindness and the importance of using proper turn signals in traffic. Thought I should look my best.”

She laughs. “Good for you! I hope they listen!”

In fact, Wendy and I are just heading off to church. But this is a kind of game I play when Miss Jan comes to our house on weekends.

During the week, a lovely caregiver named Waletta looks after her needs at the independent senior living facility where Miss Jan lives, while her daughter, my busy wife, brings her groceries and takes her mom out to lunch at least once a week. She’s incredibly chatty with the waiters and a bit of an old flirt. Miss Jan is, too.

Every day is like Christmas when Miss Jan — as her art students called her — comes to our house. She eats her favorite foods, drinks a little wine, plays with Gracie, the dog, clips beautiful things out of magazines for her scrapbooks, and watches Love It or List It. As her world narrows down, she takes genuine pleasure in the smallest of things.

“I love bacon,” she declares that same Sunday morning. “And eggs, too. They are my favorite foods.”

I knew what was coming next. She tells me how, when she was a little girl growing up on a farm in rural Connecticut, her mother would make bacon and eggs gathered from the farm’s henhouse every Sunday morning. How Jack, the hired man, would sit at one end of the table, her father, the architect, at the other, and Mike, the dog, between, waiting for scraps to fall. She even slips into the stern Irish voice of her mother, admonishing her daughters not to feed Mike. For it is a sin in the eyes of the Almighty to waste food.

I’ve heard this sweet story probably a hundred times over the past five or six years.

“I like that tie you’re wearing,” she declares next, buttering her biscuit. “Where did you get that?”

It came from a clothing shop in Edinburgh, Scotland, I explain, a Sinclair hunting tartan necktie I purchased for my daughter Maggie’s recent wedding.

Miss Jan beams, speaking in exclamation points. “That’s wonderful news! When did she get married?”

“Two weeks ago yesterday. Up in Maine.”

“Oh,” she sighs, “I love Maine. It’s my favorite place. We lived on the water.”

“I know. You and Bill had a very nice life there.”

This prompts her to tell me about their cottage on the water in Harpswell, where they watched boats come and go all day, and the harbor lights at night; about the little kids she taught about the importance of art; about the clear starry nights come winter. This opens the door to other memories. She tells me about the trips to Europe she took with Bill — to England, Germany and Switzerland; her favorite sights; the colorful characters they met.

“Switzerland was my favorite place.”

“How about Swiss chocolate?”

“Oh, I love Swiss chocolate. It’s my favorite!” She says this with an impish grin, like a little girl sneaking a piece from the cupboard.

She tells me more about Bill, who I knew for more than two decades. “He was quite a dancer, you know. He played the accordion beautifully. The girls loved hearing him play.”

Memories are like summer’s fireflies. They carry us through the darkness, but vanish too soon. She chuckles like Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. “I like you. You’re a really good guy. You make me laugh.”

“Just doing my job, ma’am.”

Not long ago, Miss Jan asked her daughter, “So who’s that funny man who stays in your house?” Perhaps she thought I was Jack, the hired man.

“That’s Jim, mom. We’ve been married 21 years.”

“Oh, right,” she said with a good Irish laugh. “I forgot. I really like him. He makes me laugh.”

According to the CDC, about 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease or some form of related dementia, including 5.6 million aged 65 and older, and about 200,000 under age 65.

Miss Jan is 84. Save for when she grumbles about having to take a shower and wash her hair — my wife’s weekly ordeal — she seems remarkably happy, even a bit of a cheerful con artist. At dinner parties she will listen intently before nimbly joining the table’s flow of conversation, for the moment sounding like the wise, compassionate, opinionated and highly intelligent mother and social activist she was most of her life.

True, every year her boat seems to drift a little farther from the shore. But for now, at least, she seems to be holding her own, defying the outgoing tide, happy as a kid on Christmas morning on days when she’s with us.

Perhaps I cherish such days because they remind me how fleeting this life is, how short the time we are given. Miss Jan also reminds me of my own sweet Southern mother and her cheerful dance with this silent, insidious disease. She, too, was what I call a “happy forgetter.”

After my dad’s passing in 1996, I brought her and her half-blind yellow lab, Molly, to live with us in Maine. She delighted in the fiery leaves of autumn and the deep snows of winter. She loved our big, crackling fire and the sight of the herd of white-tail deer I faithfully fed at the edge of the forest on frigid nights.

When her memory began to fail, we moved her to a fine independent living facility where she became the belle of the ball, squired around by a celebrated Episcopal bishop who’d marched across the bridge in Selma with M.L. King Jr.

One summer afternoon I drove her out to the seaside restaurant where she and my father always ate when they came to Maine to see their grandbabies.

As we sat drinking wine, she told me about the day she met my father, remembered their first date and commented that I laughed just like him.

“I sure miss him,” I admitted. “I bet you do, too.” He’d been gone for five years.

She sipped her wine and smiled. “You have no idea, sugar. But don’t worry. I’ll see him very soon.”

She sounded so sure. Two days later, she suffered a stroke and peacefully slipped away.

I have no idea how long Miss Jan will be with us. With our four kids grown up and scattered to the winds, it will probably just be the three of us again this Christmas. Five, counting the dog and cat whose names she can’t remember.

But having Miss Jan for Christmas will be perfect. She says it’s her favorite holiday ever. We have that in common.

Plus, I can always make her laugh.  PS

Jim Dodson can be reached at

Story of a House

Touch of the Orient

Aberdeen’s John W. Graham House
is a colorful work of art

By Ashley Walshe     Photographs by John Gessner

Christmas Styling by Hollyfield Design


In the late 1990s, Bart Boudreaux was living in Beijing, China, with his wife, Lynel, when a friend invited him to visit Pinehurst.

“It was a lot different back then,” says Boudreaux, a Louisiana native whose work in the oil business had taken him all over the globe. “Very quiet, calm. Not much traffic. That’s what we were looking for . . . especially coming from China.”

Of course, the world-class golf was part of the draw. “Unmatched,” says Boudreaux.

Life in Pinehurst became the pin on the narrowing horizon. In 2012, the couple bought and restored one of the 1895 James Walker Tufts cottages (The Woodbine) in Old Town Pinehurst, where the couple have lived since Bart’s retirement in 2015.

But this isn’t a story about that house, nor is it a story about Pinehurst. Ultimately, this is a marriage story. It begins with one man’s love of old houses.

“I can’t explain it,” says Boudreaux, trying to put his passion for restoration into words. “I needed to find something to do outside of golf.”

Perhaps his time in New Orleans influenced his taste for old houses. “Not everyone’s cup of tea,” he admits.

Regardless, buying and restoring them became his accidental pastime. In addition to the Pinehurst home, Boudreaux revamped the house next door (another one of Tufts’ original 38 cottages), renovated a 1930s Sears Roebuck on Dundee Road, then flipped one, two, three more fixer-uppers, all in Pinehurst.

Which brings us to his seventh and most recent project: a 1909 Victorian in downtown Aberdeen.

Situated on a spacious corner lot on High Street, the sage green double-pile with the classical Tuscan columns and wraparound porch once belonged to John W. Graham, son-in-law of Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad founder John Blue. The exterior is grand yet understated, with an air of timelessness and restraint typical of Colonial Revival architecture. Boudreaux bought the National Register property in February of 2021 and devoted one year to its transformation.

“It’s got tremendous character,” he says, noting the 10-foot ceilings and crown molding, the butler’s pantry, the two-story semi-octagonal bay, original dogwood wallpaper in one of the upstairs bedrooms, and five charming fireplaces throughout.

An original stained-glass window defines the nook beneath the half-turn staircase. Natural light floods every inch of the 2,500-square-foot space. Upstairs, transom windows above bedroom doors offer charm and function.

“I fell in love,” he says.

Heart pine flooring was repaired and restored. Old doors and tiger oak mantels, once hidden beneath layers of paint, are now among the home’s most striking features. Ditto the banister, stairs and newel caps.

“Almost killed me,” says Boudreaux of all the stripping. He did what he could himself and hired help to do the rest.


Boudreaux upgraded and reconfigured the kitchen, reintroducing an old entrance and constructing a small island with salvaged beadboard. He retiled and revamped existing baths (one full and one half); added a full bath upstairs; installed new cabinetry and quartz countertops; tinted original windows; exposed a bit of brick; updated plumbing, electrical wiring and appliances; replaced ductwork; and insulated the crawl space.

But he didn’t stop there.

Throughout the house, period-appropriate light fixtures (complete with ceiling medallions), fabric and furniture complement the architecture. 

“I just love the search for antiques,” he says, which is how he crossed paths with interior designer Jane Fairbanks of The Old Hardware Antiques in Cameron. “I know what I like. Jane’s got it.” 

Fairbanks helped Boudreaux outfit two of his Pinehurst homes in American country décor. “What he truly loves,” says the designer.

The interior of the Graham house is distinctly different. It’s an amalgam of color, texture and Victorian-era furnishings with a heavy emphasis on Oriental antiques —a marriage of tastes, his and hers. Flash back to China in the late 1990s.

“The oil company I worked for allowed us to transport one shipping container full of Chinese furniture back to the States on their nickel,” says Boudreaux.

Lynel, who worked as the assistant general manager at the Hilton Beijing, loaded up on ornate altar tables, hand-painted cabinets and intricate Chinese artwork — textiles in particular. Bart took Fairbanks to sift through the haul, in storage for over 20 years. Forgotten treasures were promptly dusted.

“They sort of became the inspiration for everything,” says Fairbanks.

Especially the colors. In the front parlor, coral walls pop against crisp white molding and cream-colored beadboard wainscoting. A hand-embroidered silk opera collar is framed and displayed on the wall above the staircase. Asian accent chairs covered in pagoda-themed fabric flank the fireplace, and a pair of wooden foo dogs (Chinese guardian lions) draw the eye to the quarter-sawn tiger oak mantel.

Beneath the stained-glass, a hinged easel frame displays photos of original homeowners John W. Graham, a cashier and officer of the Bank of Aberdeen, and his bride, Kate Blue Graham.

One wonders what Kate might think of the vibrant paint and forbidden stitch embroidery.


Beyond yellow pine pocket doors — “massive and heavy as led,” adds Fairbanks — coral walls spill into the living room, where a silk rug and custom curtains soften the space with delicate pink hues. This is where worlds begin to collide in a surprising way: an American country cherry corner cupboard (1840s), for instance, opposite a Chinese wedding cabinet featuring traditional brass hardware and a hand-painted imperial dragon.

For Lynel, each piece has a story, like the statuette of Guan Yin (female Buddha), positioned between the living and dining rooms.

“I bought her in a Beijing dirt market from a little blind man,” Lynel recalls. The vendor assured her that the wooden figure was quite old.

“Lǎo de, lǎo de,” he repeated.

It wasn’t. The Buddha split in half a few weeks later. 

“Sounded like a gunshot,” Lynel says between bouts of laughter. “She was new, made to look old . . . but I love her anyway.”

In the upstairs hallway, a teak altar table paired with a carved wooden screen make a bold and elaborate statement. The walls? Georgian Green by Benjamin Moore.

Bedrooms are handsomely outfitted. For one, an 1840s maple rope bed with curly maple headboard. A four-poster bed in another. The third features a faux curly maple queen anchored by an early 1840s blanket chest. Mounted oriental hair pins and an embroidered baby bib (and matching shoes) add color and whimsy.

“It’s just amazing how things can come from so many places and end up working so well together,” Fairbanks says.

The designer played a major role in bringing Bart’s vision for the house to life. “Big time,” he emphasizes.


All parties seem equally delighted by how it turned out. In the past, Boudreaux’s modus operandi has been to revamp and resell. But the John W. Graham house is a keeper. 

“Our Pinehurst house is on the market,” he explains.

Towns and dreams change. Bart and Lynel are moving back to Louisiana to be closer to family. The house on High Street will be their vacation home.

“Aberdeen is having a bit of a Renaissance, don’t you think?” says Lynel.

Bart’s golf clubs are there waiting. The house itself — a harmonious blend of tastes — is a labor of love ready to be enjoyed.  PS

Ashley Walshe, the former editor of O.Henry, lives up country and is dreaming up her next grand adventure. 

Through Rose-Colored Glass

The art of working with stained glass

By Jenna Biter

Photographs by John Gessner


An oversized sheet of white craft paper unrolls across the worktable. “So, what I do,” Sarah Cawn says, her voice trailing off, distracted by a half-open box. “This is a big lamp I’m supposed to repair.” She lifts a cardboard flap and fingers the dome of a Tiffany-style glass shade.

“OK,” she says, gathering herself to explain the process of making beautiful things with stained glass. “This one I just finished.” She points to a drawing on unfurled paper. The contours of wavy-edged poppies and their swan-like stems arc through rectangles configured like the eight windowpanes they represent.

A gilded light casts itself across the drawing. Cawn points at the studio ceiling. “When we built the house, I had the builder box up the skylight so I could put that in there,” she says, her head tipped back. Above her a glass cupola of yellows and browns, trimmed in a filigree of rose and sea foam, warms the drawing below, willing it from the second dimension into the third.

Each section of the drawing, from the size of a button to the palm of a hand, whether it represents a petal, stem or sliver of background, wears a number as its name tag, all the way through 332, like a grown-up’s paint-by-number.

Cawn starts with the obvious. “I roll paper out and cut off as long a piece as I need.” She traces an index finger around each rectangle. “I had already drawn out the perimeters of each window, then put it up over there.” She points to a blank wall on the far side of the studio, half hidden by a table crowded with a collection of glass baubles: iridescent charms reminiscent of abalone, an amber chest overgrown with irises, a heart-shaped box, stacks of colored glass sheets, and a retro lampshade turned on its head.


She plucks the heart-shaped box from the menagerie like a client perusing the wares at a fine arts bazaar. “This is something that I inherited from somebody that got out of the business,” she says, holding the red vessel up to the light. “I thought if I fixed it, maybe I could — I don’t know.” Cawn turns the box over in her hand and inspects the soldering. She wrinkles her nose.

“It looks kinds of crummy, though. I don’t really want to sell it, so I probably should just junk it.” She sets the box down. “I just don’t feel right about selling something that isn’t mine.”

Cawn thumbs through colored glass sheets as if they’re playing cards, and she’s searching for the right one to start building a hand. Clack, clack. Each glass sheet is a different color, striated like the hard insides of a geode. Clack. There are emeralds and milky jades, electric blues and smoky blacks. One sheet is a galaxy of amethyst and mulberry; another swirls angrily like the eye of Jupiter, but in the soft nudes of a conch shell’s aperture.

“I thought it would be fun if I put them together like a patchwork and make cool wall hangings,” she rearranges the pieces like they’re quilt squares, thinking out loud,  “if I do the colors right.”


A scarlet macaw perched at the opposite end of the studio stares past Cawn at the half-hidden wall. The bird isn’t real — Cawn made it of glass — but it occupies the space of a live macaw, giving the impression, from the periphery, that it might squawk in its own colorful language.

She points back to the wall where she has tacked up the paper and penciled in the poppy design. “I’m going to be honest now, for the poppies — I do have an overhead.” She describes adjusting the projector until the blooms cast onto the paper create a convincing field of flowers, then she traces the pencil lines with black marker to finalize the design.

Cawn began making stained glass 40 years ago, give or take, at a Maryland shop (whose name she can’t remember and which has since closed) and has, ever since, been polishing her process as if it was, itself, a panel of stained glass.

“For me, it was like a drug,” she says with a shrug. “My husband made me a little workbench down in the basement and, at 10 o’clock at night, he’d go, ‘Are you coming to bed?’”

Through their moves to California, then throughout the Research Triangle in North Carolina, Cawn packed up her glass and tools — marked with a band of cheetah-print tape — and taken her craft with her.

In San Ramon, California, her studio was half the garage. “In the wintertime, I’d have to keep the big glass pieces in the house, so they’d be warm,” she says, explaining that glass can shatter when its temperature rapidly rises or falls.

When the Cawns moved to Cary in the early ’90s, Sarah got her first real studio, but it was on the third floor. She crosses her eyes and groans, “Ughhhhhh,” imagining herself carrying sheets of heavy glass up three flights of stairs. They built their current house, a stone hideaway tucked into the woods just outside of downtown Raleigh, in 1996, and Cawn’s studio is a bonus room above, not in, the garage. An arched windowpane of wispy lines and pastel orbs over the front door welcomes guests into their home and silently announces the workshop upstairs.

“It started here,” Cawn says of her business, Sarah’s Glass Art, taking off. “In the ’90s everybody wanted stained-glass windows above their bathtub or around their door.” She grins sheepishly. “If I was lucky, they did both.”

Stained glass, and the inspiration for it, infuses the property like a visual perfume. Outside, in the backyard, tangerine, fiery red and pale pink koi glint like glass shards in the afternoon sun as they circle an ornamental pond. One fish resembling a golden dragon, with his trailing whiskers and billowing fins, swims near the surface, as if it were a water-bound Icarus waiting to be immortalized in glass like the scarlet macaw.

Later, the Cawns built a second studio, this one detached from the house, where Sarah makes fused glass, a craft she picked up two decades ago. It’s also where she teaches students to work with stained glass, something she started last year.

With the poppy pattern complete, Cawn traces a copy. “Some people take it to Kinkos, or some place that will copy it, but I don’t know how accurate that will be, so I’ve just never done that,” she says. “And I know, I’ve been told, ‘You’d save yourself a lot of time.’” She waggles an index finger. But why fix what’s not broken?

Keeping the original pattern as a template, she fits a jig — a device reminiscent of a picture frame — around the drawn windowpanes and fixes the jig to the worktable. It is the stage where all the pieces will come together. “Nothing’s going to turn out square if you don’t put a border around it,” she says. “If it’s not square, it will look like crap.”

Cawn cuts apart the copied pattern so she can trace each piece of the design onto glass (black marker on light colors and silver marker on darks), then she cuts the glass itself. To demonstrate, she pretends to trace a shape onto a spare sheet of emerald glass, the color she used for the poppy stems.


Cawn looks up as a schnauzer tears around the corner into the studio, nails clacking against the hardwood floor, legs spinning out. “She’s not really cute because she’s shaved now,” says Cawn, apologizing for Schatzi’s shorn summer coat. She reaches down to pat the gray head. “She’s gotten really finicky, so I say, ‘Just shave her. It’s not a fashion show.’” The 13-year-old dog wiggles her stubby tail, then retreats to a plush bed in the corner.

“OK, they’re all cut out, and they all fit nicely,” Cawn says, back behind the worktable. She pulls out a spool of copper foil tape and demonstrates lining the edges of cut glass. “You do this all the way around the glass, and you overlap it by a 1/4 inch at the end.”

Cawn smooths the foil, so the entire edge is neatly covered, and a thin line of copper shows on the face and back sides of the glass. The dark patina of the copper will give the stained glass its signature edge. “You do this on all your pieces,” Cawn says. In this case, all 332.

Soldering comes next, then the patina, then a wax and polish to shine the panel. “You take your wax, shake it, pour a little on, wipe it all over, let it dry, and then you buff it with a rag, and you’re done.” She tosses a rag on the table.

“I used to hate waxing and polishing, but it’s such an important part. It’s the finishing touch, and they go, ‘Ohhhhhhh.’” Cawn puts her hands to her cheeks and opens her mouth, mimicking happy customers and, in a way, herself. “To me, there’s just a magical quality about glass.”  PS

Shop for Sarah Cawn’s glass art at One of a Kind Gallery, in Pinehurst.


Jenna Biter is a writer and military wife in the Sandhills. She can be reached at