PS Profiles June 2019


Sponsored Section


Dr. John F. Ceraso, DMD

Dr. John Ceraso has been practicing general dentistry since 1990, with a concentration in cosmetic work, dental implants, and full mouth rehabilitation. He is an established and distinguished member of both the ADA (American Dental Association) and NCDS (North Carolina Dental Society). Dr. Ceraso regularly participates in advanced courses of study, mainly due to the fact that he is firm in the belief it is important to remain on the cutting edge of dentistry.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Ceraso graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. He then went on to achieve his DMD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. In his final year at this renowned university, it was believed by many of his peers that he was the most likely to succeed in the field of dentistry.

And succeed he did, eventually settling in North Carolina and becoming one of North Carolina’s leading Implant and Cosmetic Dentists. Today, Dr. Ceraso is known for his exceptional artistry in creating beautiful, attractive, long-lasting smiles. As a result of his hard work, he is well aware of the fact that the personal image you project is of the utmost importance. Thus, each patient’s treatment is personalized and unique, with specialized treatment crafted for each client’s individual needs.

Dr. Ceraso’s mission is to touch every patient individually. “It may not even be through a dental procedure, but to listen and understand their individual and specific needs from the most straightforward procedure to the most complex making that person at that time in the moment be the most important person in the room,” stated Dr. Ceraso. Due to his advanced skills and experience, Dr. Ceraso’s cosmetic dental procedures are virtually “painless,” which is incredibly appealing to many patients.

In addition, Dr. Ceraso has been working with dental implants longer than many other dentists and was one of the first Implant Dentists in the Sandhills area, affording him a great deal of first-hand experience when it comes to implants. Dr. Ceraso was even personally invited to Germany by a renowned dental implant company to visit the factory, learn more about the product, and to meet the top implant dentist in the world. This was an invitation only event and quite the honor for Dr. Ceraso to be personally selected due to his skill.

Dr. Ceraso was instrumental in organizing and establishing the mobile free dental clinic sponsored by St. Joseph of the Pines. He had a key role in obtaining equipment and instruments  required to operate a mobile dental clinic for the underprivileged in Moore County. Often, Dr. Ceraso devotes a Saturday to care for less fortunate people who desperately require dental care. He finds his contributions to the community rewarding, and these patients are incredibly appreciative of Dr. Ceraso’s charitable work.

Dr. Ceraso married his high school sweetheart, Karla, in 1988. Today, they reside in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with their three children. When he is not in the office, he enjoys racquetball, fishing, playing golf, and spending time with his family. Dr. Ceraso intends to continue providing top-quality dental care to the residents of the Sandhills for many years to come, both in the clinic and on the road.

125 Murray Hill Road Suite A
Southern Pines, NC


Lin Hutaff, Realtor

Golfing in the Sandhills since 1978, Lin knows the Moore County Real Estate Market! She moved to NC with her husband, Phil, in 1978, when he was called home to help with the family business. At the time, Lin was on the Corporate staff at IBM and split her time between White Plains, NY, and Research Triangle Park, NC. While with IBM, Lin was part of the Finance Industry Marketing Division and later briefed Executives of IBM’s top 50 accounts. She credits her early experience in marketing at IBM for much of her success as a Real Estate Agent.

She served on the Boards of The O’Neal School, the former Moore Regional Hospital, the Lee County Commission on Youth and together with her husband, chaired the Hospital Ball in 1991. Lin currently serves on the Board of St. Joseph of the Pines, Partners in Progress and Rotary Club of the Sandhills.

Lin has a Masters Degree in Mathematics from St. Louis University, a Jesuit University.

Lin is consistently in the top 1% of MOORE County Realtors and top 3% of U.S. Realtors, selling more than $2 Million in Real Estate each month

Lin Hutaff’s Pinehurst Realty Group offers a KNOWLEDGABLE, COURTEOUS, and CONFIDENTIAL Real Estate Experience with the very best outcome possible! “With our experienced Group of Realtors, we can be available to our clients whenever they need us!” 

Call Lin if you are considering Selling or Buying a home in Moore County.

25 Chinquapin Road
Pinehurst, NC


Veronica LLOyd, Owner

Mother-Daughter duo, Pat Phillips and Veronica Lloyd, have always had a passion for fashion and a dream of together, owning their own boutique. They’d been loyal Monkee’s customers for many years before becoming a part of the beloved franchise this year.

Pat, with her hard-working entrepreneurial spirit, has had a great amount of success operating and expanding her family’s NC-based specialty chemical company. She’s business oriented, but fashion forward!

Veronica, who played basketball at the University of the South in Tennessee and rode for the University’s Equestrian Team, is a former elementary school educator with a Master’s Degree and an obsession for fashion!

When the Monkee’s franchise opportunity became available in Southern Pines, it was a no-brainer for this fashionable pair. They took ownership this past January and are continuing the Monkee’s tradition of excellent customer experience and high quality shoes, apparel and accessories.

Veronica, who has since become the face of the popular Broad Street store, is thrilled about her new career as a Monkee’s franchise owner and feels incredibly blessed to have her mom as both her business partner and mentor.

As new owners to the sixteen year old store, they’re constantly seeking new and interesting lines to carry that have admirable backstories and a special flair.

But both Pat and Veronica are particularly passionate about shoes! They aim to help each client find their own personal shoe style. Monkee’s franchises stress the importance of maintaining a comfortable and inviting “living room” for shopping. Fittingly, they’ve created an enjoyable, shoe-parlor atmosphere where shoppers can have a fun, fabulous experience whether they’re trying on shoes or clothes, and feel as if they’re in the comfort of their own home.

Pat and Veronica both possess an ardent enthusiasm for connecting and building relationships with the community and their customers. Their commitment is truly apparent every single day, especially through their huge social media presence, where they inspire their current and potential clients by styling and modeling Monkee’s shoes, clothing and accessories on a daily basis. Give Monkee’s a follow
@Monkeesofthepines to stay in the loop and to get in on the fun!

124 NW Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC


Diane Williams, Gastroenterologist
Ann Edgerton, Physician Assistant

Tired of counting calories, feeling hungry, and eating foods you don’t like, yet still seeing zero results? HEALcare Clinic of Pinehurst is changing the game in the Sandhills with their clinically tested, low-carbohydrate ketogenic program that uses “food as medicine” to put type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and obesity in remission without the use of medication or insulin. HEALcare’s goal is help you stop being a “patient” and enjoy a healthy, normal life. Those who participate find their lives are completely transformed.   

That’s because HEALcare is far more than just an ordinary diet plan. Developed by Dr. Eric Westman at Duke University, HEALcare participants receive personalized, expert-guided keto diet, nutrition and lifestyle support, plus medical supervision as needed until they can safely and effectively eliminate insulin and medication and improve health.

In addition to weight loss and type 2 diabetes remission, recent research shows that the ketogenic diet can combat high blood pressure, slow the effects of aging and lead to improvement in other medical conditions, such as joint pain, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, fatty liver disease, and other ailments influenced by diet.

Diane M. Williams (left), MD MHS graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School. She then did her residency in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology Fellowship at Duke University, during which time she also received a Master’s in Health Science. She stumbled upon information about diets and disease and spent the last two years furthering her education on the matter. She felt the need to incorporate this learning into her practice, and with the help of her GI Partners, Dr. David Martin, Dr. Tom Swantkowski and Dr. Eric Frizzell, became host to the HEALcare Clinic of Pinehurst.

The HEALcare of Pinehurst team is led by Ann Edgerton, PA-C, a North Carolina native who found her calling in health services. Edgerton received her undergraduate degree and attended Physician Assistant School at Wake Forest, then made her way to the Sandhills region when her husband relocated to work at the local hospital. Edgerton particularly enjoys being on the front end of healthcare, where she can help others gain control of their health.

While the HEALcare Clinic is a separate entity from the Pinehurst Medical Clinic, they have been supportive in their efforts to bring this option to the Pinehurst community. HEALcare plans to continue bringing holistic care and wellness to the Sandhills, opting to replace medication with education, better dietary choices, and a healthy, happy lifestyle.

4204 Murdocksville Road
West End, NC


Brian Thwaites M.D.
James Winkley M.D.
Rob Thomas
Steve Collins PA-C

Back in the mid-’90s, the Sandhills was in need of an interventional pain management clinic. Brian Thwaites M.D., (far right) of Pinehurst Anesthesiologist Associates stepped up and collaborated with FirstHealth (then Moore Regional Hospital) to start FirstHealth Back and Neck Pain. They started small, borrowing what space they could find in the Ambulatory Surgery Center and pulling resources from other areas of the hospital, determined to build the operation they knew this community deserved.

Dr. Thwaites came to Moore County after an anesthesiology residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and serving as a staff anesthesiologist at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio Texas. He now works alongside seven physicians, three physician assistants, and one adult nurse practitioner. Years later, Dr. Thwaites and his team have grown into one of the most highly accredited pain centers in Central North Carolina.

Their goal is to stop chronic, debilitating pain or reduce it to the greatest extent possible. They view themselves as a diagnostic center first, working through thorough evaluation to find the root cause of pain problems.

Because back and neck pain can stem from a multitude of causes, it sometimes takes a combination of therapies to get pain under control. For this reason, the clinic serves as a central point for clients’ pain management plans by providing access to a complete range of pain relief options in an environment that is both comfortable and compassionate.

FirstHealth Back and Neck Pain treats a wide variety of nerve and mechanical pain issues, primarily related to the neck, thoracic spine, and lower lumbar spine, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, lumbar and cervical radiculopathy, and sacroiliac joint problems. However, other pain issues that are chronic in nature, such as knee arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, cancer related pain, and postherpetic neuralgia, can be treated by the clinic physicians.

Depending on the source of the pain, treatments administered through Back and Neck Pain include steroid or pain medication injections, neurostimulation, radiofrequency interruption of nerve connections, selective nerve blocks and other treatments designed specifically to alleviate chronic pain. The newest and most cutting-edge treatment option offered at FirstHealth is Coolief, which uses radio frequency to relieve osteoarthritis knee pain in a safe and non-invasive treatment plan.

Partners in the practice, James Winkley M.D., (second from left) and Dr. Thwaites are both double board certified in anesthesia and pain management. Additionally, both doctors share ties to the Army, as their medical careers started while serving in uniform. Dr. Winkley is the proud father to 9 children with his wife, Jeannine, and is the Bishop at the Pinehurst Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After serving in the Navy, Steve Collins (far left), PA-C worked in family medicine and emergency for 23 years in Richmond county. He has been with FirstHealth since 2014.

Rob Thomas (second from right), PA-C is a Pinehurst local who attended PA school at Methodist University. He has been a practicing physician assistant for the last decade focusing on acute and chronic pain syndromes. Like his colleagues, he is passionate about offering a multimodal approach to pain management.

35 Memorial Drive
Pinehurst, NC


Nicole  Johnson, Owner

Owning a permanent makeup business, a training academy, and most recently opening a studio in downtown Southern Pines, Nicole Johnson knows that life is too short not to pursue your passions. 

Originally from Ohio, Nicole gained work experience in her early career in both the medical field as a surgical assistant and also in esthetics when she worked in a busy, highly-rated medical spa. 

As the owner of Fanatical Skin & Ink, she now sits at the top of a very niche industry of medical tattooing, through which she discovered she could combine her two diverse interests together in a single career.

Microblading and micropigmentation tattoo work is designed to appear subtle and natural, filling in brow lines or shading in bare areas on the scalp with whisper thin strokes. 

But some uses for medical tattooing are not commonly known. Nicole uses micropigmentation on breast cancer survivors to reduce the appearance of scars and to mimic the look of lost areola tissue. She also works with combat veterans to camouflage scars, a service that can also be used on anyone with burns or other wounds they wish to disguise.

Through her services, her clients can see immediate improvement, both physically and mentally, which can be a life-changing moment. 

Nicole opened Fanatical Skin & Ink in downtown Southern Pines in February this year where she performs these medical tattooing services in addition to aesthetic skin care services including hair removal, body treatments, skin rejuvenation, professional peels, microblading, hydrafacials, permanent cosmetics, lash services, injections, skin resurfacing, laser, dermaplaning, microneedling and more.

But, inevitably, it’s her unbeatable eyebrow shaping that she has become best known for around town.

With so many service offerings, it’s no wonder Nicole’s bringing on a new medical service provider later this summer.

124 W Pennsylvania Avenue
Southern Pines, NC


Tristan Locklear, Owner
Trey Bowman, Barber

Tristan Locklear, owner and founder of The Old Pines Barber Shop, has been cutting hair for as long as he can remember. Tristan was tired of other barbers cutting his hair incorrectly in his hometown of Lumberton, North Carolina, which sparked his inspiration to open up a barber shop of his own.

It wasn’t long before Tristan earned trust amongst his high school peers and quickly gained the reputation as one of the best barbers in his small town. Cutting hair in high school was only the beginning for Tristan, however. It didn’t take long for him to work his way to the top and achieve his dream when he opened The Old Pines Barber Shop in September 2018.

Trey Bowman works alongside Tristan at the quaint, old-school barber shop, located in the heart of Southern Pines. Trey, a Southern Pines native, graduated from Sanford Barber College, which requires 1,528 extensive hours of training. He learned from the very best teacher and mentor, Mr. Cotten, who taught him everything he knows about barbering. His passion is to help men find their own, personal style and figure out what works best for them.

Old Pines Barber Shop, thanks to it’s downtown location, has a laid-back, approachable atmosphere where everyone can feel at home and at ease while visiting. They’re also kid friendly!

Tristan and Trey both enjoy riding fourwheelers in their spare time and Tristan loves for every minute outside of the shop to be spent with his five-year-old son, Rylan.

171 NE Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC


Nikki Bowman, Owner / Broker
Jessica Rowan, Broker

Nikki Bowman (left) has called Southern Pines home since she was only two years old. She has Moore County knowledge and a sense of pride in the community that only a true native can possess, and as a realtor she puts this expertise to work for her clients in every real estate deal that she facilitates.

Nikki has been actively working as a local real estate agent since 2005 and opened Realty World Properties of the Pines in 2011. Her buyer’s agent, Jessica Rowan, has been working alongside her since 2015.

Like Nikki, Jessica is a lifetime Southern Pines resident and the only thing she loves more than her hometown is helping others fall in love with it too! Together, with the community knowledge they possess, they’ve honed a unique skill set to help their clients understand and navigate the area’s diverse market to meet their individual needs as buyers or sellers.

Nikki specializes primarily in listing homes, fearlessly and professionally facing the challenges that come along with selling a home. With a track record to prove it, Nikki is usually the agent who can sell a house that others couldn’t.

Jessica, who prefers to work with homebuyers, provides the advice to newcomers to fully embrace moving to a new area, which she knows can be intimidating for families. So she helps homebuyers find more than just a new home in Moore County- she identifies where they should eat, shop and play by pointing out her favorites around their new neighborhood.

The duo also provides assistance in helping clients find rentals and manage their properties, rounding out their full service real estate agency.

Nikki has always found energy and inspiration from her three children who motivate her to work hard every day. When Jessica is not working, she can be found window shopping in downtown Southern Pines while petting every dog she sees along the way.

760-B NW Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC


Philip Holmes, Manager

Frank Crumpler knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a future in funeral service. After graduating from the Cincinnati School of Embalming in 1956, Frank moved back to his hometown of Clinton, NC, where he began working with Jernigan Warren Funeral Home in Fayetteville. It was when he was working a funeral service in the Raeford Cemetery that he met his future wife, Dayne Capps. After their courtship and marriage, Frank and Dayne later founded Crumpler Funeral Home in Raeford.

Frank and Dayne had three children, Kemp, Kel, and Kalen, who all grew up to be licensed funeral directors themselves. Frank and Dayne purchased LaFayette Funeral Home in Fayetteville in 1992. Five years later the couple opened up their third funeral home in Red Springs. In 2006, Frank and Dayne purchased 10 acres of land at the corner of US 1 and Windy Hill Road in Aberdeen. They renovated the colonial house on the property and gave it new life as a modern funeral home to serve the families of Moore County. Now, almost 60 years after they opened their first funeral home, Frank and Dayne’s grandson, Philip Holmes, has become a third generation licensed funeral director, managing Crumpler Funeral Home of Aberdeen. 

Growing up, Philip did all kinds of manual labor around his family’s funeral homes. His grandfather, Frank, kept him busy hand-digging graves, washing vehicles, laying sod, and other tasks that needed to be completed around the funeral homes. Philip remembers Frank saying that he “never considered a day in funeral service ‘work,’” but as the one who always ended up covered in dirt and sweat, Philip couldn’t quite relate. It wasn’t until he served his apprenticeship and became a licensed funeral director that he began to understand what his grandfather meant. It is evident that Philip’s calling lies in serving the families of those who have lost someone they love, helping with genuine and sincere compassion, and guiding the families even after the services are completed.

The appreciation expressed by families who have been served is what he, as well as the entire Crumpler Family, strive for. 

The countless number of lasting friendships that have developed over the course of Philip’s tenure as a funeral director has been invaluable to him.

40229 US Hwy 1 south
Aberdeen, NC


Charlotte Williams, Owner

Charlotte Williams is the backbone and namesake of Charlotte’s Furnishings and Finds. With a degree in Interior Design and a minor in Business from Meredith College, Charlotte is driven to find the best deals to pass along to her customers and she gives her all to running her small business – that is really anything but small.

For starters, her downtown Aberdeen store has over 6000 sq ft. Charlotte uses every square inch of floor space to display a wide variety of furnishings, and home decor. She hunts for beautiful, tasteful additions from her market sources, then brings those market sample pieces to her shop and passes along the wholesale savings to her customers! Case goods, upholstery, accessories, rugs and wall art are just some of Charlotte’s special finds that you can pick up for yourself.

Her most loyal and savvy customers know to stop by often and to shop quickly. Unlike big box furniture stores or boutique home decor retailers, Charlotte’s pieces are straight off the market floor, and therefore every day brings brand new additions to her eclectic collection, and the pieces sell fast! Just because that amazing solid wood dining table is in her showroom today, doesn’t mean it will still be there tomorrow, or ever again for that matter.

With an impressive background in design, Charlotte is great at helping her customers find exactly what they need. No matter your personal style, Charlotte’s huge and ever-changing inventory is sure to have something for everyone.

Expansion has come quickly and in a big way for Charlotte. She has opened a second storefront just a couple dozen yards from her corner location on Poplar Street. As if you couldn’t find what you need behind door number one, walk on over to her Main Street extension to see more choices for your design projects.

There’s so much to discover on a trip to Charlotte’s, it should be no surprise that her unique store has been a Best of the Pines nominee and winner for two consecutive years! Safe to say that Charlotte is doing big things with her small company.

101 N Poplar Street
Aberdeen, NC  


Music Festival of the Pines

Third Stream Duo and the Weymouth Center collaborate to offer two days of adult and young artist classes for high school-age musicians and adult music lovers. The program includes two concerts open to the public. The Third Stream Duo concert is at 7 p.m. Friday, June 14, with a $15 suggested donation. The Young Artists/Third Stream Duo joint concert is Saturday, June 15, at 5:30 p.m. For information on class fees or further concert details, call (910) 692-6261 or go to Tickets are available at

Dive into June

Join Southern Pines Recreation and Parks for its Juneteenth Celebration at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at the Pool Park, 735 S. Stephens St., Southern Pines. The event is co-sponsored by the Southern Pines Public Library, Southern Pines Police Department and West Southern Pines Citizens for Change. For more information, call (910) 692-7376 or go to

First Friday

The June 7 edition of First Friday features the high-energy sound of Mountain Heart on the First Bank Stage next to the Sunrise Theater, 250 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines. Music begins at 5 p.m. There will be food trucks and alcohol for purchase. For more information, call (910) 692-3611 or visit

Queen Bee on the Menu

Author Dorothea Benton Frank will talk about her new book, Queen Bee, at a luncheon at noon on Friday, June 7, at the Country Club of North Carolina, 1600 Morganton Road, Pinehurst. Tickets are available at

Broadway on the Big Screen

One of the most elaborate productions of the Broadway classic 42nd Street comes to the Sunrise Theater, 244 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Sunday, June 9, and 10 a.m. Thursday, June 13. For more information, call (910) 692-3611 or visit

The Rooster’s Wife

Sunday, June 2: Logan Ledger. A young talent’s dream of getting discovered by the right Music City tastemaker really can come true. In the case of Logan Ledger, a demo recording caught the attention of Americana architect T Bone Burnett. Preview his new record. Cost: $15.

Thursday, June 6: Jon Roniger and the Good for Nothin’ Band. Bringing New Orleans to LA — Lower Aberdeen! Slick, sly, charming and authentic, the band practically crackles with chops. Cost: $12.

Thursday, June 13: Open mic with the Parsons. Your chance to take the stage. Free to members.

Friday, June 14: John Westmoreland, Skylar Gudasz. Westmoreland brings his new project, “Cast Fire,” a debut album of his original songs and music, and special guest, Charlie Lowery. Gudasz is a singer/songwriter from Durham, and then some. Last spotted traveling with Mipso, and The Jayhawks. Cost: $12.

Sunday, June 16: Chaise Lounge. Big league jazz with five of the Washington, D.C., area’s top jazz musicians playing sparkling arrangements of standards and original tunes, featuring the soft, luminous vocals of Marilyn Older. Cost: $20.

Thursday, June 20: Rebecca Newton. Great songs on a brand new album, her first solo project after all these years. Cost: $10.

Friday, June 21: Drew Gibson, Abigail Dowd. Gibson brings a new album and fabulous pedal steel by Dave Hadley. Our own Abigail Dowd returns to the Sandhills with songs of self-discovery, holding close and letting go. Cost: $15.

Sunday, June 23: Randall Bramblett. “You can’t do better than Randall Bramblett,” says Bonnie Raitt. Who are we to argue? Cost: $20.

Thursday, June 27: Kerrville Winners’ Song Circle. Rachel Laven, Nathan Evans Fox and Wes Collins bring a celebration of songs from the annual Kerrville Folk Festival, where they all took honors. Cost: $10.

Sunday, June 30: House of Hamill. Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan met backstage 10 years ago, when their bands, Enter The Haggis and Burning Bridget Cleary, were sharing the bill. The two bonded over a love of Irish fiddle tunes, Radiohead and 4 a.m. whiskey. The bond continues, stronger than ever. Cost: $15.

Unless otherwise noted, doors open at 6 p.m. and music begins at 6:46 at the Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St., Aberdeen. Prices above are for members. Annual memberships are $5 and available online or at the door. For more information, call (910) 944-7502 or visit or

Shakespeare in the Pines

The Uprising Theatre Company brings the Bard back to Pinehurst’s Village Green with performances of As You Like It on June 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. The play begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Tufts Memorial Park, 1 Village Green Road W., Pinehurst. General admission is free. For information on VIP tables, call (541) 631-8241 or go to

60 Minutes Man

Join CBS’ 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, author of Truth Worth Telling, at 6 p.m. on June 4 for a conversation and book signing with Kimberly Daniels Taws at the Pinehurst Country Club, 80 Carolina Vista, Dr., Pinehurst. Pelley, was the CBS Evening News anchor from 2011-17, travelled with the XVIII Airborne Corps on its assault into Iraq in 1991 and served as the network’s chief White House correspondent from 1997-99. The event, sponsored by The Pilot and The Country Bookshop, costs $35 which includes a copy of the book. Tickets are available at

Literary Luncheon

Join New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Michelle Gable at noon on Monday, June 3, at the Holly Inn, 155 Cherokee Road, Pinehurst, to hear about her new novel, The Summer I Met Jack. Ticket sales will benefit the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives and are available at

In the Spirit

Summer Well

Catching up and resting up

By Tony Cross

It’s my favorite time of the year. I love hot weather, and hopefully, I’ll be able to get out of town for at least a few days. If that’s the case, you’ll find me on the beach with either drink or book in hand. I enjoy Miller Lites, ice cold and in bulk. And when I’m reading, it’s almost always non-fiction. This summer, however, I hope to catch up on a few cocktail books that I haven’t had time to digest. It seems like every month there are tons of new books available on Amazon dedicated to spirits, cocktails, bars that make them, and the history of all of the above. Here’s a few that I hope to tackle soon.

Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions, by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan

From one of the partners of New York City bar Death & Company, and co-authors of Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails (which is, in my opinion, one of the best, if not the best cocktail book ever penned), Cocktail Codex is an in-depth look at six cocktails, and how every cocktail served today is based around them. These “root” cocktails are: the Old-Fashioned, the Martini, the Daiquiri, the Sidecar, the Whiskey Highball, and the Flip.

Each section starts off with the root recipe, and then off it goes! It delves deep into understanding the core of the drink, i.e., all of the ingredients, and why they work. This is very important, because as the chapter continues, it shows other classic-style drinks that are based on the root recipe. All of the crazy drinks that you may find in cocktail bars, books and even from Instagram almost always come from one of these root drinks. Any good bartender will tell you, if you don’t understand the classics (and, just as importantly, the balance), you’re going to have a tough time coming up with your own creations.

Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails, by Shannon Mustipher

This one is hot off the press. I saw Tiki in a Camper English Instagram post in April. He routinely posts on cocktail books that he is sent or purchases. I love all things tiki, so I decided to give it a shot. What a book! Shannon Mustipher’s credits include cocktail consultant, spirits educator and one of the founding members of Women Leading Rum, which, according to her book, is “an organization dedicated to providing education and professional development for industry and trade professionals.”

This is a very thorough, creative and inspiring tiki book. I had a little cocktail class the last weekend in April, and my guests wanted to do a drink with vodka, and one with whiskey. The first cocktail that I saw in this book was the one I ended up using that night. Who says tiki drinks have to be made with rum? The Lorikeet was so good, two of the guests that night admitted it was the best drink they’ve ever had. I wish I could’ve taken credit for the recipe — it’s complex, yet easy to drink and delightful. (Recipe below.)

Anything from the Given Book Shop in Pinehurst.

I met Lisa Richman last spring when she asked me if I’d be interested in doing a science workshop with cocktails as the theme. Of course I would. I didn’t tell her that I failed chemistry in high school until after we made the date official (the ol’ college try had a different outcome). When I showed up for the event, she had stashed away at least 15 cocktail books that were donated to the used bookstore by locals cleaning out their closets. I walked away with a steal — six books that you just can’t get anywhere else, unless you get lucky at the Salvation Army.

This year, the same thing, another successful “Science of Cocktails” class, and another bag of books for me. Lisa is not only efficient at what she does, she’s a huge sweetheart. The Given Outpost took its first shot at hosting a wedding event last fall, and it just happened to be my best friends tying the knot. Lisa made the whole experience easy for them, and for all of their guests. Plus, you guessed it, she had put away a couple of cocktail books and articles for me to sort through and take home. One of my favorites, which sits in my guest bathroom, is Johnny Carson’s Happiness is a Dry Martini. Classic.


2 ounces rye whiskey (preferably Rittenhouse)

1/2 ounce banana liqueur (preferably Giffard’s Banane du Bresil)

1/4 ounce cinnamon syrup*

1 ounce pineapple juice

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

4 dashes Angostura bitters

Orange twist and pineapple spears, to garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass. Top with pebbled ice, then garnish with an orange twist and 2 pineapple spears.

*Cinnamon syrup: In a pot, combine 4 ounces of water and 8 ounces (by weight) white sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. In a blender, combine syrup and 15 grams of cinnamon sticks. Blend on high until cinnamon sticks are completely broken down. Pour into a small container, let cool and refrigerate overnight. Strain out cinnamon the next day. Will keep for two weeks when refrigerated.   PS

Tony Cross is a bartender who runs cocktail catering company Reverie Cocktails in Southern Pines.


June Books


The Summer Guests, by Mary Alice Monroe

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flee for the farm of their friends, Grace and Charles Phillips, in Tryon, North Carolina. They find the Phillipses’ daughter, Moira, and her rescue dogs; famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz; makeup artist Hannah McLain; horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter, Elise; and another island resident, Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillipses, they ride out the storm together. During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. Rumor is that Caroline Young, who left Southern Pines for Tryon a few years ago, makes an appearance in the novel.

The Electric Hotel, by Dominic Smith

Aging mastermind Claude Ballard, the innovative filmmaker behind a lost masterpiece of silent film, The Electric Hotel, lives in a rundown Los Angeles hotel. He lives out his days walking the hills, foraging for mushrooms, attending to an elderly actress, and largely ignoring the decaying film canisters surrounding him. When a curious student working on his dissertation interviews Claude, the original film and stories spanning decades and continents are unearthed. You will be mesmerized by this work of historical fiction.

The Snakes, by Sadie Jones

Bea and Dan — a young couple seeking respite from their London life —travel to Paris to spend time with Bea’s brother, Alex, in the rundown hotel her parents purchased for him. Opening the door to the hotel opens a door to the family from which Bea has long tried to distance herself. Insanely rich, dabbling in dangerous play, and with twisted ideas about familial love, Bea and Dan find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into something they never wanted. Quietly terrifying, Jones’ writing grabs the reader on page one and, no matter how much you want to look away from the downward spiral of Bea and Dan’s fate, each page demands to be turned until the hammer falls.

Recursion, by Blake Crouch

The author of the best-selling Dark Matter returns with the story of New York City cop Barry Sutton investigating the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome — a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. As Sutton searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease, a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. This book will satisfy those in need of a good, dark read and could be your favorite of the year.

Paris, 7 A.M., by Liza Wieland

In June of 1937, Elizabeth Bishop, still only a young woman and not yet one of the most influential poets of the 20th century, arrives in France with her college roommates. They are in search of an escape, and inspiration, far from the protective world of Vassar College, where they were expected to find an impressive husband, a quiet life, and act accordingly. But the world is changing, and as they explore the City of Lights, the larger threats of fascism and occupation are looming. There, they meet a community of upper-crust expatriates who not only bring them along on a life-changing adventure, but also into an underground world of rebellion that will quietly alter the course of Elizabeth’s life forever.

Summer of 69, by Elin Hilderbrand

It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home on Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same. Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy drives a car off a single lane bridge in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.


Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War, by Ray Lambert and Jim DeFelice

The co-author of American Sniper joins forces with Seven Lakes resident Ray Lambert to write one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time. Seventy-five years ago, Lambert hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now 98 years old, he delivers a tour-de-force of remembrance evoking his role as a decorated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of D-Day. Every Man a Hero is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage throughout the Second World War — from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known.

Gather at The River: 25 Authors on Fishing,
by author/editors David Joy and Eric Richstad

Reading Gather at the River makes you feel as if you have been invited to sit down to a feast with your favorite contemporary writers. These are not “fish stories,” but literary essays evoking nostalgia for a simpler place and time; growing up and growing old; what changes and what stays the same. If finding pure pleasure in savoring this collection isn’t enough, it’s wonderful to know that a portion of the proceeds from each sale go to the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation, benefiting children with special needs.


If I Was the Sunshine,
by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Loren Long

In an ode to spring, nature and love everywhere, Fogliano and Long have teamed up to create natural beauty in this lovely picture book. It’s the perfect gift for a new baby or a delightful read-on-yout-lap book with that special little person.  (Ages birth-6.)

Bruno the Standing Cat, by Nadine Robert and Jean Julien

Cat person or not, everyone must admit cats are just a little, well, weird — but in the most wonderful ways. Bruno is no exception. Young cat lovers will laugh out loud at Bruno’s escapades and his incredibly entertaining expressions. (Ages 3-6.)

You Made Me a Dad,
by Laurenne Sala and Mike Malbrough

The absolute perfect Father’s Day gift for brand new dads, this fun little book showcases all the fabulous opportunities that come with this amazing new job. (Ages birth-6.)

Diggersaurs, by Michael Whaite

No need to decide between that truck book and the dinosaur book when Diggersaurs is on the bookshelf! Young readers will delight in this rhyming ode to all things dinosaur and all things with wheels. (Ages 2-5.)

Finale, by Stephanie Garber

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Just in time for summer beach reading, this amazing third and final book in the Caraval series is sure to leave readers reveling in this lush, magical, and oh-so-dangerous world. Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy; Scarlett must do the impossible; and Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him. Called impressive, spellbinding, original and wondrous, the Caraval series is just perfect for warm beach days and long summer nights.  (Age 14 and up.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally


Beach Time

Skee-Ball, rafts and sandy feet

By Bill Fields

During a Southern childhood, “the beach” can be one syllable, just as “milk” can be two, the former taking its pronunciation from attitude, not accent.

In my case, I hurried to say it because I couldn’t wait to get there. Once the races — in Charlotte and Indianapolis — were over on Memorial Day weekend, the countdown would begin to whatever summer week or extended weekend had been designated for vacation.

Years before Bruce Springsteen sang of his Highway 9, we traveled South Carolina’s version through the rural coastal plain, the little towns we passed en route — Lake View, Nichols, Green Sea, Loris and Longs — populating the two-lane road like charms on a dime-store bracelet.

A few hours after setting out from Moore County, following hot dog and bathroom pit stops, we would near the coastline. We made a sport of who could see the water first, usually after cresting a gentle hill into Ocean Drive, the sighting a prelude of fun to come.

Ocean Drive was our go-to destination many summers. Some of the best weeks were spent at a cottage a couple of blocks inland, a gentle walk to the strand even with an inflatable raft on my back. The house, which we rented from another Southern Pines family, had a screened-in porch between the kitchen/den on one side and bedrooms on the other. It got bonus points for also being a short stroll from Hoskins Restaurant, whose fried seafood and hushpuppies defined the category.

If not the Daniels’s rental house, we stayed in one of Ocean Drive’s beachfront family-owned motels, falling asleep to the sound of surf or the whir of a window air conditioner, the manufactured cool a blessing on days we stayed in the sun too long and needed something to augment a generous application of Noxzema.

Looking for a bargain, Dad twice failed badly with our lodging arrangements, locating us in a tired and musty trailer in Windy Hill once and another time in a forlorn Carolina Beach cottage whose beds were sized for elves. He made up nicely for those mistakes, though, arranging the last several trips of my teenage years for us to stay at the Christina, a tidy motel across the street from the Cherry Grove Pier.

Wherever we stayed — the motels sadly all long since razed for condo construction — other  vacation ingredients were as constant as a bottle of Coppertone and its scent of leisure. We played Putt-Putt, Bingo and Skee-Ball, ate Painter’s ice cream and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and rode a Ferris wheel whose safety bar never seemed that safe.

We used beach chairs that marked our thighs with the imprint of the nylon webbing if we sat too long. Cherry snow cones purchased from a strand vendor were refreshment in the heat. Dad invariably floated too far out in the surf for Mom’s comfort, distracting her from a Family Circle as she intently watched him bob beyond the breakers. But he loved the ocean as much as I did, the salt water soothing to a skin condition on his left foot contracted during the war that flared up every so often.

I didn’t have to twist Dad’s arm to get him to fish at the beach — each of us equipped with lightweight Zebcos better suited for a farm pond — but he didn’t yield easily to buying bloodworms over shrimp for bait, despite their effectiveness in attracting spot, croaker or whiting. Regardless of what we were casting off a pier, Dad and I were minor players compared with the serious fishermen at the far end going for king mackerel or shark with rigs out of The American Sportsman.

I loved it when I got old enough to be allowed to go out on a pier at night, alone, whether or not I had my fishing gear. Sitting on a bench away from the glare of a pole-mounted light wondering about the folks who carved their initials in the worn wood, there was a mystery that made it seem I wasn’t just in another state but another world.

Way too soon, in a sandy, sad car, with some trinkets purchased at the Gay Dolphin and won at the arcade, we would head home, vacation over until next time. Dad didn’t usually dawdle on the road, but on those return trips it seemed he worked in an extra stop, intent on making the beach last a little longer.  PS

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


One whiff of wild honeysuckle sends me down the bumpy dirt road, down the gravel drive, down to the back paddock, where the bay pony greets me at the gate, alfalfa hay tangled in her thick black mane.

As a child, summer mornings at the farm were sacred to me.

At the earliest light, while the air was still cool, we watered flowerbeds and drinking troughs, then took off bareback down the lush woodland riding trail.

Past the quiet creek, where water moccasins sunned on fallen logs, past the neighboring farm, where an ancient donkey wheezed in exaltation, on past the patch of ripening blackberries, I return to the place I first experienced the taste of wild honeysuckle, a place I return each June, if only in my mind.

This year, summer solstice lands on Friday, June 21.

And yet the sweetness of the season arrives unexpectedly — in an instant, in one delicious whiff, inside a single drop of nectar.


Figs of Summer

June marks the arrival of the earliest blackberries and scuppernongs. Picking herbs at dawn for midday pesto. Fried squash blossoms and fresh sweet corn. The first ripe fig.

I’ll never forget the Devon Park rental with the young fig tree out back. “It’s never produced fruit,” the landlord had told me.

And yet, one June evening, after scrubbing and filling the concrete birdbath, there it was: a tiny green fruit.

I watched that perfect fig slowly ripen day after day, for weeks.

Just as a caterpillar emerges from cocoon-state completely transformed, one day my darling fig was purple.

Soon, it would be ready to harvest. One more day, I told myself.

But the next day, the birds had beaten me to it.

Take whatever wisdom you wish from this little memory. And as for you birds: I hope the fig was delicious.

No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.  — Epictetus

Hand-picked Sweetness

In addition to the uplifting aroma of its summer blossoms, the honeysuckle is a plant of many surprising health benefits. (Add honeysuckle oil to the bath, for example, to soothe arthritis or muscle pain.) But what could be sweeter than adding homemade honeysuckle syrup to your favorite summer refreshment (iced tea, lemonade, sorbet, fresh fruit, you-name-it)? The below recipe stores up to one month in the refrigerator. Do make sure to harvest blossoms that are free from pesticides. And, if you make enough syrup, share the sweetness with a friend.

Honeysuckle Blossom Syrup


1 cup sugar

1 cup water

50 honeysuckle blossoms


In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and honeysuckle blossoms.

Using medium to high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Strain into a jar; refrigerate.

It is the month of June, The month of leaves and roses, When pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses. — Nathaniel Parker Willis

Let There Be Magic

The Full Strawberry Moon rises on Monday, June 17 — four days before the solstice. Also called the Honey Moon, the Mead Moon and the Full Rose Moon, allow the brilliance of this June wonder to illuminate all the magic and potential of this brand-new season. And if you happen upon ripe wild strawberries for the occasion, don’t forget the honeysuckle blossom syrup in the fridge.

Mom, Inc.

To Thine Own Self

A day, and a dance, to remember

By Renee Whitmore

I got married this past March. It was an outdoor wedding and a gorgeous day, truly.

But this isn’t going to be about the weather (it rained the day before and the day after). It isn’t going to be about the cake (salted caramel flavor with buttercream frosting). It isn’t going to be about the wedding party (we danced in couples down the aisle to Whitney Houston’s “How Do I Know?”) or about the fact that my oldest son played our favorite songs on the guitar during the ceremony and the reception. It isn’t going to be about the barbecue and mac ‘n’ cheese afterward (absolutely delicious) or the colors (plum and navy) or the fact that we totally forgot the best man and maid of honor toasts.

Nope. This isn’t going to be about any of that. This is about the father-daughter dance.

A few weeks before our wedding, Jesse, my fiancé at the time, and I met with our DJ at a coffee shop to talk over the song list.

“What about the father-daughter dance?” she asked as she sipped her latte. My eyes widened. I hadn’t even thought of that. Let me explain. Dad and I have a great relationship. He might be the coolest guy I know, other than the one I married that day. But we aren’t, well, the father-daughter dance type. In fact, the thought of a father-daughter dance made me want to laugh.

“Well, I . . . uh . . . don’t know about that,” I said to our DJ. “I guess I can think about it.”

Days went by. Finally, I texted my mom.

Me: Do you think I should ask Dad to have a father-daughter dance at the wedding?

Mom: (within 30 seconds) Yes.

Me: Do you think he will say yes?

Mom: (within 22 seconds) Yes.

Still, I was unsure. I decided to ask him — via text, of course.

Me: Hey Dad, this may sound weird, and you can say no if you want, but how do you feel about a dance? Like father-daughter?

(He replied, five hours later.)

Dad: Yes, we can do that. Let’s stay true to our characters though.

That’s all I needed to hear. I knew exactly what that meant.

We decided what we wanted to do. We didn’t practice, not once.

The wedding day came, and it was beautiful. The weather. The people. The ceremony. But this isn’t about that.

It was time.

“The father-daughter dance!” the DJ proclaimed over her mic, and everyone in the reception tent clapped. As I stumbled over my dress, Dad and I made our way to the dance floor.

He put his hands on my waist. I put my hands on his shoulders. “Butterfly Kisses” filled the air. “Awwww,” I heard.

We shuffled around, attempting a box step and it was . . . awkward. We hadn’t practiced.

Twenty seconds passed, and he whispered, “This is long enough, isn’t it?” I nodded.

Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, “Billie Jean is not my lover . . . ”

The DJ flashed the strobe lights. Michael Jackson to the rescue.

Dad and I pulled apart and started to moonwalk. My oldest son ran out there with us and started juggling three colorful balls. My five bridesmaids jumped up from their seats and joined in.

“She told me her name was Billie Jean, as she caused a scene.” We made quite the scene as we moonwalked in unison.

The music shifted again.

“I wear my sunglasses at night,” filled the tent. We grabbed sunglasses from the tables and slid them on. The dance continued.

Our guests laughed. Our DJ laughed. Our photographer laughed. We all laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

It was a memorable day. The vows. The cake. The food. We even remember the things we forgot. But this isn’t about that.

It will forever be the day my dad and I stayed true to our characters. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m still trying to perfect this moonwalk. PS

When Renee Whitmore is not teaching English or being a professional taxi driver for her two boys, she is working on her first book.

Food for Thought

(Chicken) Salad Days

There is nothing like chicken salad. Whether homey or haute, it can be the centerpiece of any summer meal

By Jane Lear

Aside from the “fiesta” or “Oriental” versions found at some chain restaurants, chicken salad has pretty much been relegated to the Nostalgia Department: suitable fare for tearooms, drugstore lunch counters and Southern porch suppers, circa 1955.

I don’t know why. I suppose people are afraid of the fat in mayonnaise — common to most recipes — or perhaps the technique of poaching chicken — ditto — sounds difficult. This should change. Chicken salad should become a trend.

I mean, if I had a restaurant — a little roadside café, say — I’d feature a chicken salad sandwich of the week. Or perhaps I’d serve nothing but chicken salad; if one of the whiz kids behind the grilled-cheese-shop fad wants to diversify, we should talk.

No matter what, though, I always keep chicken salad in my regular rotation at home, because it’s a great make-ahead family supper or, fancied up with tarragon and toasted walnuts, for instance, or with a curry dressing, a fabulous company meal.

In a perfect world, obviously, I’d always take the time to gently poach chicken breast halves, complete with bones and skin: Not only is that one key to flavorful yet clean-tasting meat (along with using a wholesome pastured bird), but the light broth is handy for moistening the salad (instead of more mayo) if it starts to dry out — a trick I learned back in my years at Gourmet.

Life has a tendency to get in the way, however, and I’m here to remind you that you can make delicious chicken salad from leftover sautéed or roasted chicken, or even a store-bought rotisserie bird.

For sheer speed and efficiency, it’s hard to beat that last option, so I’m always a little shocked when I meet people who are snooty about rotisserie, or spit-roasted, chickens, one of the greatest convenience foods on the planet. Have they ever been to an outdoor market in France? I wonder. The queue for poulet rôti should be a tip-off that it’s an honest, worthy substitute for a home-roasted chicken in many a French kitchen.

And in mine, too. I’ll often buy two on the way home in the evening — one for eating that night, with some harissa-slicked couscous and quick-cooked greens, for example — and the other for salad, later in the week. While it’s still warm, I’ll strip it of bones and skin, shred both white and dark meat, and combine it with the dressing. Honestly, anyone can do this.

As far as chicken salad recipes go, I like having a repertoire. Several old-school renditions are embellished with toasted slivered almonds and grapes, cut in half lengthwise. A famous one, which is rich and light all at the same time (aside from red grapes, almonds, celery and parsley, the recipe includes unsweetened whipped cream), was created by renowned Texas cook Helen Corbitt for the café menu at the Neiman Marcus department store in the ’50s. We also have Corbitt to thank for Texas caviar (i.e., pickled black-eyed peas) and poppy-seed dressing.

Other chicken salads in this genre rely on a one-to-one ratio of mayonnaise and sour cream, and green grapes instead of red. In general, this sort of chicken salad is utterly predictable and absolutely delicious. You’ll want to serve it on a bed of soft-leaf lettuces, and on your mother’s china. A side of steamed asparagus and maybe some Parker House rolls and good butter would make everyone very happy.

Lately, though, I’ve been relying on supermarket staples — in particular, Major Grey’s mango chutney and dry-roasted nuts — as well as a picked-up-on-the-run rotisserie bird to put a chicken salad supper on the table fast. What takes this combination out of the Coronation Chicken Salad realm (first made for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation lunch in 1953, it’s been popular in Britain ever since) are the additions of cilantro, basil, mint, and lime juice for freshness and verve, as well as large, voluptuous leaves of butterhead lettuce, for making Southeast Asian-style roll-ups.

Fast-Track Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney
and Cashews

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 jar Major Grey’s-style mango chutney (8 to 9 ounces), mango cut into smaller, bite-size pieces if too chunky

½1/2 cup mayonnaise (I’m a lifelong fan of Duke’s)

Fresh lime juice, to taste

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 rotisserie chicken (about 3 pounds), skin and bones discarded and meat shredded

2 to 3 celery stalks, chopped

Dry-roasted whole cashews or peanuts, coarsely chopped, to taste

For the roll-ups

1 or 2 butterhead lettuces such as Bibb, leaves separated, left whole, washed, and spun dry

Handfuls of fresh cilantro, basil and mint sprigs, rinsed and dried

Sliced radishes and/or seedless cucumber, optional

1. Stir together the onion, chutney, mayo and lime juice in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. (Go easy on the salt if you’re going to be adding salted nuts.) Gently stir in the chicken until thoroughly combined. Give the flavors a chance to mingle for 20 or 30 minutes.

2. Just before serving, gently stir in the celery and nuts. Spoon the chicken salad onto a platter and arrange the roll-up fixings (lettuce leaves, herbs, and vegetables) around it so everyone can serve themselves. Your mother’s china, optional.  PS

Jane Lear, formerly of Gourmet magazine and Martha Stewart Living, is the editor of Feed Me, a quarterly magazine for Long Island food lovers.


Ode to My Backyard Garden

O mighty, O valiant

flowered phalanxes,

patrolling the patio perimeter!

Sharp-pointed hostas flank

two imposing hydrangeas

holding pride of place,

one uniformed in periwinkle,

the other, salmon pink,

their blooms thrusting

purposefully toward the sky.

Snowy-petaled Shasta daisies

with bright lemon centers —

the next line of defense —

gently wave in formation,

gathering intelligence,

heads pressing together

in silent exchanges.

Outermost are the sturdy sentinels,

daylilies hued in saffron and amber,

their ranks constantly replenished,

ever watchful for marauders,

especially Inscrutable Thomas,

the neighbors’ orange tabby,

a stealthy, persistent intruder.

O carry on, carry on,

my intrepid army

of blossoms!

— Martha Golensky

The Omnivorous Reader

The Mothers of Invention

A peek inside the private lives of writers

By D.G. Martin

How much impact do mothers of great authors have on their children’s writings?

Ask Daniel Wallace, creative writing professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and author of the humorous and poignant Big Fish.

In a new book, Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South, edited by North Carolina writers Lee Smith and Samia Serageldin, Wallace writes about his mother.

“My mother was twelve years old the first time she got married; her husband seventeen. This is how she told it, anyway, over and over again how she was married when she was twelve, and her husband’s name was John Stephens, and they ran off together to Columbiana, Alabama, where they found a judge who would marry them.”

As Wallace explains, his mother, Joan, and John were at a community swimming pool, and “with the crazy logic of two kids who were in love and in the grip of some uncontrollable hormones — trying to find any way to be together, to have sex with each other and make it right, make it okay somehow — they decided to get married, And they decided to get married that very day. Still in their bathing suits . . . ”

Joan set out, writes Wallace, “not to live as man and wife with John, because that wasn’t going to happen, but to have sex as a newly married couple might: with a feral eagerness. But ‘legally,’ and with the unintentional blessing of her mother. Where they had sex is unclear to me — my mother just said ‘everywhere they could’ — and they continued thusly until somehow my grandparents found out about it and had the marriage annulled. ‘It was a summer marriage,’ she said.”

Wallace’s mom told this story to everyone. “It was the perfect story,” Wallace writes, “because it cut to the chase of the kind of woman my mother was and who she always had been: defiant, sexual, shocking.”

Wallace says he got his “oversharing” storytelling gifts from her.

“She was a great storyteller, and much more creative than I ever gave her credit for. Because what I came to learn after a little bit of sleuthing, is that it wasn’t really true, this story she told. It didn’t happen like this at all.”

You will have to read Wallace’s entire essay to get something closer to the real truth. But even before we get to that point we can ask, why did Wallace’s mom lie about this story? Wallace tries to answer, “We learn more about people through the lies they tell than we do from the truths they share. I think this is why I became a fiction writer in the first place. It’s how I was raised.”

Thank goodness. Otherwise, we would have missed Big Fish, Extraordinary Adventures, and Wallace’s four other imagination-filled novels.

Wallace’s essay is just one of 28 about authors’ mothers collected by Smith and Serageldin in Mothers and Strangers. The contributors, all respected authors, include Wallace, Belle Boggs, Marshall Chapman, Hal Crowther, Clyde Edgerton, Marianne Gingher, Jaki Shelton Green, Sally Greene, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Eldridge “Redge” Hanes, Lynden Harris, Randall Kenan, Phillip Lopate, Michael Malone, Frances Mayes, Jill McCorkle, Melody Moezzi, Elaine Neil Orr, Steven Petrow, Margaret Rich, Omid Safi, James Seay, Alan Shapiro, Bland Simpson, Sharon K. Swanson and, of course, the two editors.

In comments about the book, Smith emphasizes that the relationships and experiences between mothers and children are varied. Each is unique. She explains, “America’s traditional Hallmark conception of Motherhood (note the caps) takes a real beating in these essays. The whole idea of motherhood is hampered by the stereotypes and preconceptions associated with it — mothers are selfless, right? Automatically loving and giving and happy with their biological and limited role, making biscuits from scratch and sewing all our clothes, yadayada. Almost nobody had a mother like that.”

Then she confesses, “Except me, I guess. Actually, my own sweet mother really did all these things, though she suffered terribly from depression when she quit teaching, which she had loved, to ‘stay home and take care of you.’”

In the book’s foreword Smith explains, “She sent me down to visit my lovely Aunt Gay-Gay in Birmingham, Alabama, every summer for two weeks of honest-to-God Lady Lessons. Here I’d learn to wear white gloves, sit up straight, and walk in little Cuban heels. I’d learn proper table manners, which would then be tested by fancy lunches at ‘The Club’ on top of Shades Mountain. I’d learn the rules: ‘A lady does not point. A lady eats before the party. A lady never lets a silence fall. A lady does not sit like that!’”

Smith’s description of her feelings for her loving parents and traditional upbringing will not surprise her fans, who have come to admire the loving respect with which Smith treats the main characters of her novels and short stories.

Jill McCorkle’s mother had a full-time job as a secretary while other mothers “were staying home and doing the June Cleaver thing.” McCorkle never felt slighted. She marvels at how her mother and her postal worker dad “owned a home and sent two children to college and faithfully tithed to the church.”

“Of course,” she continues, “the answer to that question is that they did without a lot for themselves.”

Her latest book, Life After Life, is set in a nursing-retirement home, where some residents are struggling with dementia. In her essay, she describes her mother’s current dementia. Most often she does not recognize her daughter. McCorkle writes, “If there is a sliver of grace to be pulled from the gnarled up tangle of dementia, it is that little bit of time given to loved ones to fully appreciate the scope of a whole life while the individual is still there and breathing and every now and then, for the briefest second, visible.”

Other writers describe different experiences with their mothers. Serageldin grew up in a prominent Egyptian family that was put into a stressful situation after the 1952 revolution. Threatened confiscation and arrests were part of the picture, but “she colluded with her mother’s pretense of normality, sensing that the illusion was more for the adult’s sake.”

Clyde Edgerton’s mother, Truma, was born to sharecropper parents who worked land in what is now the Umstead State Park near the Raleigh-Durham airport. When her father died, the family moved to Durham, taking a cow with them. When she was 12 years old, she went to work in a hosiery mill. Edgerton writes, “To my knowledge she never considered her upbringing to be in any way adverse.”

Edgerton lists some of her habits: “She’d never waste water. If she turned on a faucet for warm water, she’d collect the water that was getting warm and use it to water plants.

“She loved to listen to and tell and laugh about family stories — often the same ones over and over. Those stories were among my most special inheritances.”

Clyde says that Truma and her two sisters raised him.

He includes sections from his second novel, Walking Across Egypt, that are based on his mother. Then he writes, “That’s my mother. I wish you could have known her in person as I did. I think of her almost every day. I know I find solace in natural things, simple things — like trees, flowers, and birds — because of her inspired example of embracing and finding pleasure in the simple free gifts the earth provides . . . She never guessed that the son she hoped would be a concert pianist or a missionary would end up writing ‘talk’ for a living.”

These essays and all of the others are readers’ treasures. Short, written crisply by some of the region’s best authors, each one gives an inside look at the writer’s private life and how the mother faced and dealt with different sets of challenges, ones that have, for better or worse, helped make the writings of each author what they are today.  PS

D.G. Martin hosts North Carolina Bookwatch Sunday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesday at 8 p.m. To view prior programs go to: