On the Tee

On the Tee

Together Again

Another chapter in a long association

By Tony Rothwell

Featured Photo: Tin Whistles 1915. Donald J. Ross, second row fourth from the left. (Photograph from the Tin Whistles archives)

When the USGA brings the U.S. Open Championship to Pinehurst to play the iconic No. 2 course, a long-established Pinehurst-based golf society, the Tin Whistles, will play its part.

There will be seven Tin Whistle members in senior championship leadership positions, including Larry McWane, the volunteer chairman. Sixty-eight more will be in various volunteer positions, and the par-3 17th hole will be marshalled by a combination of Tin Whistles and Silver Foils, Pinehurst’s equivalent ladies’ golf society.

“Being the chairman sounds impressive and an honor, and it certainly is, but it requires patience and planning which sometimes seem overwhelming,” says McWane. “Somehow it all gets done, thanks to the dedication of the many who volunteer, and the clubs and organizations that support the game.”

This level of involvement is not surprising. The Tin Whistles’ ties to the USGA are extraordinary in number, both playing in USGA tournaments and in USGA management. According to Jan Ludwig, Tin Whistle historian, just some of those connections include:

  • Three Tin Whistles have been winners of the USGA Amateur Championship: William C. Fownes Jr., 1910; George T. Dunlap Jr., 1933; and Richard D. Chapman, 1940.
  • Tin Whistle members played in 27 of 32 Walker Cup matches from 1922 to 1989.

Right: Tin Whistles 2024 (Photograph by John Patota)

  • Five Tin Whistle members have been USGA presidents: William C. Fownes Jr., 1926-27; George W. Blossom Jr., 1942-43; Richard S. Tufts, 1956-57; William C. Campbell, 1982-83; and James B. Hyler, 2010-11.
  • Richard Tufts was a key figure in the negotiations between the USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, to bring the rules of golf in line on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Tin Whistle member P.J. Boatwright Jr. was USGA executive director from 1969-80 and executive director of Rules and Competitions from 1980-91.

In addition to regular members, the Tin Whistles are proud of their honorary members, which include Jack Nicklaus, Jay Siegel, Gary Schaal, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Donald Padgett II, Rees Jones, Dan Maples, Robert Dedman, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw, Bob Burwell, Curtis Strange and Davis Love III. If you added up all the victories and accomplishments of this group, there wouldn’t be room on the page. Of the U.S. Opens held since 1901, Tin Whistles have played in 77 of them.

The Tin Whistles society was established in 1904 when a small, like-minded group of regular golfing visitors to Pinehurst decided to hold competitions and formed the society. Donald Ross, the designer of Pinehurst No. 2, was one of them.

The society has grown into a 225-member organization that has become involved in many areas of community service, including, most notably, awarding four-year college scholarships and nursing scholarships to students from local high schools — 165 awards to date. A 1983 scholar, and a Tin Whistle member, Chris Eldridge, has come from California to be the hole captain on the second hole during the Open.

And when you’re watching the Open broadcast, look out for the marshals on the 17th. Chances are you’ll recognize some of them.  PS

Tony Rothwell moved to Pinehurst in 2017, exchanging the mind-numbing traffic of Washington, D.C., for better weather and the vagaries of golf. He spent 50 years in the hotel business but in retirement writes short stories and sings in the Moore County Choral Society. He can be reached at ajrothwell@gmail.com.



The Kingsnake and My Old Man

Learning to appreciate the unappreciated

Story and Photographs by Todd Pusser

For years, my father lived by the creed “The only good snake is a dead snake.” Any snake encountered, no matter the species, was dispatched as quickly as possible, usually with a deft stroke of a shovel to the back of the head. Dad’s fear of snakes was taught to him by his dad, who learned it from his dad, who learned it from his dad.

Ophidiophobia is a common affliction. Chances are, most readers of this magazine suffer from some form of it. Ever since the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, snakes have received a bad rap. Like taxes and politicians, most people despise them.

However, there are exceptions to every rule. For Dad, that exception was the eastern kingsnake. If the boldly patterned black and white snake was encountered in the yard, Dad let it slide. No shovels to the back of the head for this serpent. Eastern kingsnakes are powerful constrictors that readily eat other snakes, including venomous ones — a fact that had not escaped my dad, despite his serpentine prejudices.

When I came along, I broke the family mold. As a kid, I never feared any snake. Instead, I found the cold-blooded serpents immensely fascinating. If I encountered one in the woods, I did not rush to grab a stick to bash it to pieces. Instead, I marveled at the way it slithered across the ground, admiring how it navigated the landscape without the benefit of legs.

I devoured every snake book I could find in the library at West End Elementary School. I soon learned that North Carolina was blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with 39 different species of snakes, only six of which are venomous.

Each year, when the “Snake Man,” a touring natural history educator, came around to our school, I was the first to volunteer to help hold Penelope, his pet 16-foot Burmese python. I still recall with vivid clarity how it took over a dozen students to lift the immense snake out of her wooden holding box.

Then there was the time my sixth-grade science teacher, Larry Dull, captured a hognose snake on the school’s playground out by the monkey bars. Frequently called “spreading adders” by locals, for their habit of flattening their heads “cobra style” when threatened, hognose snakes are often believed, incorrectly, to be venomous — a myth that Mr. Dull dispelled by holding the wild snake with his bare hands in front of our class. The hognose remained absolutely still, occasionally flicking its tongue in and out of its mouth, making no attempt to bite. While Mr. Dull addressed our class, I hung on his every word and laughed out loud when the snake suddenly pooped on his shirt.

As my knowledge and love for North Carolina snakes grew, the eastern kingsnake quickly became a favorite. What’s not to like? The handsome black serpent has a bold pattern of white, chainlike markings that encircle its body at wide intervals from head to tail. Capable of reaching lengths of over 6 feet of pure muscle, the eastern kingsnake is North Carolina’s strongest native snake. It’s a constrictor that suffocates its prey with powerful coils from its body.

Not only are kingsnakes big and strong, they possess the superhero-like trait of being immune to snake venom. For copperheads and rattlesnakes, an eastern kingsnake is the ultimate danger noodle.

The reason Dad refuses to kill kingsnakes stems from an incident that happened during his childhood. While fishing for bluegills in an Eagle Springs farm pond, he stumbled upon a kingsnake constricting a cottonmouth along the shoreline. Despite having the cottonmouth’s fangs embedded deep in its back, the kingsnake slowly squeezed the life out of the venomous serpent, then proceeded to swallow it whole, right in front of my wide-eyed father. It left an impression.

Despite witnessing this rare behavior, Dad still grew up fearing snakes. It was not until my college days that his fear began to wane. At that time, I had a pet snake named Herman. Herman was an eastern kingsnake that traveled with me from Chapel Hill back home over the holidays. One memorable Christmas, I pulled Herman out of his aquarium in the living room, but Dad steadfastly refused to hold him, despite the snake’s obvious calm demeanor. Mom chose to remain in another room for my impromptu Crocodile Hunter performance.

After graduation, when work took me away for months at a time, Dad reluctantly agreed to snake sit for me. Fortunately, Herman was a low-maintenance pet. Dad simply had to clean his aquarium once a week and feed him the occasional frozen mouse. Still, Dad never once picked up Herman. Old habits die hard.

It was not until years later, when I took Dad on a wildlife viewing adventure through the Albemarle Peninsula, that he actually picked up a snake with his bare hands for the first time. On a humid day early in the trip, we encountered a large kingsnake crawling across a wide dirt road bordered by forest and cornfields. I hopped out of the car and immediately picked up the shiny black serpent. True to form, the snake made no effort to bite. Instead, it wrapped its elongated body around my wrist. Its iridescent scales shimmered in the late afternoon light.

Imagine my surprise when I asked Dad if he would like to hold it and he said, “Yes.” Not wanting the moment to pass, I quickly handed the snake over to him. Despite being obviously nervous — beads of sweat were forming on his forehead — both Dad and the snake remained calm. Slowly touching its scales, Dad’s expression changed from trepidation to joy. In that moment, he lost his fear of snakes.

It’s been many years since I have seen a kingsnake around Eagle Springs. Of the few snakes that still occasionally turn up in the yard, I am happy to report that Dad no longer kills them. He simply leaves them alone.

Mom recently texted me a photo of Dad helping out a family friend by capturing a large rat snake in their front yard and releasing it unharmed into a nearby patch of woods.

Looking at that picture, I can’t help but smile.  PS

Naturalist and photographer Todd Pusser grew up in Eagle Springs. He works to document the extraordinary diversity of life both near and far. His images can be found at www.ToddPusser.com.

Almanac June 2024

Almanac June 2024

June is a luscious muse, generous with her wisdom, lips to the ears of all who seek her.

Want to know how to dance? Move as the dragonfly moves, she whispers, guiding your eyes to shallow waters. Iridescent wings shimmer in hypnotic circles. The pond reflects the magic back.

In the meadow, the muse beckons a gentle wind. Be danced, she sings among the rolling grasses. Let the movement find you.

Artists: Dip your brush in milkwort and rosinweed. Watch sunlight transmute meadow-beauty. Express with the boldness of spider lily.

Poets: Attune to the frequency of bees. Can you taste the earth through your fingertips? Spend the day supping honeysuckle and catmint, then cover your legs in clover pollen.

It’s all for pleasure, the goddess intones. You cannot do it wrong.

See for yourself.

Study the language of lark sparrows. Become fluent in butterfly pea and blooming thistle. Chime in with a choir of cicadas.

Dress yourself in Queen Anne’s lace. Map out the route of a swallowtail. Translate the essence of snap beans and squash blossoms.

Let listening be an artform. Or seeing. Or tasting. 

How fully can you receive the richness of sound and color? The texture of nectar on your tongue? The depth and sweetness of these early summer days?

It’s simple. Surrender to the wild beauty. Let it move you. This is the mastery of June.


It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.

— Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, 1941

Night Bloomers 

The full strawberry moon rises on Friday, June 21 (one day after summer solstice). What could be dreamier than a near-full moon on a midsummer’s night? Enter the moon garden. Breathe in the earthy-fresh fragrance of evening primrose (Oenothera laciniata). The sugary sweetness of moonflower (Ipomoea alba). The citrus-laced ecstasy of night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum).

While not technically a night bloomer, the timeless aroma of gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) is anything but subtle. Awash in the gentle glow of moonlight, the delicate white blossoms of this evergreen shrub are a wonder to behold. Linger among them. Tell them the quiet longings of your heart. If you lean close, you just might hear their secrets, too.

Puck & Co.

Nature spirits have long been associated with the magic of summer solstice. Fae folk in particular. But what kind of mythical being is that?

The rosy maple moth is as storybook as it gets. With its woolly body, bushy antennae and candy-like pink and yellow coloration, this small silk moth is nearly unmistakable. As its name implies, maple trees are the preferred host for this visual wonder, which can be seen fluttering near forest edges throughout the state.

Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of one this month. Though who’s to say it won’t be Puck, stirring up a bit of mischief?   PS



June Books


Husbands & Lovers, by Beatriz Williams

Two women — separated by decades and continents, and united by an exotic family heirloom — reclaim secrets and lost loves in this sweeping novel from The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Wives. New England, 2022: Single mother Mallory Dunne receives the telephone call every parent dreads — her 10-year-old son Sam has been airlifted from summer camp with acute poisoning from a toxic mushroom, leaving him fighting for his life. In a search for the donor kidney that will give her son a chance for a normal life, Mallory is forced to confront two harrowing secrets from her past: her mother’s adoption from an infamous Irish orphanage in 1952, and her own all-consuming summer romance 14 years earlier with her childhood best friend, Monk Adams, a fairytale cut short by a devastating betrayal. Cairo, 1951: After suffering tragedy beyond comprehension in the war, Hungarian refugee Hannah Ainsworth has forged a respectable new life for herself — marriage to a wealthy British diplomat and a coveted posting in glamorous Cairo. A fateful encounter with the enigmatic manager of a hotel bristling with spies leads to a passionate affair that will reawaken Hannah’s longing for everything she once lost. Timeless and bittersweet, Husbands & Lovers draws readers on an unforgettable journey of heartbreak and redemption, from the revolutionary fires of midcentury Egypt to the moneyed beaches of contemporary New England.

A Happier Life, by Kristy Woodson Harvey

The bestselling author of The Summer of Songbirds presents a tender and touching novel about a young woman who discovers the family she has always longed for when she spends a life-changing summer in North Carolina. Present day: Keaton Smith is desperate for a fresh start, so when her mother needs someone to put her childhood home in Beaufort, North Carolina, on the market — the home that Keaton didn’t know existed until now — she jumps at the chance to head south. The moment she steps foot inside the abandoned house, she’s confronted with secrets about grandparents who died in a car accident before she was born. And as she gets to know her charming next-door neighbor, his precocious 10-year-old son and a flock of endearingly feisty town busybodies, she soon finds she has more questions than answers. 1976: After meeting her adoring husband, Townsend, Rebecca “Becks” Saint James abandoned the life she knew and never looked back. Forty years later, she’s made a name for herself as the best hostess North Carolina has ever seen. Her annual summer suppers have become the stuff of legend, and locals and out-of-towners alike clamor for an invitation to her stunning historic home. Becks strives to make the lives of those around her as easy as possible, but this summer she is facing a dilemma that even she can’t solve. As both Keaton and Becks face new challenges and chapters, they are connected through time by the house on Sunset Lane, which has protected the secrets, hopes and dreams of the women in their family for generations.

Summer Romance, by Annabel Monaghan

The bestselling author of Nora Goes Off Script pens this romantic and hilarious story of a professional organizer whose life is a mess, and the summer she gets unstuck with the help of someone unexpected from her past. Ali Morris is a professional organizer whose own life is a mess. Her mom died two years ago, then her husband left, and she hasn’t worn pants with a zipper in longer than she cares to remember. No one is more surprised than Ali when the first time she takes off her wedding ring and puts on pants with hardware she meets someone. Or rather, her dog claims a man for her . . . by peeing on him. Ethan looks at Ali as if she’s a younger, braver version of herself. The last thing the newly single mom needs is to make her life messier, but there’s no harm in a little summer romance. Is there?

Swan Song, by Elin Hilderbrand

The New York Times bestselling author brings her Nantucket novels to a brilliant finish when rich strangers move to the island and social mayhem — and a possible murder — follow. Can Nantucket’s best locals save the day and their way of life? Chief of police Ed Kapenash is about to retire. Blonde Sharon is going through a divorce. When a $22,000,000 summer home is purchased by the mysterious Richardsons (how did they make their money, exactly?), Ed, Sharon and everyone in the community are swept up in high drama. The Richardsons throw lavish parties, flirt with multiple locals, flaunt their wealth with not one but two yachts, and raise the impossible hopes of everyone they meet. When their house burns to the ground and their most essential employee goes missing, the entire island is up in arms.

Not In Love, by Ali Hazelwood

Rue Siebert might not have it all, but she has enough: a few friends she can always count on, the financial stability she yearned for as a kid, and a successful career as a biotech engineer at one of the most promising startups in the field of food science. Her world is stable, pleasant and hard-fought — until a hostile takeover and its offensively attractive front man threatens to bring it all crumbling down. Eli Killgore has his own reasons for pushing this deal through, and he’s a man who gets what he wants — with one burning exception: Rue, the woman he can’t stop thinking about. Torn between loyalty and an undeniable attraction, Rue and Eli throw caution out the lab and the boardroom windows. Their affair is secret, no-strings-attached, and has a built-in deadline: the day one of their companies will prevail. A forbidden, secret affair proves that all’s fair in love and science.

The First Ladies, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray 

The daughter of formerly enslaved parents, Mary McLeod Bethune refuses to back down as white supremacists attempt to thwart her work. She marches on as an activist and an educator, and as her reputation grows she becomes a celebrity, revered by titans of business and recognized by U.S. presidents. Eleanor Roosevelt herself is awestruck and eager to make her acquaintance. Initially drawn together because of their shared belief in women’s rights and the power of education, Mary and Eleanor become fast friends, confiding their secrets, hopes and dreams — and holding each other’s hands through tragedy and triumph. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected president, the two women begin to collaborate more closely, particularly as Eleanor moves toward her own agenda separate from FDR’s, a consequence of the devastating discovery of her husband’s secret love affair. Eleanor becomes a controversial first lady for her outspokenness, particularly on civil rights. And when she receives threats because of her strong ties to Mary, it only fuels the women’s desire to fight together for justice and equality.




The Pelican Can! by Toni Yuly

Pelicans: lovely to watch and just as lovely to read about. This rhythmic picture book shares the beauty of a pelican’s day with scientific facts and delightful illustrations, making it the perfect read-together at the end of a long beach day. (Ages 2-6.)

Chloe and Maude, by Sandra Boynton

Adventures await with best friends Chloe and Maude. Art! Hiking! Even a tiny disagreement — everything is more fun with a friend. A perfect choice for fans of Elephant & Piggie or Frog and Toad who are looking for short chapter books. (Ages 5-8.)

If You Spot a Shell,
by Aimée Sicuro

Conch, whelk, scallop, moon snail . . . who hasn’t, on a beach day, seen hats and boats and spiraling wheels while looking at these stunning shells? If You Spot a Shell celebrates the beauty and creativity of beach art and is a great read-together after a long sun-washed beach day. (Ages 3-8.)

Trouble at the Tangerine, by Gillian McDunn

All Simon Hyde wants to do on the day his family moves into Tangerine Pines is settle into his forever home. But a fire alarm, a stolen necklace and a missing bracelet may send the Hydes on a path to seek a new home sooner rather than later. This charming mystery is the perfect summer story for animal lovers, adventure seekers and budding foodies. (Ages 9-12.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Omnivorous Reader

Omnivorous Reader

Letters from Death Row

Finding purpose behind bars

By Anne Blythe

Much has been written about how the art of letter writing has been in decline for years — except in prisons. Behind the barbed fences, putting pen to paper remains a vital connection to the world outside the prison walls. It was one such letter that launched Rap and Redemption on Death Row: Seeking Justice and Finding Purpose Behind Bars, a book by Alim Braxton and Mark Katz.

Braxton, born Michael Jerome Jackson on June 1, 1974, has been in prison since he was 19 years old, incarcerated more than a quarter-century of that time on North Carolina’s death row. His co-author, Katz, is a music professor at UNC-Chapel Hill who started the Carolina Hip Hop Institute in the summer of 2019.

Braxton, who chose the Muslim name Alim in prison, read a newspaper story about the program and wrote a letter to Katz in August 2019 asking for help. Rap music had been a big part of Braxton’s life, even before prison. He had been writing and recording lyrics over the phone but was not pleased with the sound quality.

Let’s get this out of the way: Braxton killed three people and robbed two others. He accepts responsibility and apologizes for killing Emmanuel Ogauyo, Donald Bryant and Dwayne Caldwell, as he does for robbing Susan Indula and Lindanette Walker.

“I know my situation may seem despairing and perhaps unlike anyone you’ve worked with before, but despite the circumstances I still have faith and I still have a dream, and I believe that with the right sound and someone who knows what to do with my vocals I can accomplish something BIG!” Braxton wrote to Katz, who held on to the letter for a month.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to offer my help,” Katz writes in the preface to the book. “I didn’t know him, and after all, this request was coming from a convicted murderer.” He decided to respond anyway.

“I was intrigued by his passion. I also saw an earnestness is his neatly handwritten letter that amplified the sincerity of his words,” Katz writes.

That led to a relationship and the exchange of many letters to build a team of people who worked with Braxton to record his first album — the first-ever recorded from death row — and to this book.

“It wasn’t long into our correspondence that I came to believe that Alim’s letters were worth preserving and making public, and that is what spurred me to suggest the possibility of a book,” Katz writes. “Earlier in my career, I had spent many hours in archives reading correspondence by famous musicians. I would count myself lucky anytime I found a single paragraph of interest out of a batch of letters. That is not the case with Alim’s letters.”

Braxton’s blunt but colorful accounts of how he got to prison and his life inside it are contemplative and eye-opening. He gives readers a glimpse of the inmate hierarchy, the violence, the loss of dignity, privacy and rights, the code of survival and his path to redemption, love, a wife and even hope for the future despite his circumstances.

His rap, which is interspersed with the narrative, is personal and wide-ranging. His lyrics offer views of the George Floyd protests, COVID, pop culture and much more. In telling his story, Braxton wants to make sure that the stories of others — those on death row who maintain their innocence and have cases he believes involve wrongful convictions — are lifted up with his rap.

Braxton grew up in a rough-and-tumble Raleigh neighborhood about 2 miles from Central Prison. There are times he dreams of nearby places he visited as a boy or the rolling Dix Park across the busy boulevard from the prison cell “the size of a bathroom” he now lives in.

“I have fond memories of my childhood growing up in Raleigh, but as I wrote in my song, ‘Unremarkable,’ it’s also where I learned ‘to thug it properly.’ Stealing, fighting and drinking were rites of passage in my neighborhood,” Braxton writes. “My descent into crime didn’t happen overnight. I got my feet wet shoplifting around the age of 11. By the time I was 16 I had gone to prison for two months for stealing a car. I soaked up more criminal knowledge while inside, and after my release, the front gate became a revolving door, with three dozen arrests and three additional stints in prison.”

In vivid detail, Braxton goes on to describe his first time with a gun, his move from a pistol to a sawed-off shotgun, the first time he killed a person, and the almost out-of-body experience he had during those times. It was as if he was playing a role in a movie or a TV show, he wrote. He says the adage “the decisions you make today determine your tomorrow” rolls around in his head, especially when he thinks about the 1993 robbery spree where he claimed the lives of two people.

“Why didn’t I just leave at some point during that February night in 1993?” Braxton writes. “The truth is that I was afraid that I would look weak. I know now that it’s not weak to walk away from something you don’t want to be involved in. . . . Not walking away was a pivotal decision that changed the course of my life forever.”

Not walking away from a conflict in prison is what landed him on death row. He had been spared the death penalty and given two life sentences plus 110 years for the 1993 robbery-turned-kidnapping-turned-murder. Then he stabbed a fellow inmate to death.

Although North Carolina has had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since 2006 while lawsuits make their way through the courts, the possibility of executions starting again looms.

“The true reality of life on Death Row is that every day is a life of fear, regret and humiliation . . . ,” Braxton wrote in a newspaper letter to the editor published in the book. “I live every day with the fear of standing before my God and accounting for my deeds.”  PS

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

Tea Leaf Astrologer

Tea Leaf Astrologer


(May 21 – June 20)

They say the longest trek a soul can take is the one between the head and heart. While this is doubly true for you, Gemini, suffice it to say that the Venus Cazimi on June 4 is going to expedite your journey. While you’re used to staying camped out in the frenzied chambers of your own mind, get ready for a month that’s all about feeling. Despite past experiences, being vulnerable with others is not, in fact, your kryptonite. Bon voyage!

Tea leaf “fortunes” for the rest of you:

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Easy does it.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

Two words: airplane mode.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Take your vitamins.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

Don’t pick the scab.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

There’s treasure to be found.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Listen for what’s behind the words.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Give yourself some grace.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

Breathe into your belly.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

It’s going to be dicey.

Aries (March 21 – April 19) 

Hit the pause button.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Just walk away.  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.

PinePitch June 2024

PinePitch June 2024

Dream Sequence

Gary Taylor Dance journeys to an alternate universe of color, dance and infinite possibilities in its three-act production of “Cirque Dreams & Illusions” at BPAC’s Owens Auditorium, 3395 Airport Road, Pinehurst, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 2. Also on June 1 at 2 p.m., “Cirque Dreams Jr.” highlights the PK Dance and Elementary Dance Studio programs. For ticketing and information visit www.ticketmesandhills.com or go to www.taylordance.org.

Rushing Waters by Kathy Petz

Judge and Jury

The Artists League of the Sandhills is holding a reception for its judged exhibit and sale “Art to Appreciate” on Friday, June 7, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Artists League of the Sandhills, 129 Exchange St., Aberdeen. The show will hang through June 28. For information go to www.artistleague.org.

U.S. Open Showcase

The village of Pinehurst and the United States Golf Association have teamed to create the U.S. Open Showcase at Tufts Park during the week of the championship. There will be a 9 x 12 foot LED screen, a golf simulator, putting green and live streaming of the tournament for those hoping to enjoy the competition outside the gates. Parking in the business district on the street and in the Village Green parking lot will be available, up to a three-hour limit. After 5 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday, visitors should park at Cannon Park, where complimentary shuttles will transport guests to and from the Village Green. Parking at Cannon Park prior to 5 p.m. requires a permit. The roads in the village center will remain open during the day, with limited closures on Wednesday and Saturday evenings to accommodate scheduled events. During June 10-16 the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages will be allowed in the village’s temporary social district. Space is limited for the walking tours and the history presentation at the Tufts Archives. Preregister at www.vopnc.org.

Schedule of Events

Monday, June 10

  • 10 a.m. SLAM Fitness Class

Tuesday, June 11

  • 8 a.m. Yoga in the Park
  • 10 a.m. Historical Walking Tour
  • 1 p.m. Paint by Number in the Park
  • 8 p.m. Movie in the Park: The Greatest Game Ever Played

Wednesday, June 12

  • 8 a.m. Yoga in the Park
  • 10 a.m. SLAM Fitness Class
  • 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Farmers Market
  • 5 p.m. History of Pinehurst presentation in the Tufts Archives
  • 7 p.m. Military Appreciation Night and Concert with a pipe and drum ensemble, military video tribute, the 82nd Airborne Military Chorus and the Sand Band.

Thursday, June 13

  • 8 a.m. Yoga in the Park
  • 10 a.m. Historical Walking Tour
  • 1 p.m. Paint by Number in the Park
  • 8 p.m. Music with Rock It Productions

Friday, June 14

  • 8 a.m. Yoga in the Park
  • 1 p.m. Live Music
  • 8 p.m. Whiskey Pines Concert

Saturday, June 15

  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Farmers Market
  • 8 p.m. Parks Brothers Band Concert

Sunday, June 16

  • 9 a.m. Golf Conditioning Exercises

USGA/Chris Keane

In Case You Haven’t Heard

The United States Open Championship will be conducted on Pinehurst’s storied No. 2 course the week of June 10-16. The championship rounds will be June 13-16. It’s our national championship, folks. If you need to know anything else visit www.vopnc.org or www.usopen.com.

Jazz It Up

The Sandhills Community College Jazz Band will hold its summer concert featuring the sounds of Henry Mancini and Duke Ellington on Monday, June 17, at 6:30 p.m. at SCC, 3395 Airport Road, Pinehurst. For more information call (910) 315-6900.

Ashley Lovegrove and Barbara Baker’s By Golly

Get a Jump on It

The North Carolina Hunter Jumper Association’s annual show begins on Monday, June 24, and continues through Sunday, June 30, at the Carolina Horse Park, 2814 Montrose Road, Raeford. For information go to www.carolinahorsepark.com.

Founding Father

Enjoy a virtual conversation with Eric Weiner, the author of Ben & Me: In Search of a Founder’s Formula for a Long and Useful Life, at The Country Bookshop, 140 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines, on Tuesday, June 25 at 1 p.m. For information visit www.ticketmesandhills.com.

Take a Load Off

The village of Pinehurst, the Pinehurst Business Partners and the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have collaborated to create “Rock the Village.” This art installation celebrates the return of the U.S. Open to Pinehurst No. 2 and features 48 sponsored rocking chairs positioned in the village and painted by local artists. Proceeds benefit the First Tee – Sandhills. Rock on. For more information go to www.rockthevillage.com.

Photograph by Starworks

Star Gazing

The Starworks gallery, 100 Russell Drive, Star, opens its Craft Invitational, featuring some of the region’s most talented craft artists encompassing glass, ceramics, metal, wood and fiber, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 8. The cost is $5. If you want a sneak peek there is a preview reception on Friday, June 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets for the early look are $25. For more information go to www.starworksnc.org.

Down to the Bones

Join Sara E. Johnson to discuss her new novel The Hungry Bones on Wednesday, June 19, at 6 p.m., at The Country Bookshop, 140 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines. A human skeleton, believed to be the bones of a Chinese gold miner, has been exhumed in a quaint former gold rush town in New Zealand. Johnson’s protagonist, Alexa Glock, is called in to examine the teeth and the secrets they contain. She didn’t expect to discover a hole in the skull. When another skeleton is unearthed nearby and also shows evidence of a violent death, Alexa digs into both cases. The secrets she uncovers make her dangerously unpopular with those who want to keep the past buried. Reserve your spot at ticketmesandhills.com.

Lumbee Film Festival

The sixth annual Lumbee Film Festival begins during Lumbee Homecoming at 12 p.m. Friday, July 5, and continues on Saturday, July 6, at the Thomas School of Business Auditorium, 1 University Drive, Pembroke. The festival showcases original new films made by Native Americans, Indigenous filmmakers and American Indians, especially members of the Lumbee Tribe living in North Carolina and across the United States. For questions email dan@cucalorus.org or kim@kimpevia.org.

Great Balls of Fire

After he played Jerry Lee Lewis in the musical Million Dollar Quartet, the Sandhills Repertory Theatre brings Jason Cohen and his portrayal of The Killer to the Sunrise Theater, 250 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines for two shows on Saturday, June 1, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. “Jerry Lee Lewis & Friends” features the songs of Lewis and his contemporaries Elvis, Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly. Tickets are $36. For further information call (910) 420-2549 or go to www.sunrisetheater.com.

The Livin’ Is Easy

The town of Vass is hosting a summer festival with live music, vendors and plenty of food on Saturday, June 8, on Seaboard Street in Vass. For information call (910) 245-4677 or go to www.townofvassnc.gov.



Easy Listening

But the whip-poor-will is harder to spot

By Susan Campbell

If you live adjacent to wet woods well away from the city, I am betting that you have been treated to a loud, repetitive call at dusk — probably for some weeks now. The raucous, distinct vocalizations most likely originate from a medium-sized, extremely well camouflaged bird. Not surprisingly, the endless three-syllable chants of “whip poor will” are made by the Eastern whip-poor-will. But make no mistake: This bird is as hard to find as it is easy to hear. Its mottled gray, brown and white plumage makes it virtually invisible either perched on a low branch or, as it does more often, sitting on the forest floor.

Should you scare up one of these birds or catch a glimpse at dawn or dusk, you will see that little about their plumage really stands out. Whip-poor-wills have a distinct white throat patch as well as pale coloring on the corners of the tail but otherwise are quite dull. The outer tail patches on males are white but buff-colored on the females — otherwise they are identical. One other important difference is that only the males do the calling.

In early spring, whip-poor-wills make their way north from winter locations ranging from Central America to perhaps as far north as the Gulf Coast. Their overland route, which they cover at night, brings them up through the Southeastern states quite early in the season but, by the time they arrive, larger insects have already taken flight. This is critical given the fact that they dine solely on bugs. Their huge mouths scoop up a variety of invertebrates, including moths, beetles, grasshoppers, fireflies, and even wasps and bees. They are known to feed all night long if there is a full moon. Whip-poor-wills are versatile hunters, searching for prey items in leaf litter or, at times, rotting wood.

Because they spend most of their time flying in the forest, whip-poor-wills require open terrain like the open pine woodlands of the Sandhills region. Nests are simple scrapes on the ground made by females who typically lay two marbled eggs that are amazingly camouflaged in the leaf littler. Although it is the female who incubates, the male may perform a convincing distraction display at the nest site to lure would-be predators away. It is curious to note that nesting may be delayed so that hatching coincides with the full moon when the parents can spend more of the night hunting insects for their growing family. Young whip-poor-wills will move from the nest after hatching, perhaps to avoid predation.

Unfortunately in the East, many whip-poor-will populations have been in decline due to habitat loss. Woodlands continue to be replaced by both agriculture and, even more so, housing developments. Human activity has significantly reduced potential territories here in central North Carolina. But where they hang on, their summertime chorus rings loud and clear.  PS

Susan Campbell would love to hear from you. Feel free to send questions or wildlife observations to susan@ncaves.com.



A Dann for All Seasons

And a missing face in the crowd

By Bill Fields

Thousands of people will be in Pinehurst for the 124th U.S. Open. I’m going to miss someone who won’t be there.

I saw Michael Dann for the last time in 2014 during the back-to-back Pinehurst Opens. We played golf at Pine Needles, the final round of what had to be hundreds together, most of them in the 1970s when I was a teenager, he a young man, two golf nuts on a search for the secret.

His was the lower score that June day, as it usually was, although there was one notable exception in the late ’70s when we were playing at Hyland Hills in qualifying for the town amateur. I came to the 18th tee three under, needing a par to break 70 for the first time. In those days there was a bunker behind the 18th green. Pumped up, I found it with my approach and had to get up-and-down for 69. When my sand shot trickled into the hole for a birdie, Michael was happier than I was. I don’t have the scorecard or the ball from that day but can still hear him, my gallery of one, shouting, “William Henderson!” as he liked to do.

Despite a 10-year age difference, Michael was one of my best friends in those days — buddy, sounding board, mentor. We clicked from the start. I met him in 1973 when he was a volunteer instructor for Recreation Department golf lessons at the Campbell House field. I could get the ball airborne in a group of mostly rank beginners, and soon Michael and I were playing and practicing together.

We played in the heat and the cold. Once, arriving at Foxfire for a frigid one-day event, I wondered why there was a roll of Saran Wrap in Michael’s trunk. “For our feet,” he said. They stayed warm, if a bit sweaty. When Michael and Jeff Burey played a 108-hole charity marathon for National Golf Day in 1978, Mike packed a jar of pickle juice in case he started cramping on the hot summer day.

Michael had a poor man’s Hale Irwin action — a steeper plane on the way down than going back — that was grooved from years of playing a lot. He shot in the low- to mid-70s plenty of times we played, so it was no surprise when he averaged 76.50 for the six-round fundraiser at Pinehurst.

He was a writer-photographer at Golf World magazine in the 1970s, and even though he was just in his 20s, had a seasoned background in the game. His father, Marshall, had been a sportswriter in Detroit before becoming the executive director of the Western Golf Association in 1960, a post he held for 28 years. Michael grew up in the Chicago suburbs and studied journalism at the University of Illinois, where he was on the golf team. His dad ran the Western Open as part of his duties, so it made sense that the son did his master’s thesis on “Preparation and Operation of a Major Professional Golf Tournament.”

When he became director of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Michael had a chance to follow in Marshall’s footsteps and run the 1981 Hall of Fame Tournament. Because of a lack of sponsorship dollars, the event was in jeopardy until a couple of months prior to the September dates. When they had rustled up enough money to make it happen, Michael hired me, fresh out of UNC, to handle public relations. Michael and I didn’t get to play much golf in that period, but we had plenty of laughs. You are forgiven if you don’t recall that Morris Hatalsky was our champion.

Michael and his wife, Dianne, had two sons and a daughter. From 1992 until his unexpected death in July of 2014, at 65, he worked at the Carolinas Golf Association as director of course rating and handicapping. It was a long title that simply meant many folks around the two states had the opportunity to spend time around him, whose kindness, wit and love of golf made him hard to forget.

His friends and colleagues at the CGA play their annual staff tournament, The Dann Cup, in his honor, and many of us think of him often.  PS

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