Category Archives: Local Paragons

Local Paragons VIII: Krankies Coffee

Krankies Coffee is located at 211 East Third Street in Downtown Winston Salem, North Carolina (though there is a secondary location on Reynolda Road). Stocking, selling and re-selling specialty, high quality coffees, Krankies keeps Winston Salem honest about local brews and “support[s] farmers that forgo industrial agricultural and processing practices for lower impact methods that support soil health.”

Local Color: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3                    Food/drink: <3 <3 <3


  The door was propped open, allowing the crisp spring air to accompany Lucy into the dark coffee house where she had decided to take her mid-morning planning session. It was further down Fourth Street than Camino, but she doubted that Saul would be at Krankies this time of day and what she wanted right now was to be alone.

“What can I get for you?” the slightly bohemian barista slunk behind the counter and looked at Lucy through half closed eyelids.

“Americano,” she said. Today she would keep it simple.

“Right on,” he said slurring the two syllables into one mumbled monosyllabic response. Lucy paid with a five, then stuffed her change in her pocket and headed toward the back. Though the coffeehouse had been under construction for months, the room was taking on a nice shape, and perfect for getting work done—which is what Lucy needed to do.

She had been working for over an hour when the woman approached her asking simply, “May I borrow this chair, sweetheart?”

Lucy looked around and noticed the room had filled, but the woman clearly just wanted a place to read. Lucy nodded, then went back to her work as the woman took a seat, her long, flowing skirt settling around her ankles as she settled in to read. Purple fabric stood out against the wooden chairs, the peacock feather motif made Lucy feel as though a dozen eyes were probing at her as she worked. She tried not to look at the striking woman, but her gaze kept wandering to the other end of the small table. Her wrists were covered in silver bangles, resting solidly against her soft, wrinkled skin. The peasant blouse she wore tied in the front, and flowed as easily as her skirt, but this was nothing compared to her hair. Not just grey, but a brilliant silver, it fell in a silky cascade from the top of her skull all the way down her back so that she was almost but not quite sitting on it.

“You look like you need to talk,” the woman’s voice interrupted Lucy’s thoughts again.

“I beg your pardon?” Lucy looked at her, blushing and hoping the other woman hadn’t noticed her staring.

“You’ve been looking at the same page in your notebook even before I sat down. Something else must be on your mind.” Her book was still open, but she studied Lucy with eyes that nearly took up her entire face.

“I suppose,” Lucy began, thinking as she spoke. “I suppose I do have a lot on my mind, but I’m not really sure I’m ready to talk about it. Honestly, I came here so I wouldn’t have to talk about it.” She’d been avoiding Chris, and though she’d gone out with Saul once this week she was exhausted.

“Fair enough,” the woman nodded as she spoke. “But the offer is open if you change your mind.” And she went back to her book.

Lucy tried to concentrate on her own work.

“You know the last time I traveled overseas I took this same book with me. Didn’t get very far that time either.” The woman shut the book firmly. “I’m Rebekah.”

“Lucy,” she turned in her chair, resigning herself to the conversation and almost relieved. “Did you say you were traveling overseas?”

“Yes,” Rebekah nodded, the long slivery earrings jangling as she nodded her head. “I just got back from my last pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem?” Lucy’s brow lifted, impressed. “That sounds pretty much amazing.”

“Have you been?”

“To Jerusalem?” Lucy asked. Rebekah nodded, and Lucy shook her head. “Not me. I’ve never been anywhere.”

“You’re young,” Rebekah said, patting her hand. “You have plenty of time to see things like the Western Wall where my people gather each day to pray, swarming together as if of one mind, asking Yahweh to heal our troubled world.”

“That’s lovely,” Lucy said. “And haunting. It makes my life seem so insignificant—petty even.”

“No one’s life is petty, Lucy, but how you live it. Now that’s where you start feeling alive. And faith, real faith, has a lot to do with that.” Rebekah smiled, taking a sip of her coffee, then looking down into it she pursed her lips. “It’s kind of like this coffee. Everyone thinks Starbucks is the real deal when it comes to coffee, but it’s really too commercialized to be authentic anymore. It holds a shadow of what it once was. Don’t get me wrong, Lucy. Starbucks still tastes good, but it is too sugary and marked up to be real. Faith, true faith, is like coffee from a local place—authentic and earthy; you order a shot of espresso here and you feel something. It’s pressed straight and not watered down or sugared up. That’s what real faith is like. An authentic espresso is so strong it keeps you awake at night, makes your heart palpitate, and widens your eyes. Faith should do the same.”Lucy looked down at her espresso; the foam was circling the top of the cup.

“I can’t have that kind of faith,” Lucy said quietly. “My—friend—Saul, you know, we’ve had similar conversations. But I just, well I just can’t.”

Rebekah pushed up the sleeves of her peasant blouse and crossed her arms over her chest. She rested her hands on the table to study Lucy.

“God doesn’t, well, he doesn’t care about us—well at least not about me.”

“Where did you get a notion like that from, darlin’?” Rebekah looked genuinely concerned. Lucy swirled the espresso in her drink.

Lucy thought it was strange that Rebekah didn’t ask about Saul. She didn’t really want Rebekah to ask about Saul. She didn’t really want to talk at all.

“That’s alright,” Rebekah said. “You don’t have to say anything. But I want you to know how wrong you are—people don’t want to hear that, but God does love you, honey. Just remember that whatever happened to make you think otherwise is, well, is just a lie.”

Blinking, Lucy opened and closed her mouth, unable to respond.

“There I go again, my bluntness can be somewhat—“

“No, no,” Lucy shook her head. “I’m not of-offended. I just, I don’t really know what to say, Rebekah. I don’t, well you see, I don’t even know you.”

“Understandable,” she looked at her watch. Lucy noticed it was vintage Betty Boop. “How about we meet again? Let’s say—West End Café? In a week? Here’s my card.” She slid it across the table.

Lucy picked it up, studied it and then looked at Rebekah again. Nothing but sincerity shone back from her beautifully aged eyes.

“Okay,” she said, nodding her head. “Does 11:30 work for you?”

  

Local Paragons VII: The Stocked Pot & Co.

The Stocked Pot & Co. is a cooking school and catering (by Simple Elegance) company located on Jonestown Road in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  ith extensive experience and wide training, the company is renowned for its culinary expertise. My experience at The Stocked Pot couldn’t have been better. I took a class through Amazon Local (they also offer deals through Living Social and Groupon). The class I signed up for was centered on Julia Child’s cooking and the art of sautéing. The chef was knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining and the staff was welcoming and professional. I was particularly impressed by the well rounded knowledge not only of cooking but of the history, nomenclature, motivation and reasoning behind the cookware, styles and reasoning in each dish the chef prepared. This allowed me to learn not only about the way to cook but why certain dishes cooked the way they did—which is important to me. The class I took was a demonstration class and lasted about 2.5 hours and the food was phenomenal. There are other classes—some which are more hands on—on a wide variety of food preparation styles and cooking techniques. I would highly recommend the cooking classes to anyone and would definitely consider them at the top of my catering list given the outcome of the dishes prepared during class.

Food: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3                                                     Local Color: <3 <3 <3

Learning opportunities: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3


Lucy walked into The Stocked Pot fifteen minutes early. The class was scheduled to start at 6:30, but she wanted to be sure she had arrived and was settled before her client arrived. While normally they chose a caterer by more conventional methods, her client had wanted to take this cooking class to vet the possible candidates. Lucy had agreed. After all, the clients were paying and she would get a good meal out of it.

Lucy settled in at a table directly in front of the demonstration area, a small mock kitchen with brightly colored backsplash that greeted her with the effigy “Cooking is fun”.

“Lucy!” the high nosed, nasal voice sounded loud in the small area, but Lucy forced a smile to her face as she stood to greet her client.

“Hello, Janie,” she said, reaching out to shake the other woman’s hand. Janie shook brusquely then pulled her long, dark curls back into a low, loose ponytail at the base of her neck.

“It’s warm today, isn’t it? I’m burning up. This place is cute. I hope the food is as good.”

“I’ve heard good things about it,” Lucy nodded and settled herself back in her seat. “But I certainly hope it’s what you are looking for. I know how important—“

“The food is absolutely essential at this party. After all Monique is retiring and she was one of the best chefs the city ever knew.”

“I understand,” Lucy said. “Would you like some water or tea?”

“Tea, but only if it’s sweet.”

“I’ll get it,” Lucy stood and walked over to the drink station at the back of the long room. As the ice rushed into the glasses, breaking the silence of the room, she pulled in a breath and tried to clear her mind. Tonight was about Janie, but she couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the look on Chris’s face when she took the call from Silas last Sunday. She’d been out with Silas twice since then—and Chris hadn’t met her for coffee as he usually did. The acute sense of loss suffocated her.

“Excuse me,” the voice interrupted her thoughts. “Do you mind?” Lucy looked behind her and saw that several people were waiting to get drinks.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, then quickly hurried back to her seat.

Janie began to talk. And talk. And talk.

Lucy tried to listen, but her head had begun to ache and nothing seemed to get her attention until the chef got to the front and began to speak. Even then, she didn’t take notes.

Janie, on the other hand, was completely zoned in on everything he had to say. The back of her recipe handouts were filled with notes, and her hand was up in the air with questions every time the chef stopped to take a breath. When she wasn’t speaking to the chef, she was chatting with the people at the table. The smile never left her face, and her nasal laugh filled the small area more than once in her enthusiasm.

“Oh my gosh, Lucy,” Janie exclaimed when the plate of food was settled before them at the end of class. “Is this chicken not to die for? I can’t believe all these sauces—and he fixed all this while talking to us?” She paused to stuff a bit in her mouth, her eyes rolling up to the ceiling as she reveled in gastronomic ecstasy. “Can you imagine what he can do if he’s focused solely on the food?”

“Hmm,” Lucy took a bite and nodded. “So what do you think? Do you want to hire them?”

“Absolutely,” Janie’s plate was nearly empty. Lucy’s stood nearly untouched. “I can’t believe the juiciness. My chicken almost always comes out dry.”

“Great,” Lucy nodded and forced herself to eat the rest of the food—which was phenomenal; if only her mind hadn’t been so preoccupied she might have actually enjoyed the meal. As it was, all she could think about was her growing desire to spend more time with Silas, but how sick it made her that it seemed to be costing her friendship with Chris.

Katie was no help either. It wasn’t something she could really talk about with Chris’s twin sister—it wasn’t really fair to either of them. Lucy’s head pounded.

“Thanks for coming with me,” Janie said, standing from the table. Lucy reached over and took the empty plate from her, stacking it on top of her own.

“Happy to,” Lucy said. “I’m glad it worked out for you.”

Janie nodded, then headed for the door. Lucy threw away their trash, thanked the chef and then followed. She felt bad that she hadn’t been more enthusiastic, but as she started her car she knew she’d make it up to them given the money they would spend in catering when she called later to set up the event later in the week. Her guilt quickly cranked into relief as she started her car and headed for home.

But she didn’t get far.  Having only driven a couple of miles, her car began to sputter, then it gave a great jerk. Lucy yelped as the car heaved and she was barely able to pull into a dark BB&T parking lot before her car gave one final hiss, then died. All she was left with was the silence.

Lucy looked down at her phone, the only light left in this abandoned place. She only had about 15% of her battery left, but lately 15% was not really 15% and there was no telling when it would shut off on her. Knowing that Chris was her best option, since he was only a few miles away, she dialed and hoped he picked up the phone before her phone died.

As the dial back tone shifted, Lucy got her second big shock of the night as a woman’s voice floated through the air waves and into her ear.

“Hello?”

“Um,” Lucy was at a loss.

“Hello?” The woman’s voice said again.

“I’m, uh, looking for Chris,” Lucy stuttered.

“He’s indisposed. Can I help?”

“Um,” Lucy’s brain swirled. “No, I guess not. I guess I’ll just call back later.”

“Okay.” Lucy could hear a muffled voice in the background, she presumed it was Chris but though the woman’s voice was faint she could clearly hear her response. “Nothing. It was a wrong number.” Then the line went dead.

Lucy stared at her phone in disbelief. Clearly she had been wrong. Chris didn’t have feelings for her—he’d apparently been…well, she didn’t have time to think about that now. Nor did she have time to figure out why her eyes smarted with tears. She was stranded in a dark parking lot, and she was down to 12%. Maybe TJ could help. She dialed, but it went straight to voicemail. Lucy hung up quickly, not surprised. Feeling frantic, Lucy called Katie—she knew Katie couldn’t help, being an hour away, but hearing her voice might help her feel less panicky. After three battery draining rings, she was left with Katie’s voicemail. This time Lucy left a message, trying to control the panic in her voice, but knowing that with her friend the emotion was clearer despite her rambling.

Lucy looked at her phone, despairing the draining percentage dialed the only other number she could think of.

He picked up on the first ring.

“Hello?”

“Silas,” she felt like a small child, but at the moment she was so relieved. “My car broke down and none of my friends are answering their phones. I—I just—“

“Where are you Luce? I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Lucy breathed a sigh of relief and told him where to find her. He was across town, but would be there soon. She hung up the phone and leaned her head against the seat. The silence didn’t feel quiet as choking now as she waited.

Her phone rang. She looked down at the caller ID, surprised that the device still held a charge—it was Chris. Part of her wanted to ignore it, but that felt juvenile, so she answered.

“Hi, Chris.”

“Lucy. What on earth is wrong? I got a frantic call from Katie saying something about you being stranded somewhere and she can’t get there. She said you weren’t answering your phone. Where are you?”

Lucy looked at her phone, but she didn’t see any missed calls.

“My phone is dying. It must not have picked up Katie’s calls,” Lucy said. “My car broke down. I’m—“

“Where are you?” he insisted. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“Don’t worry about me,” Lucy insisted. “I know you’re busy.” She could still hear the woman’s voice ringing in her ears.

“Lucy where are you?” she could hear the impatience in his voice.

“I’m–“she yelped as a knock on her window interrupted her speech.

“Lucy! What happened!” Chris’s voice was boarding on panic now, but Lucy’s heart had settled firmly back in her chest as she stared into Silas’ winning, warm gaze.

“I’m—“ but she didn’t get to finish. Her phone died. She stared down at the dark screen, wondering what she should do next. Silas waved at her again, so she pushed thoughts of Chris aside for the moment and opened the door.

“One knight in shining armor at your service,” Silas said, bowing deeply at her. Lucy smiled, and swallowed the fear as she stared at the motorcycle parked next to her car. At least she wouldn’t have to hitchhike home—but in retrospect, as she stared down the monstrous machine, perhaps that would have been preferable.

Local Paragons VI: Twin City Stage (Pride and Prejudice)

Twin City Stage, formerly known as the Little Theatre of Winston Salem, is the longest running professional theatre in the triad. It was founded in 1935 and puts on a number of quality productions per year. These productions are affordable, well produced, and worth the time you will invest to see them. Winston Salem is well known for being the center for arts and culture in the triad, and Twin City Stage lives up to that reputation.

Three of the six in attendance. Unfortunately, the kind lady who took the photo got more thumb than people. This was all I could salvage

Twin City Stage: <3 <3 <3 <3                     Pride and Prejudice: <3 <3 <3 <3


Lucy settled into the plush red seat. She crossed on leg over the other, paused, shifted, then crossed the other leg so she was leaning away from the unfamiliar eighty year old many hacking into a handkerchief on her right.

“So he took you to church on your first date?”

Lucy crossed her arms over her chest, then uncrossed them and flipped through the program. She didn’t look at him as she spoke.

“Not to church, Chris. Geeze, you make it sound like he’s some kind of monk or something,” her words were as stiff and straight as her back. “It was the St. Phillip’s learning center at Old Salem. We went inside the church there and read some of the stories of—“

“Yeah, you already told me all that. But seriously Luce the guy sound kind of kookie,” he twirled his finger around his ear like a third grader.  ucy shut the program and stared intently at the front cover, studying the white lettering “Twin City Stage Presents” as if it were written in French or Portuguese.

“I don’t think so, Chris. He was actually pretty authentic. I could tell he really believe in this kind of…”

“Fanaticism?”

“Forget it,” Lucy opened the booklet again and started reading. “I don’t know why I bother. So what do you think? Is it more natural to have fruit or flowers growing out of the head?” She leaned the program toward him for inspection. Chris looked over the Austen quote and laughed. He shook his head.

“I think you’re going to turn into a fruitcake if you don’t start growing some sense soon.”

Lucy shut the program again, folded it in half and smacked him across the arm. Twice.

“You two are an awfully sweet couple,” the man next to her wheezed as she settled the program back into her lap. “Why I remember when my Genevieve and I used to tease each other just like that. Come to think of it, she still has to knock me upside the skull when I need some sense thumped into me. Don’t give up on your young fellow there. We’re all just a bunch of numskulls without pretty little things to knock sense into us.”

Lucy’s eyes widened and she glanced at Chris to see if he’d heard. He was busy studying his phone.

“Oh no,” Lucy managed when the man quit coughing again. “We’re not, actually, I mean, we’re just good friends but I—“

“Friends?” The man’s white bushy eyebrows rose. “That’s some kind of friend to take you to Pride and Prejudice on Valentine’s weekend?”

Lucy didn’t miss the emphasis on the word friend.

“I know,” she could feel the heat in her cheeks. “He’s suffering though it because he knows how much I love the play and my sister had to cancel because one of her kids has the flu and it’s my birthday you see,” Lucy trailed off unsure why she felt the need to justify herself to this stranger. “Anyway we’re just—“

“Friends, yes, so you’ve said,” the man nodded his head, but the twinkle in his eye told Lucy he didn’t believe her. She opened her moth to speak again but he beat her to it. “You know this has been my wife’s favorite book since she was a teenager. She told me once that before it was published, Austen called it First Impressions. Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned there for you, my dear?”

The lights blinked on and off indicating the performance was getting ready to start. The man leaned away and took his wife’s hand.

Lucy too shifted in her seat, but she was, if possible, less comfortable than before. She fidgeted with the program as the Twin City Stage prepared to perform Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as adapted by Jon Jory.

“That’s total crap!” Chris said when the lights came up an hour and a half later at intermission.

“What?” Lucy looked at him, startled. “I thought they were doing an excellent job—especially Mr. Bennet. Michael Burke’s timing has been almost perfect in delivering lines to achieve a kind of Austenian dramatic humor that really captures the essence of the time period. And Johanna Beach makes an excellent Elizabeth Bennet. Her elocution is nearly perfect and she has a lot of talent for one so—“

“Not the acting,” Chris wove his hands in and out of the air. “The story—how did she not know he was into her?”

“How did who not know?”

“Elizabeth. It’s so obvious.”

Lucy shrugged. “Only if you’re completely self-absorbed.”

“What do you mean?” he turned on her.

“If you’re completely focused on yourself like Miss Bingley—where your goal is to make yourself more attractive then you’ll see yourself as attractive to everyone even if you’re not. If that’s not your primary objective,” she shrugged again. “And you’ve even been scorned and ignored by that person or type of person, even ‘obvious’ attraction becomes easily explained as something else in your mind.”

Chris considered this a minute. “I guess I see your point. I still think she should have seen it coming though. Guys aren’t that hard to figure out.”

“More so than you think,” Lucy murmured.

The coughing beside Lucy seemed particularly loud at that moment, but Lucy ignored it.

“Other than Elizabeth’s, well prejudice against Darcy, are you finding the story at least  a little interesting? Not regretting coming are you?”

“It’s not bad.” Chris settled back against the red cushion. “I enjoy hanging out with you anyway.

“The Twin City Stage does a lot of really great productions.” Lucy felt like she was babbling, but she was trying to put the image of the twinkle in the old man’s eye out of her mind. “I saw they are doing Mary Poppins next month.”

“It’s like they know you,” Chris laughed. “Does Katie know?”

Lucy laughed. “I have to check my schedule. It would be a fun one to go see with her if we could work it out. Then they’re doing Anne of Green Gables in May.”

“They’re still auditioning for that one,” Chris said.

“Somehow I don’t think I quite have the look they’re going for,” she opened the booklet again and laughed as she pointed out the little red headed Canadian girl.

“Oh who knows? Maybe you’ll have so much talent they’ll do a write in role for a beautiful Asian woman?”

The lights blinked on and off and the din increased as people returned to their seats and then quieted, giving Lucy reprieve from having to respond as the play resumed for its final hour of performance.

When the lights came up again, Lucy’s smile filled her face.

“How many stars?” Chris asked.

“Four,” she said. “I’d give it five, but it dragged a tiny bit in a couple of places—especially when it came to the Wickham plotline. I don’t know if it was the actor or the way it was adapted, but that should have been much more exciting and it fell a little flat. The adaptation cut out Georgiana altogether. That made me sad. Overall though, it was a wonderful performance.”

“Well, you’re practically glowing, so the fifth star isn’t lost,” he said as they made their way through the crushing crowd to the lobby. “You just hijacked it, I guess.” People were streaming past them on their way to the exit, but Chris steered them to the side wall, where they waited for the lobby to clear out.

“Thanks for coming with me,” Lucy turned toward him. “It really meant a lot to me.”

Chris held her gaze, reaching down to push her hair from her face. He rested his hand on her shoulder.

“Of course,” his voice was lower than usual. “Happy Birthday, Lucy.”

She could feel the warmth in his hand, almost as if it was spreading and increasing as it slid from her shoulder to her upper arm. For a moment, she felt off balance. She thought his head was coming closer to her’s, leaning down, but before she could decide if what was about to happen was really about to happen her phone—still clutched in her hand from having turned it back on after the show—buzzed and then rang. Loudly.

Lucy jumped.

Chris’s hand fell to his side and he leaned up against the wall.

“It’s Saul,” she said, looking at the number. She glanced at Chris, who was looking up at the ceiling, then she looked back at the phone when he didn’t say anything. Lucy sighed, then hit accept. “Hey Saul,” she said, walking way, leaving Chris with his arms crossed over his chest, stoically staring at the exit.

Local Paragons V: Old Salem St. Phillip’s Learning Center

Old Salem is a beautiful living museum and probably one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Winston Salem. I can’t even count the number of times I have been to this living museum myself having lived so long in this city, but I can say that every time I visit I learn something new. The St. Phillip’s learning center is a gem I discovered in adulthood. While I may have visited it as a child, I don’t recall it. It isn’t on the regular tour path, so when I discovered it I felt more enlightened than I ever had about our city’s history and past—particularly with regard to diversity and civil liberties.

Local Color:  <3 <3 <3 <3 <3                    Learning Opportunities: <3 <3 <3 <3

Food: N/A


“Faith isn’t just about following a bunch of rules.”

“Then what is it about?” The challenge had escaped Lucy before she even knew what she had said. It hung in the air between them.

Saul looked at her from across the breakfast table. Lucy looked down, lining up the remainder of her breakfast in little soldier like lines on her plate.

“It’s something you live,” Saul’s deep voice broke into her thoughts. He stood, taking the check in his left hand and extending his right to her. “Come on. Let’s go see.”

Lucy stared at his hand, then slid her small palm into his, marveling at how warm and strong his grip was as he lifted her to her feet and led her to the register so he could pay. She expected him to let go of her hand after lifting her form the table, but he didn’t until he had to pull out his wallet and even then he let go reluctantly. Lucy thought it odd how natural it felt to hold this stranger’s hand, but she tucked both her own hands into her coat pockets now as she waited and wondered what seeing faith at work could possibly mean.

They headed out together into the sunshine of the unseasonably warm February afternoon, facing one another.

Saul smiled. “Are you ready?” he asked.

“For what exactly?” Lucy’s brow lifted. She’d barely been ready for lunch, let alone any kind of crazy scheme he’d just cooked up in his half-baked, overzealous skull.

“I want to show you what faith looks like. Will you go to Old Salem with me? “

Lucy’s brow wrinkled. “So you want to show me what faith looked like in 1753?”

“No,” Saul laughed and leaned back on his heels.

“I’ve been there like a thousand times. What could possibl—“ Lucy stopped talking as Saul’s grin widened.

“I know, but you haven’t been with me.”

Lucy chewed on her lower lip and considered this. Finally she nodded. “Okay, let’s do it.”

“Great,” he reached over and pulled her toward the parking lot, stopping at a motorcycle parked just next to a handicapped spot near the entrance. He held out a helmet to Lucy whose jaw was on the cement in front of her. “Ready?”

“You’re joking, right?” She squeaked.

“Nope. You’ll love it.”

“When I’m dead, maybe. But there is no way I’m getting on the back of that…that…”

“Standard road cruiser?”

“Thing!”

“Watch it now, you’ll hurt her feelings.”

“That’s highly unlikely.” Lucy crossed her arms over her chest and stared at him.

“Why won’t you ride?”

“Because I’m not stupid.” Lucy shoved her hands back in her pockets and shook her head. Saul frowned.

“Really?”

“Really, as a med student I’d think you’d be aware of the statistics about motorcycle accidents.”

“Statistics, schmatistics—“

“It’s not happening Saul,” she crossed her arms now—shutting out the unwelcome memory of Pete’s premature death and the gruesome scene. Lucky to have survived, miraculous even, having been thrown clear of the accident scene.

Lucy’s breathing was becoming much shallower; Saul noticed and he nodded.

“Fair enough. We’ll take your ride.”

Lucy nodded and led the way to her own car, grateful not to have to relive that particular memory—today at least.

Her hands were shaking as she reached to unlock the door and she dropped the keys, the clatter and clink shattering the silence between them.

“Hey,” Saul was beside, plucking the keys from the asphalt. He put his hand on her shoulder as he returned the keys. “You okay?”

Lucy didn’t trust herself to speak. She nodded and her fingers folded around the keys, feeling the cold metal melt into the warmth of her palm. She took a calming breath as she slid in behind the wheel and waited for Saul to do the same on his own side.

Once they were both securely in the car, Lucy managed to shake some sense into herself and she headed to Old Salem in an awkward silence, listening to the chatter on NPR, which Lucy had been listening to early but didn’t really hear now.

As she pulled into a space at the visitor center, she turned to Saul and flipped the radio off. “Look,” she said. “I’m sorry I was so short with you. I just, well, I just really don’t like motor cycles.” She finished the sentence lamely, looking away from him as she did.

“I take it your distaste stems from more than just statistical analysis,” Sauls’ words were kind, un-probing, stated just as fact.

Lucy nodded.

Saul did the same.

“Fair enough,” he said. Without hesitation, he reached over and rubbed her arm. “A story for another day.” His hand dropped and he climbed out of the car. Lucy stared straight ahead, still feeling the warmth of his touch in his arm, but oddly also through her chest and down her legs too. She could feel her heart beating in her ears and didn’t know why or how, but something akin to fear was creeping over each part of her being. Not fear of Saul—but of the intensity, the moment, the unknown…and she was definitely afraid.

Taking a deep breath, she got out of the car and followed Saul to the visitor’s center, hoping she wouldn’t live to regret this moment or the feelings tumbling around inside her stomach as she walked.

“So,” she managed, shaking off the building tension. “Where exactly are you taking me?”

“We’re going to the St. Phillips Heritage Center.”

“To the what?” Lucy stopped, her brow raised.

“Come on, we have to hurry they close at 4:30.” He tugged on her hand and the walked quickly past the kiosk in the front of the lobby selling tickets and hawking general information about the living museum they were both so familiar with.

“Don’t we need tickets/?” Lucy asked, breathless as her short legs struggled to keep pace. They breezed out the odor and past a family chattering and clucking about the best position to take a picture on the old wooden crosswalk.

“Nah,” Saul squeezed her hand and they walked faster and closer together.

“Lucy let out a breath and followed as he took a sharp right off the bridge down the uneven sidewalk. They stopped outside an old white building with a porch. To the left set back to the side was a little white church.

“What’s this?” Lucy asked. She’d been here a million times, but had never been back to this far corner of Old Salem. It was off the usual path and far from Winkler’s Bakery where she liked to snack on sugar cookies and sugar cake. She’d spent plenty of time pursuing the Single Brothers and Single Sisters and even the Blacksmith’s places. She’d been in and out of the Old Home Moravian Church, and had even toured Salem College once or twice, but she hadn’t been to this little corner.

“This is the St. Phillips learning center, maybe one day we’ll get a chance to go through it, but today, I want to go back there,” he pointed to the little church. “With you.”

Lucy opened her mouth to say something, but Saul was already heading up the stairs.

She followed, feeling a little like an intruder as they entered the small, quiet building—emptied as the last tour had already been given for that day.

A small robust woman came from the back room speaking as she walked, “Folks, we’re done with tours, but you’re welcome to—well glory be if it isn’t Saul. Child, where have you been the past few months? Get over here and give Polly a hug.”

“Hey Polly Wolly Doodle,” Saul’s now familiar laugh rang out as he hugged the woman, knocking her reading glasses from her head to the floor in his enthusiasm.

Lucy picked up the black frames—she was surprised to see rhinestones on the upturned corners of the rims.

Clearly this woman had a flare for ostentation.

“You ruffian, put me down,” she demanded, straightening out her now wrinkled blouse. She took the glasses from Lucy and settle them back on the top of her head, patting the rows of braids, which didn’t look ridiculous on a woman her age as it would on a Caucasian woman who might attempt the same beaded style.

“Thank you honey. Now Saul you must introduce me to this young angel you’ve brought in here. Would you just look at that beautiful glossy hair? It positively shines, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, Polly,” Saul was studying Lucy now. “I think you may be right. This is Lucy and her hair is gorgeous. We were just talking about it earlier today actually.

“A woman’s hair is her glory, hmm?” Polly nodded and reached out a hand to Lucy. “It is so nice to meet you, child.”

“Lucy, this is my dear friend Polly Smith. She and her husband Silas work here at the cultural museum and have for as long—“

“For longer than you’ve been alive sweet cheeks,” Polly laughed, a hearty noise filling the small space of the tiny cabin around them. “And you are welcome here. I’m always glad to meet any of Saul’s friends.”

Lucy didn’t miss the added emphasis to her final word, or the cutting way Polly’s eyes searched Saul briefly before coming back to rest on Lucy.

Saul either didn’t notice, or ignored Polly’s unspoken question as he asked, “Is Silas around?”

“He’s over at the church, honey,” Polly shuffled her way toward the back door. “Come on now, I’ll walk you over. We’ll just see what Silas has gotten himself into now.”

Lucy and Saul followed Polly out the door and back into the welcoming sunshine where the small, white church stood tall, proud and welcoming—just waiting for whatever they were to discover next.

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Local Paragons Part IV: Midtown Cafe and Dessertery

Midtown Café and Dessertery is located on Stratford Road in Winston Salem. It is a delightful café with a varied menu. Their selection of breakfast pancakes is divine and every one is well worth the effort. While I usually enjoy hashbrowns, the Midtown Café prepares their shredded hash browns with what I (a non-culinary proficient every day person) would call more oil than I would personally desire. Their coffee is top notch and their desserts…well…get ready to gain five pounds just looking at the display window but so worth it.

Food/Beverage: <3 <3 <3                                     Local Color: <3 <3 <3


After the most awkward phone call of her life, Lucy sat in Midtown Café waiting for Saul to meet her for a late lunch. And by late, she meant they were bordering on a senior citizen’s supper time, but it was the best they could do given both of their busy schedules.

“We can pretend we’re still living in 19th century south when lunch didn’t really exist,” Saul had joked.

“I beg your pardon?” Lucy had not been aware that lunch was a twentieth century invention.

“Antebellum South—there was breakfast served until about 11, dinner from about 2-4 and supper as late as 9—but no lunch,” he said. “We’ll just go back in time for a bit. Or if you’d rather we could be English and call it Afternoon Tea.”

Tea, he’d gone on to explain, was really only part of the deal. It was, in fact, a light meal. And so, they’d agreed to be time travelers for their first date.

“Hey, you’re here!” Saul called out, his voice carrying over the empty restaurant. A few hours before, the place had been packed with Sunday brunchers, but they had cleared out and the evening crowd had yet to arrive. Those who were still lingering glanced at Saul, who commanded attention with his loud, somewhat abrasive voice.

Lucy tried not to cringe. She was quiet by nature. Abrasive would never be her style.

Saul slid into the seat across from her at the booth and smiled, his voice lowering—but only slightly.

“You look great,” he looked at her appreciatively, then reached across the table pausing just above her hair. “May I?” he asked. Lucy was confused. She didn’t really know what he was asking but she nodded. He ran his hand down the side of her Dutch braid running sideways down left side of her head and tumbling down her shoulder. His pinkie brushed the side of her cheek and as he studied her hair, he paused at the base of her neck. While he didn’t actually touch her skin, she could still feel his touch traveling all the way down her back.

Saul sat back in his seat. “How do you get the braid to sit on the top of your head like that?”

Lucy blinked stupidly. “Wh-what?” she stammered.

“The braid,” he gestured toward her head again, accepting the water from the waiter as he spoke. “Usually they’re like tucked under and stuff on girls. But yours is sitting on the top of your head. It’s really pretty like that.”

“Oh,” Lucy reached up and fingered the thick black strands. Satisfied it was still as smooth as ever, her had dropped to her lap again. “It’s not a French braid, it’s a Dutch braid.”

“There are different kinds of braids?”

Lucy smiled, feeling herself relax. “Of course. There are different kinds of cars aren’t there?”

“Well, sure,” Saul shrugged. “But braids? They have names?”

“Ever since God put Adam in the garden and said, ‘here start naming these’ we humans have felt the need to name everything in our world. Even braids.”

Saul laughed, turning heads in the quiet restaurant again. Lucy ignored the uncomfortable feeling and told herself to relax.

“Exhibit A,” he said, glancing down at the menu. “Look at this pancake menu! ‘Peach delight: thin rolled pancakes dusted with powdered sugar and filled with delicious ricotta-cream-cheese-peaches blend.’ Okay my mouth is officially watering.”

“I love that they serve breakfast here all day,” Lucy laughed. “I was eyeing the Silver Dollar Pancakes myself. Do you think they’re actually the size of a sliver dollar?”

“I don’t know. But it makes you wonder,” Saul mused. “Considering when I make pancakes they look like big blobs of crazy—I’m impressed.”

“Have you seen that Youtube video? With the pancake art?” Lucy asked.

“The one where the person is making like dinosaurs or something with the batter?”

“Yeah, the one I saw she was making like a pumpkins and butterflies, but I’m sure dinosaurs are just a possible.”

“I’m impressed by people and their ingenuity on a regular basis,” Saul shook his head. “But I also think they may have too much time on their hands. I can barely get to work and class on time without feeling like I’m drowning in papers and due dates. When do I have time to do all that? Much less post it on Youtube.”

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The waiter came then, interrupting them to take their order—and they did each get pancakes, but Saul also got a side of hash browns.

“Do you watch a lot of Youtube?” he asked once the waiter had gone to put their order in at the kitchen.

“Not really,” Lucy shrugged and took a sip of coffee. It was late afternoon, but that didn’t matter. Good coffee was hard to find, and she ordered it at Midtown every time she came—even if it was late. And at this dessertery, she had come much later than three thirty before. “Mostly I only see the videos when someone else posts them on Facebook and I happen to be twirling through it on my way from one thing to another.”

“Ah,” he nodded. “Yes, the great social connector, Facebook. It brings us all together while giving us reasons to never talk to one another again.”

“Are you saying Facebook is a paradox?” Lucy asked, sipping her coffee again.

“One of the greatest paradoxes of the twenty first century. Have you read The App Generation?” He asked leaning back in his chair and sipping on his water.

“No,” she leaned forward. “Tell me about it.”

“It’s a great published study about the concept of having an ‘app for everything’ is how this generation has come to identify itself. Really fascinating research. One things the guy says in there is that we constantly have all these new technologies popping up all over the place and they allow for self-expression in a way that we’ve never seen before. You know—selfie with the Tower of London! Kind of thing.”

“Right,” Lucy said, nodding slowly. “But selfies aren’t really representative of the self, are they? I mean I take one and I think: ugh, that can’t really be me!”

“Well, that’s kind of the point I think. We have all these new methods of expression but we’re starting to connect to them too much and suddenly that becomes our identity. We are that selfie, we are that person we put online. But what we post and these things are very two dimension—very flat. And we’re not meant to be two dimensional, flat characters in our lives and so we feel like our lives our lacking in something…more. And they are. They’re lacking in self expression and actualization that we thought we were getting by being the Facebook person.”

“Thus a kind of paradox.”

“Right, and it’s not just Facebook, but all these apps and gadgets.”

“So what do you think we should do about it?”

“I don’t know,” Saul shrugged. “I’m not even sure we can do anything about it. But I do think it’s interesting.”

“Interesting, and a little disturbing. I mean if I am without my cellphone I kind of feel as though I have lost a little part of myself.”

“Exactly what the book is kind of pointing out, only the generation right behind us is in even worse shape.”

“Yes,” Lucy nodded. “I can see that, you can’t even walk down the street without seeing a teenager or even a little child with some kind of electronic device in his or her hand.”

“Right,” Saul nodded and leaned over the table. “Speaking of which, let’s talk about you.”

“How is that a speaking of which? Are you saying I’m a teenager or a child?”

“Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of generation we’re in—“

“And you assume we’re in the same generation?”

“I would guess so.”

“You’re in med school?” Lucy prompted. She tilted her head to the side and studied him a little. She’d done the math. She had to be older than he was, but she didn’t know by how much and was a little afraid to ask.

“Finishing up. Have to start looking at fellowships soon.”

“Complicated?” she said it more as a question, though she’d heard from a friends how hard and arduous the medical school process was only to get to residencies which then led to fellowships until you finally were able to establish some kind of practice. None of it was easy.

Saul shrugged. “I’m leaving my fate to God’s hands really.”

“God?” Lucy asked, wrinkling her brow. “Isn’t that a little irresponsible? Seems like you need to take a more active role rather than just letting fate decide. You might as well just be rolling a dice.”

Saul studied her now, noting the wrinkled brow, but honest curious eyes. Lucy wasn’t judging him, he decided, but she didn’t understand what he meant.

The waiter brought their food and they began eating. Saul, studying Lucy and thinking about how to explain his active, conscious faith. And Lucy wondering just what she had gotten herself into.

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