Nice (and not so nice) fragrances of spring, palindromes and theatre

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 20, 2014

So what’s making us happy this week?

For many of us, it’s the colorful eruption of spring and its welcome assault on our senses after a long, bleak winter.

“I am happy watching my yard come back to life, the intoxicating smell coming from my lilac bushes and the warm air laced with the fragrance of freshly cut grass,” Jan Whisenant wrote.

Spring also means hummingbirds, at least in the yard of Chris Verner. He was happy this year to see them show up just a day after he put out his feeders.

Wisteria blooming makes Karen Frazer happy, while for Jane Nussman it’s dogwoods and azaleas.

Then there are the more charmingly eccentric among us — Pete Iossi, I’m talking to you — who find their joy not in sweet fragrances but pungent ones. Last weekend, Pete went on a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail where, in keeping with his tradition of more than 30 years, he found and consumed a fine mess of ramps, which are also known as wild leeks. “Fine” is Pete’s adjective, and I guess I’ll have to take him at his word because I’ve never partaken of this southern delicacy.

Local teachers are finding happiness in their classrooms. For Robin Daye, it came from using Legos to teach area and perimeter to her students at Hanford Dole Elementary. For Leslie Hudson-Tolles, it was getting her fifth grade Sacred Heart art students to embrace mixed media self-portraits.

“They were amazed, surprised and ecstatic with the results,” Leslie said. “This is what happiness is, facilitating growth and learning with a touch of wonder!”

On a slightly geekier note, Pete Bogle was happy it was palindrome week: 4-12-14 through 4-19-14. On a related note, you may recall that last month gave us Pi Day (3-14) but did you know that next year March 14 will be Pi Day with two extra places (3-14-15)?

Many local folks have been thrilled about the quality and variety of theatre offerings in Salisbury, and I am enthusiastically among them. A few weeks ago I saw a wonderfully smart new play by Denise Stewart at Lee Street Theatre — “The Sugar” — and that made me happy. The following weekend I saw the Piedmont Players production of “Chicago.” It was fantastic from top to bottom, but the scene with Billy Flynn (Jordan Clifton) and Roxy Hart (Karen Christensen) as his ventriloquist’s dummy was as exuberant, seamless and mesmerizing as anything I’ve ever seen on stage. I was not happy to have missed “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Catawba College because people whose opinions I trust say it was fabulous.

We are indeed fortunate to have such a wealth of entertainment offerings in this town, and it’s even nice to occasionally be frustrated because there is simply too much to see, and that includes some top-notch high school productions.

My cousin Faye shared that Fabio makes her happy. That admission caught me a little off guard. Either the guy has made a comeback I’m not aware of or Faye is trapped in the early 1990s and needs to be rescued — perhaps by Fabio.

It was such a happy week for people I don’t have room to share everything in this column, but I’d love to keep hearing about your joy. You can email me at