Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Paul Bunyan's Sock Drawer

What, like you ain't got a three story chest of drawers in your town? We sure do - but then again, what would you expect from a burgh that calls itself 'The Furniture Capitol of the World'. Once upon a time that label was even accurate - but with factories shutting down, textile mills going dark and skanky Las Vegas threatening to steal the twice-annual furniture market, it's hard to even feign optimism over High Point's future. Case in point: the giant bureau on Hamilton Street. For as long as many can remember, this distinctive landmark has sat abandoned; a shuttered symbol of this city's thwarted potential.

But now the highboy that time forgot now has a new owner: Pam Stern, a local woman whose enthusiasm (and heart rate) knows no bounds. When I dropped in on her today, she unspooled a stream of consciousness rant that would make Kerouac dizzy. I immediately liked her - even if she did scare me a bit. See, Pam's got a passion for High Point unmatched by many of its elected officials. Where others see a city brimming with potential, this lifelong native sees a town in its death throes, a skeletal shell of a once thriving manufacturing community. Having spent ten years myself cruising its mostly deserted downtown streets, I can't help but agree. But unlike myself (and perhaps Fantasia), Pam Stern intends to do something about it. Having spent ninety minutes in her presence this afternoon, I'd advise any and all opponents to seek shelter immediately.

Trouble is, they ain't. Spurred on by her recent publicity and perhasp stinging from the fact that a local interior designer relieved them of a building they never claimed to want, shadowy figures are giving this fast-talking firebrand all kinds of static. That's a drag, as from all that I can tell, Pam Stern's intentions are pure. She sees the oversized dresser as a headquarters for High Point's revival; a place to meet, chill, network or even get married. Most of all, Pam wants jobs for her fellow residents, from the laid-off third shift worker to those crack-addicts defecating in the great sock drawer's shadow. So why am I telling you all this? Dunno - just wanted to make use of the details I couldn't cram into the seventy second opus we aired at six. Give it a glance anyway - and if you're ever in High Point drop by and tell Pam that Lenslinger sent ya. You'll be glad you did, long after your ears stop ringing...

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