O.Henry Ending

Splash or not Splash?

A risk taken to prove a point

By Mary Best

As the youngest of five dangerously independent — and always mischievous — children of a couple of educators in the Greensboro school system, I weathered many storms as a toddler. Don’t get me wrong: I grew up in a loving home with devoted parents. But being the runt of the litter, I suffered a disadvantage — the last to receive nourishment at mealtime, endless ribbing about my clothes and toys, relentless teasing about being “sweet.” Why were my three brothers so different from me? They didn’t play with dolls, for heaven’s sake. Who doesn’t play with dolls? And don’t even get me started about Barbie.

When I wanted to play with the “big kids,” I sometimes bit off more than I could chew. For example, my family belonged to Lawndale pool, and for hours I would watch my brothers climb to the top of the high dive and plunge into the deep end. Effortlessly. Joyfully. Thoughtlessly.

So, when I was about 3 or so — younger than I could count my years on one hand — I decided to follow in their footsteps and jump off the high diving board. I had watched them master it many times. If they could do it, I thought, how hard could it be?

Fearlessly, I climbed the ladder to the top of the diving board. As I neared the end of the board, lifeguards, pool members and my poor parents froze and watched as a kid who couldn’t recite the alphabet was about to take a death-defying leap.

Up until then, my greatest adventure had been getting lost in Meyer’s downtown. Oh, and that misadventure in Franklin Drugs, when I had to go to the restroom but couldn’t read the signs on the door. Yikes, I chose the wrong door.

But I digress. Back to the pool.

My father quietly ascended the ladder, and when he reached the top, he gently, calmly, called my name. “Mary Frances,” he nearly whispered, “I’d like for you to come to me. I have something I want to tell you.”

I frowned. “But I want to show my brothers I’m as tough as they are.”

“They know, Sweetheart,” he replied. “I was the youngest too. And I endured my share of teasing.”

I never thought about other kids being teased. I had assumed it was some unique, degenerative condition from which only my brothers suffered. I had no idea their ceaseless mocking could be a sign of a pandemic, an epidemic or — even worse — ubiquitous.

The pool crowd silenced. Swimmers, sunbathers and hungry patrons in line at the concession stand held their breath as my father coaxed me toward him.

“Can you make them stop picking on me?” I pleaded. Why the hell not? I wasn’t exactly a prosecutor or defense attorney, but I felt pretty darn powerful for someone who only recently had mastered 4 + 4 = 7, right?

“I can’t promise you that,” my dad said. “But I can promise this: I will never let anyone hurt you. I know your brothers don’t show it because they are knuckleheads, but they love you, and they will always be there for you.”

Convincing. Plus, the water seemed much farther away than it did a few minutes ago.

As my father shepherded my descent from the ladder, I saw my brothers surrounding the area around the foot of the diving board. As sentinels. At that point, I knew they loved me — as protectors, friends, brothers. The teasing didn’t stop, but I knew that day at the pool they loved me.  OH

Mary Best is a freelance writer living in Greensboro. Contact her at marybest04@gmail.com.


A flower blossoms for its own joy.

— Oscar Wilde


May is the daughter of dandelions, queen of the daisies, the giggling maiden of spring.

In a sunny meadow, where the soft grass glitters with morning dew, she is gathering wild violets, singing the blue into each petal.

One handful for candy.

Two handfuls for syrup.

A heaping third for tea.

She moves like water, stirring swallowtails and skippers as she drifts from flower to quivering flower. Constellations of buttercups manifest before her. A choir of bluebirds twitters in her wake.

Her gaze is tender. Her presence full. Everything she touches seems to blush.

The Southern magnolia offers its first fragrant blossom.

The tulip poplar blooms in boundless rapture.

An oxeye daisy sings out: She loves me. She loves me lots. She loves me. She loves me lots.

No flower is forsaken.

A sweep of dandelion brightens beneath her feet, yellow blossoms plump as field mice. There is nothing to do but bask in the playful light of spring.

As the maiden lowers herself onto the lush and golden earth, one hundred songbirds pipe her name. The mockingbird repeats it.

May is here! May is here!

All hail the giggling maiden of spring.


Flowers for Mama

Mother’s Day is celebrated on Sunday, May 8. Not that the garden would let you forget. (Read: Bring her flowers.)

Sometimes simple is best. A sprig of dogwood. A vase of bearded iris. A single magnolia blossom.

Or get creative. Wildflower bouquets. Pressed flower notecards. Wild violet jelly. 

If she’s the “roses only” type, you know what to do.

But if your mama’s busy scratching and clawing around in her own garden, perhaps you can glove up and join her.

Prune the hedges if she’ll let you.

Since May is the month to plant summer annuals, plant them together.

In July, when her prismatic zinnias are the crowning glory of the block, she’ll surely be a happy mama still.


The Night Sky

According to Smithsonian magazine, two of this year’s most “dazzling celestial events” happen this month: a meteor shower and a lunar eclipse.

If you haven’t yet downloaded an astronomy app, consider doing so before the Eta Aquariids peak on May 5. Why? So you can locate Aquarius, the faint yet richly fabled constellation on the Eastern horizon. If conditions are favorable, and you are, in fact, gazing toward that water-like configuration of stars, then you may catch up to 20 meteors per hour beginning around 4 a.m. What you’re actually seeing? Debris from Halley’s Comet, of course.

A total lunar eclipse will paint the moon blood-red in the wee hours of Monday, May 16. The moon begins entering Earth’s shadow on Sunday, May 15, around 9:30 p.m. Totality occurs around midnight when, for 84 glorious minutes, the moon will appear to glow like a sunset. Dazzling indeed.  OH

Spring Forth Greensboro!

Get outside and enjoy the lusty month of May

One of the things we love most about life in the Gate City is the abundance of fantastic outdoor activities four seasons of the year. We confess, however, a slight but delicious prejudice in favor of springtime in The Boro — especially cometh the lusty month of May, when we find ourselves involuntarily and shamefully warbling bits of Frederick Loewe’s sensuous anthem to the month from the musical Camelot:

It’s May, it’s May . . . the lusty month of May!

That darling month when everyone throws self control away

It’s time, to do, a wretched thing or two

And try to make each precious day, one you’ll always rue

It’s May, it’s May, the month of yes you may

The time for every frivolous whim, proper or im-

The lusty month of May!

With lusty apologies to Queen Guinevere for such wretched singing, you probably get the point. It’s time to join the amorous birds and bees, ye old (and young) fellow citizens of the Camelot of the Triad. In order to soak in the glories of springtime in the city, we put our heads together and came up with nine of our favorite outside pursuits when spring is in the air!
— The musical cast of


Photograph by Bert Vanderveen

Strut Your Stuff in The Neighborhood

We maintain that the glory of G’town is the supreme walkability of our beautiful neighborhoods. Is there a better place on the planet to stroll with family or friends and Fido than on a perfect spring morning or late afternoon in the neighborhood you call home? We think not. Multitudes of joggers, walking groups, solo hikers, health nuts, senior hoofers and a half a million pooches walking their pampered owners agree. Frankly, we can’t think of a better way to finally meet your neighbors and learn what’s really happening just around the block.

Photograph by Bert Vanderveen

Outdoor Market

Follow your nose and BYO bag to the corner of Kensington and Market, where the air is lush with the smell of spring veggies and blooms, plus freshly baked bread, bagels and confections. The Corner Farmers Market features an array of vendors peddling produce and hand-made artisanal goods. Info: www.cornermarketgso.com/


Photographs courtesy of Lawn Service

Sip ’n Cycle with Lawn Service

Parenthood is a walk in the park now that Lawn Service is at LeBauer Park. Sip wine, beer or caffeinated beverages while refueling the littles with ice cream after a romp on the playground. Plus, ride like the wind — or a gently blowing spring breeze — every Thursday during cycle club. Info: www.littlebrotherbrew.com/lawnservicegso


Courtesy of SKYWILD

High Time to Get Moving

Summon your inner George or Jane of the Jungle and hit SKYWILD’s treetop course at the Greensboro Science Center. Nervous? Don’t be — a guide will show you the ropes.
Info: www.skywild.org


Courtesy of Get:Outdoors

Women on the Water

Don’t flip your lid — or your kayak. GetOutdoors Women on the Water — a.k.a GO WOW — is WOWing those who want to learn what you can do with a paddle and a kayak by offering classes and special events. Info: www.shopgetoutdoors.com



Courtesy of Greensboro Grasshoppers

Diamonds Are for Summer

Play ball! Or — better yet — sit back, have a beer and watch the Greensboro Grasshoppers cover all the bases at a home game. And if the crack of the bat isn’t explosive enough for you, don’t miss Friday and Saturday night fireworks. Info: www.milb.com/greensboro

Everyone Can Play at Keeley Park

Come one, come all to the Up in the Air inclusive playground at Keeley Park, where everyone can get in on the action, thanks to accessibility ramps galore. Also at this park, play a full 18-hole disc golf course and cool off on the refreshing spray ground. Truly something for everyone. Info: www.greensboro-nc.gov/


Photograph by Ann Vansant

Watch the Birdie

Because of the city’s unique location in the busy Southern migratory flyway, Greensboro has been a designated wild bird sanctuary for many decades, a distinction earned in large part by the efforts of the Piedmont Bird Club, one of the oldest such clubs in the state. Founded by UNCG bird lovers in February 1938, the club runs regular field trips and a host of educational programs throughout the year. PBC members are knowledgeable and super friendly — always welcoming newcomers. Info: www.piedmontbirdclub.org  OH

The Creators of N.C.

A Shared Life

Judy Goldman looks back on the Jim Crow South

By Wiley Cash

Photographs by Mallory Cash 

I first met author Judy Kurtz Goldman in the summer of 2013 when we were seated beside one another at a dinner sponsored by a local bookstore in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Of that evening, I can remember Judy’s elegant Southern accent, her self-deprecating humor, and her teasing me that my calling her “ma’am” made her feel old. But Southerners like Judy know that the conventions you were raised under are hard to buck, regardless of whether they are based on something as benign as manners or as oppressive as prejudice.

According to the late Pat Conroy, Judy Goldman is a writer of “great luminous beauty,” and I happen to agree with him. She’s published two previous memoirs, two novels, two collections of poetry, and she has won the Sir Walter Raleigh Prize for fiction and the Hobson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters. In her new memoir, Child, Judy confronts the horrible legacy of the Jim Crow South while coming to terms with the fact that the customs and laws born from Jim Crow delivered one of the most meaningful and long lasting relationships of Judy’s life. The memoir explores the life she shared with her family’s live-in domestic worker, a Black woman named Mattie Culp, who came to live with and work for the Kurtz family in Rock Hill, South Carolina, when she was 26 and Judy was 3. From the moment of Mattie’s arrival, she and Judy were close physically and emotionally. They shared a bedroom and a bed. (Mattie shared the single bathroom with Judy’s parents and two older siblings.) Judy and Mattie also shared one another’s love, and that love would cement their indescribably close bond up until Mattie’s death in 2007 at age 89. 

“Our love was unwavering,” Judy writes in the book’s prologue. “But it was, by definition, uneven.”

There is an old saying that writers write because we have questions, and while Judy has no questions about the depth of her love for Mattie or the depth of Mattie’s love for her, she has spent much of her adult life pondering questions about the era and place in which she was raised. Judy came of age in the 1940s and ’50s, and although she has spent decades living and raising a family in Charlotte, Rock Hill is the defining landscape of her literature. 

“Rock Hill is in every book I’ve ever written,” she tells me one morning in early March. “It’s a love affair.”

But love, as Judy makes clear in writing about her relationship with Mattie, is a complicated emotion. While Judy’s childhood in Rock Hill was blissful on the surface, as an adult she looks back on her life with a discerning eye that is able to appraise the dichotomy of the Southern childhood. This act of remembering and then re-seeing brings a whiplash of honest realizations to the memoir’s pages.

For example, as a child, Judy was proud of the beautiful school with the new playground that she and other white children attended. She did not know that Mattie, who regularly walked Judy to school, walked her home and took her to play on the playground, had attended a Rosenwald School built for Black children in 1925 in the countryside 10 miles outside of Rock Hill. Judy only learned this information while writing her memoir, and she was able to find old photographs of the school: a two-room wood frame building with an outhouse, a far cry from where Judy had spent her school days.

As she grew older, Judy would wonder why Mattie and her boyfriend would sit in his car in the Kurtzes’ driveway and chat instead of going out on dates like regular couples did. “I wondered why they never went anywhere,” she writes. “I know now there was no place for those two Black people to go in Rock Hill.”

Life was good in the Rock Hill of Judy’s youth, but it was not always good to everyone. In one reminiscence, she recalls the lush gardens in her neighborhood where blossoms and blooms abounded in manicured yards. But when she would least expect it, a snake could slither free from the grass and cross her path on the sidewalk where she and Mattie walked together. “Camellias and snakes,” Judy writes. “The particulars of our lives. The irregular ground on which our life stories were built.”

The irregular ground of Judy’s childhood was laid by her parents. Her father owned a clothing store and went against local custom in the 1950s by hiring a Black saleswoman named Thelma to serve the all-white customers. (In one of the memoir’s most harrowing scenes, a white saleswoman’s husband shows up in the middle of the night at the Kurtz home and drunkenly demands that Thelma not be allowed to use the one restroom available to the store’s staff. Her father refused the request and sent the man on his way.) Judy’s mother kept the books at the store, and while Judy claims that her mother “couldn’t boil water,” she never missed an opportunity to celebrate, meaning that the Jewish Kurtz family hid Easter eggs and put up a Christmas tree every year.

These irregularities — going against local custom and religious practice — are somewhat easy to explain, considering that Judy describes her father as fair and her mother as someone who loved joy. But there were other, harder to explain inconsistencies. The Kurtzes were a progressive family, so how could they employ a live-in domestic worker who never shared meals with them? Judy, the youngest child in the family, was being raised by a Black woman who, when just a child herself, had given birth to a daughter of her own named Minnie. Why wasn’t Mattie raising her? Judy has spent much of her life pondering these questions, and she decided that taking them to the page was the best way to try to answer them, but the answers would not be easy to find, and even if Judy found them, could she trust how she had arrived there?

“Can we trust anything inside the system we were brought up in?” she writes.

Judy and I are standing at the dining room table in the third floor apartment she shares with her husband, Henry, near Queens University in Charlotte. Family photographs are scattered on the table in front of us. In the living room, my daughters Early and Juniper peck away at the piano while Mallory breaks down lighting equipment and talks to Henry. He stands with the cane he has used since recovering from what was supposed to be a routine back surgery that ended up briefly paralyzing him, resulting in years of physical therapy just to be able to stand and walk again.

Judy’s last memoir, Together, which was published in 2018 and received lavish praise, including a starred review from Library Journal, is about Henry’s surgery and its aftermath, but it is also about their long and loving marriage. I look down at the photos of Mattie and recognize her from the photograph on the cover of Together. In that photo, a newly married Henry and Judy are coming down the steps of her parents’ home while smiling friends toss rice into the air. Mattie stands in the background, smiling as if her own youngest child has just gotten hitched.

I ask Judy, after a lifetime of knowing Mattie, what made her want to publish a memoir about her now.

“I think it felt right to publish it when I turned 80,” she says. “I thought, if I don’t do it now, I’m not going to do it, it won’t get done.” She pauses, looks down at the photographs. One of them, a black and white portrait of Mattie taken around 1944, which was when she came to work for the Kurtz family, stares back at us. “I never thought I had the right to tell this story,” she says. “A privileged white child in the Jim Crow South talking about her Black live-in maid. The more details you hear, the worse it sounds.”

But over the years Judy came to understand that her and Mattie’s story differed from the stories some of Judy’s friends and acquaintances would tell about the hired women who had raised them. Judy often came away from those conversations with the full understanding that many of those people had not truly examined the inequity of those childhood relationships, choosing instead to focus only on the love Black women had shown their white charges, not the full scope of what the price of that love might have been.

“I don’t want to join them in that,” Judy says. “If my book did not really examine that situation with Mattie and me, then I wasn’t going to publish it.”

Child is full of Judy asking tough questions of herself, her family, and the place she has always called home. “How do I cross-examine the way it was?” she asks in one scene. “Can we ever tell the whole truth to ourselves?” she asks in another.

Child shows that truth — at least truth of a sort — can be found. When she was a teenager, Mattie’s daughter Minnie learned that the woman she had long assumed was her aunt was actually her mother, and Mattie eventually put Minnie through college. She would end up earning a master’s degree, as would Mattie’s three grandchildren. The irregular ground of life’s stories. Camellias and snakes. Jim Crow and a lifelong connection that endures beyond death. As Judy writes in her closing lines, “It is possible for love to co-exist with ugliness.”  OH

Wiley Cash is the Alumni Author-in-Residence at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His new novel, When Ghosts Come Home, is available wherever books are sold.

Short Stories & Ogi Sez

Intentional Eating

At O.Hey, our diet is omnivorous and philanthropic. If eating our way through a cross-section of Greensboro’s culinary offerings is what it takes to support the N.C. Folk Fest, we will do what needs to be done. From 6–8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, at Elm & Bain, stuff yourself silly with a diverse array of savory delights from 13 of Greensboro’s eateries while mingling with the Triad’s talented chefs. Anyone know how many empanadas can fit in a pair of carpenter joggers? Asking for a friend. Info: NCFolkFestival.com; to subscribe to receive weekly happenings in the O.Hey voice, visit oheygreensboro.com


Over and Dunleath

They’re not old — they’re gracefully aged. Throughout the month of May, Preservation Greensboro’s Twelfth Annual Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens will focus on the architecture, gardens and history of one of Greensboro’s oldest neighborhoods. Dunleath, home to World War Memorial Stadium and the Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market, features a range of traditional vintage American homes built in the 19th and early 20th century by middle- and upper-class residents — from sprawling Victorians to modest Craftsman bungalows. It is also known for its eclectic mix of creative residents as well its annual Porchfest, scheduled for June. This year, the tour — Preservation Greensboro’s flagship fundraiser — will include both in-person and virtual elements so you can visit while either strolling or scrolling. Info: PreservationGreensboro.org.


Ain’t No Cure

Forget about the summertime blues. The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s Carolina Blues Festival returns this spring for its 36th year with Young, Black & Blues, a celebration of young Black musicians. This year, the longest-running blues festival in the Southeastern United States delivers a full lineup of seven talented acts, including storytelling through smooth instrumentals and lyrics.  Follow the sounds of soulful vocals and riveting guitar riffs to LeBauer Park from 3–11 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. Info: PiedmontBlues.org.


In His Jeans

The Cone family was not one to just mill about. The iconic dynasty, known for its entrepreneurship and contributions to Greensboro’s economy and civic life, made it big in the textile industry in the late 1800s. The Denim King: The Moses Cone Story, based in part on the book A Mansion in the Mountains by Phil Noblitt, weaves a spirited musical tale — with little fabrication — of Moses and Ceasar Cone while giving a peek inside life at their family residence, Flat Top Manor in Blowing Rock. The show runs May 12–16 at the Virginia Somerville Sutton Theatre at Well·Spring. Info: ticketmetriad.com.


Ogi Sez

Ogi Overman

May might be one of two months, weatherwise, that needs no hype. (October being the other.) It’s like Little Red Riding Hood’s bowl of porridge: Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. The outdoor concerts and festivals are cranking up, the big bands are touring, al fresco dining is in, the flowers are blooming. Oh, I could go on, but my favorite juke joints await, and it’s time to let the fish fry proceed.

• May 15, Ziggy’s Space: If you regularly peruse these ramblings, you know I’m a big fan of Americana music. And there is no more talented Americana artist than Darrell Scott. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/storyteller, he does it all and does it better than most.

May 20, Tanger Center: Exactly 50 years ago — I don’t think it was the Fourth of July — a carload of us traveled to Charlotte to see Chicago. The band was great, the acoustics were horrible. Thanks to Cliff Miller and SE Systems’ sound, and the Tanger designers, we won’t have to worry about that this time.

• May 21, Truist Field (Winston-Salem): Just as May needs no hype, neither does Paul McCartney. This is a major coup for us and the Triad, as the legend of legends only scheduled 13 stops, and we “Got Back” to where we once belonged.

May 22, Doodad Farm: Each spring, my heroes, Dean and Laurel Driver, host a tribute/fundraiser for a local nonprofit. This year they appropriately chose the New Arrivals Institute, which serves as a bridge for local refugees and immigrants getting acclimated to a new culture. The all-day show is titled Legends of NC and features no fewer than 18 of our finest: Sam Frazier, Laurelyn Dossett, Graymatter, Jon Shain, Abigail Dowd … you get the picture.

• May 25, White Oak Amphitheatre: Nineties icons Smashing Pumpkins officially broke up in 2000, but eventually regrouped — with Billy Corgan still fronting — and put out a killer double album in 2020. After COVID interruptions (including a show here), they’re touring relentlessly again, “like a rat in a cage.”


May Books

Compiled by Shannon Purdy Jones

At Scuppernong Books, May means one thing: the flurry of organizing and last-minute preparations for the annual Greensboro Bound Literary Festival. We’re so thrilled to have the festival back in-person after two long years, and the lineup is better than ever before. More than 60 authors will participate in panels, talks and signings May 19–22 in downtown Greensboro, including Nikole Hannah-Jones, Amor Towles and Jason Mott just to name a few. The festival also hosts workshops for aspiring authors (advance registration required) and this year will feature a special screening of the documentary film Fred Chappell: I Am One of You Forever on Sunday, May 22.

Showcasing everything from literary novels to poetry, romance to memoir, and everything in between, the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival has something to entice every bookish mind. You’ll definitely see me there, sprinting manically between selling books, moderating the Afternoon Delight romance panel, and sitting in on every single panel I possibly can. We’re so lucky to have this festival to bring nationally renowned authors and foster our literary community. Be sure to head over to www.greensborobound.com to plan your festival experience and register for free ticketed events. Then check out a small taste below of the many amazing books featured at this year’s fest. Scuppernong hopes to see you there! 

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story
edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning 1619 Project issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together 18 essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with 36 poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle and resistance. The essays show how the repercussions of 1619 reach into every part of contemporary American society, from politics to music, from diet to traffic, from citizenship to capitalism, from religion to our democracy itself.

This book reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction — and the way that the aftermath of slavery did not end with emancipation but continues to shape contemporary American life.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towlew

In June 1954, 18-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served 15 months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his 8-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California, where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction — to the City of New York.

Spanning just 10 days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’ third novel will satisfy fans of his multilayered literary style while providing readers with an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters and themes.

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

In Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and more urgent: Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.

As these characters’ stories build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.

Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind? Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last 10 years. And in its final twists, it truly becomes its title.

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendon Slocumb

Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a job at the hospital cafeteria. If he’s extra lucky, he’ll earn more than minimum wage. But Ray has a gift and a dream — he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.

When he discovers that his great-great-grandfather’s beat-up old fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach. Together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition — the Olympics of classical music — the violin is stolen, a ransom note for $5 million left in its place. Ray will have to piece together the clues to recover his treasured Strad . . . before it’s too late.

With the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-great-grandfather asserting that the instrument is rightfully theirs, and with his family staking their own claim, Ray doesn’t know who is trustworthy — or whether he will ever see his beloved violin again.  OH

Shannon Purdy Jones is store manager and children’s book buyer for Scuppernong Books.

Wandering Billy

Hair-raising Adventures

Mullets, hawks and pomps, oh my!

By Billy Eye

“For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.”        — Johnny Carson

Sixty years ago, when I was a wee young’un entering first grade, every couple of months or so, like when a holiday was approaching, my father marched my younger brother and me up to Lawndale Barber Shop to have our heads reshaped, curls cascading to the linoleum in piles, hair buzzed into distant memory on the sides, leaving slightly longer flops on top. Ed Jones was lead barber at this particular clip joint consisting of three chairs inside a glass storefront at the tip of a strip of shops in front of the railroad tracks directly across from Plaza Shopping Center.

“If Hair Is Cut Well It Grows Out Well” was Lawndale’s slogan where, above the silver-capped jar of combs soaking in bright blue Barbicide, was a mounted metal sign from a decade earlier displaying all of polite society’s approved Red Blooded American Boy hairstyles: Flattop, Butch, Crew, College Contour, Little League or Ivy League. There were other, more adventuresome options like the Forward-Combed Boogie, Flattop Boogie and the Hollywood — no way my old man was going to allow any of that city slicker nonsense atop his upstanding offspring. (Although it should be noted that dear ol’ Dad wore his hair Flattop Boogie style.)

Considered a sort of golden age for barbering, in 1962 Lawndale was one of around 70 similar shops dotting the city, 13 downtown. Keep in mind, the population of Greensboro was less than half of what it is today. Four years ago, I counted two dedicated barber shops downtown. Today, as part of a nationwide cultural shift, there are at least seven barber shops concentrated in the center city.

On South Elm, just shy of Lewis Street, is Rock’s Hair Shop, where I spoke with their mane man Grey Dominguez. “When I was growing up we had some of the worst haircuts,” Dominguez recalls of the 1990s. “I don’t think our parents really cared what we looked like. I ultimately ended up going to those Sport Clips types of places.” Nowadays parents are more circumspect when it comes to their child’s appearance. “There are some 10-year olds who walk out of here with better haircuts than I’ve had in my adult life.”

Open in Greensboro since 2018 and offering a wide-open, casual environment, Rock’s delivers what you might call masculine grooming services, plus complimentary craft beer or other beverages with your cut. Your traditional experience with a twist, where they take a much more detail oriented approach to haircutting, along with old school straight razor shaves, beard trimming, vivid or permanent color, and everything else one thinks of from a traditional barber, only with an ABC permit so you don’t have to go looking around for a bottle shop or beer bar to celebrate having your ears lowered.

Rock’s is a “very inclusive and affirming shop” with clients all over the gender spectrum, all races. “We have clients that will bring their laptops and work at the bar,” Dominguez says. “Don’t tell their bosses but they’ll be sipping a beer on a conference call while they’re here.”

While Dominguez is a licensed cosmetologist, “I realized pretty early on into my education that I should have gone to barber school. I guess I really cared about short hair, specifically men’s hair.” Dominguez sees his shop as somewhere “between traditional barber shops and modern salons. We’re sort of a fusion of the two. I actually hear a lot from clients, this is the place they didn’t know they needed.”

While most folks are looking for a practical hairstyle they can dress up or down, some more extreme looks from the distant past are unexpectedly rearing their not-so-ugly heads again. “Mullets, pompadours and hawk styles have snuck back as common trends for sure,” Dominguez notes. “We started seeing a handful of requests for them as early as three or four years ago with a big uptick in the past year or two.” Granted, they’re not the most common style requested, “but they’re frequent enough to not be surprising when someone wants it done.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s Gene’s Styling & Barber Service on Spring Garden, across from Scrambled. Frank Dorrity has been stylin’ and profilin’ in Greensboro for 65 years now, 61 of those revolutions around the sun in the same spot at Gene’s, back when a haircut cost a buck and a quarter. “I came here as the fifth barber in 1961,” he says. Gene’s, he says, has been open since 1957: “The tremendously amazing thing is this little 20 x 35 foot room, the entire world has come through here. Every denomination in the world has been through that door right there. And that’s the original door!”

Dorrity is a proud graduate of Winston-Salem Barber School, after 87 years still the area’s finest academy for learning the discipline. As to why he chose to become a follicle butcher, “Well, it was cotton mills, mines or barbering,” he confides. Half joking.

The heyday for straight edge barbering was the early 1960s. “We were doing a lot of business then,” Dorrity says. “A lot of flattops and different kinds of buzz cuts.” In 1964 The Beatles burst on the scene, and over the next decade men’s hairstyles went from styled to wild.

“We called it the hippie days, the long hair days,” Dorrity recalls of the mad, mod late ’60s. “We lost a great portion of our barbers across the whole country, most did not know how to cut long hair and we didn’t have anyone to instruct us, to show us how. When we finally figured it out, we put up a sign that said, ‘Leave it long but let us shape it.’”

Of course, Dorrity and the crew at Gene’s routinely clip kids’ hair, women as well, same as it ever was. Business remains brisk. When I dropped by on a Friday afternoon, chairs were swiveling, phones ringing constantly. “These years have been a real blessing,” Frank says. “I’ve made some wonderful friends and I still have one or two original clients.”

That’s no exaggeration, if anything an understatement. What are the odds? I actually know one of those loyal customers that keeps coming back decade after decade. “I’ve been going to Gene’s since my first haircut, before Frank came to work there in 1961,” local raconteur Randy Barnes tells me. “I remember having to sit on the board they used to put across the arms of the barber chair. Back then Charlie Sneed ‘Sneedy’ cut my hair.” Barnes also points out that while the sign on the front window was freshly painted a couple of years ago, the building itself hasn’t been refurbished since the Eisenhower administration.

When I spoke with Frank Dorrity about the new trend in chop shops like Rock’s downtown where you can get cropped, coiffed, then leave half crocked, Dorrity confesses, “We would not want customers to be drinking beer in our place ’cause we want ‘em to make it out the door.” The original door from 1957 mind you.  OH

Billy Eye cuts his own hair as is fairly obvious if you’ve ever met the guy.


A Rare Bird

Searching for the Bachman’s sparrow

By Susan Campbell

Photograph by Carl Miller

Although unquestionably the most sought-after bird species in North Carolina, the Bachman’s sparrow does not, at first glance, seem very special. But once you search for this incredibly adapted little bird, you will realize how special it is. One of a handful of endangered species in our state, you will have to find the right spot to get a glimpse of this cryptic little creature.

Endemic to pine forests of the southeastern United States, Bachman’s sparrows are only found in the frequently burned, open understory of the Sandhills and inner coastal plain. The best time to locate one is to visit in the spring, when males spend much of their time singing from low perches. Otherwise, the birds are down low, foraging in the groundcover and virtually invisible. A local species, Bachman’s sparrows do not migrate in the fall but rather become even harder to find. As insects become scarce, they subsist on a variety of seeds during the colder months.

Bachman’s sparrows are bland-looking brown and white with just a splash of yellow at the bend of the wing (which you will miss unless you are looking carefully with binoculars). Their song is a beautiful trill preceded by a single note. It carries a long way and is hard to pinpoint, in spite of the volume. And the nest, which is carefully constructed by the female, is an intricate cup of grasses at ground level. Often they will incorporate vegetation over the nest, creating a dome to protect the eggs and young from predation.

These birds are also unique in that they run, not fly, to evade potential threats. They will disappear into thick vegetation and have also been known to evade predators by diving into burrows dug by gopher tortoises — another species restricted to the sandy pine forests a bit farther south. More than anything, they are closely associated with longleaf pine and wiregrass, a plant community type that has become very rare over the last century. Habitat conversion and fire suppression have reduced the forests that they commonly inhabited by over 90 percent.

The individuals of the species were first noticed by one of the country’s most famous early ornithologists, John James Audubon. He chose to give them the name Bachman’s sparrow after his local host for the expedition, South Carolina clergyman John Bachman (pronounced BACK-man). Indeed, many birders have followed in Audubon’s footsteps, searching for this unique, secretive little survivor. Should you do the same, you just might be rewarded with a brief look at one of our state’s most prized inhabitants.  OH

Susan Campbell would love to receive your wildlife photos and reports. She can be reached at susan@ncaves.com. 


Arboreal Awakening

In a city of trees, spring heralds a rhapsody of foliage and hope

By Ross Howell Jr.     Photographs by Mark Wagoner


When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. When is the next best time? Now.

— Chinese saying, in The Overstory, a novel by Richard Powers


Lately on walks with our rescue dog, Sprinkles, I’ve been thinking about the trees in Fisher Park, the neighborhood where my wife, Mary Leigh, and I live.

Enormous willow oaks, maples, big pecan trees and Southern magnolias line our streets and yards, shading dogwoods, redbuds and crape myrtles. Thick beeches guard the park’s tributary of Buffalo Creek, and tall gums scatter walkways with their prickly, annoying balls.

The trees are serene and magical.

And old.

A quality I share with the trees. We’re approaching the end of our natural lives, becoming unsteady and expensive to maintain.

Being a 2-year-old dog, Sprinkles devotes no attention to the passage of time — the present moment suiting her just fine. She heeds the trees not at all unless a squirrel happens to scramble up one.

But in the 12 years Mary Leigh and I have lived in Fisher Park, thunderstorms have brought down enormous willow oaks, one crashing on the property owner’s car and splintering a neighbor’s redbud tree. Old age has claimed splendid white oaks. Disease has laid low big maples and dogwoods. Ice storms have wreaked havoc, uprooting oaks, gums, beeches, hemlocks and ash trees and shattering magnolias in the park.

Circle of life, right? What can you do?

Turns out, a lot.

Sally Pagliai is the owner of Studio Pagliai Landscape and Garden Design in Greensboro. A native Californian, she holds a degree in landscape architecture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Not long ago, she was hired for a project in the Montibello neighborhood, located off Horse Pen Creek Road.

“While there were strict rules about landscaping, the homeowners weren’t abiding by them — some had placed garden gnomes, whirligigs or pink flamingos in front of their houses,” Pagliai says. The homeowners’ association brought her in to review the situation and to make recommendations for rules that would improve neighborhood aesthetics.

It was a hot July day when Pagliai first visited Montibello. As she drove in, she was impressed with how attractively the entrance was landscaped with trees and shrubs.

“But once I got inside the development,” she says, “it was like a moonscape. The landscape was bleached, scorched by the summer heat. There was no canopy of trees.”

Pagliai knew what Montibello needed wasn’t another set of rules. What it needed was a forest.

But how could she convince them?

“When I was growing up in California, we used to visit Carmel,” Pagliai says. “There were all these funky little houses.” She explains that as the town grew, homeowners made the decision to preserve the trees, even ones growing in the middle of some of the streets.

“Now the trees make the place unique, and those same funky little houses today are remarkably expensive,” Pagliai says.

She would make an economic argument to Montibello’s homeowners, demonstrating how trees can increase home values, augmented by information about the value of trees environmentally.

Trees clean the air. They significantly reduce summer temperatures in urban areas and lower electrical bills. They absorb runoff from streets and sidewalks, reducing flooding.

And they’re beautiful.


“When you consider their majesty, their sculptural and textural complexity,” Pagliai says, “trees represent the very best of nature.”

Pagliai presented a comprehensive design plan that explained the economic and aesthetic benefits of planting hundreds of trees — evergreen and deciduous — that was reviewed by a neighborhood committee. They approved.

“Montibello ended up spending more than $100,000,” Pagliai says.

Trees were planted in stages at different times of year when various species enjoyed optimal chances of survival. The added benefit? The economic impact on individual homeowners was spread out over time.

Improvement in property values and quality of life in the neighborhood has been profound.

A more recent Pagliai project also involved the planting of hundreds of trees.

“The Healing Gardens at Cone Health Cancer Center are really the work of my heart,” Pagliai says. “I lost both my father and a husband to cancer.”

When her father was being treated at the Stanford Cancer Institute in California, Pagliai could find solace outside the facility in a garden with trees.

“That was real salvation,” Pagliai says. “Trees are so life-giving.”

But at the time Pagliai’s husband, Stefano, was being treated at Cone Cancer Center, there was no garden at all.

“The earth next to the facility was barren and toxic, with rainwater flooding from the parking garage into Buffalo Creek,” she says. Worse, the area was laden with trash and concrete construction debris.

“I’d be in a room with my husband, who was just so sick,” Pagliai continues, “and there was no place outside where I could find any peace.”

Volunteering her own time, Pagliai began sketching out plans for  the Healing Gardens and fund-raising began.

The first garden installation was a barrier of 234 trees planted along Wendover Avenue. The trees muffle traffic sounds from the busy highway and provide a living green wall for the sanctuary just beyond Buffalo Creek.

Within the Healing Gardens, volunteers have planted more than 350 additional trees, including native river birch (Betula nigra), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), red maple (Acer rubrum) and a variety of wax myrtles and cedars.

At the entrance to the gardens, Pagliai created a row of columnar English oaks (Quercus robur), compact trees that grow narrow and upright — excellent for tight spaces. Entering the garden, the oaks offer separation from the concrete parking lots and sidewalks.

“Trees are some of my best friends,” Pagliai concludes. “They’ve brought me peace. They bring me joy.”

Randal Romie, president of Designature, Landscape Architects ASLA, is a resident of Sunset Hills.

“People forget that the 100-year-old willow oaks falling over in our neighborhood were once the woods that drew people here to build houses,” Romie says. He explains that with more roadways and sidewalks and the increased number of houses, the oaks’ broad root systems no longer have access to the abundance of nutrients available in natural woodlands.

“They’re not going to be 200-year-old trees,” Romie says. “And when we lose them, we’re losing a sense of time.”

But Romie and other Sunset Hills residents now have money in their neighborhood association to buy new trees for homeowners who want them and are willing to pay a small deposit to the fund. So far, the association has supplied residents with some 30 native trees.

North Carolina native trees are a passion for Romie. For him, they’re an essential element in a millennia-old ecosystem of plants and creatures always held in spiritual reverence by Native American cultures.

“We’re part of nature,” Romie says. “When we connect with nature, we feel better. It’s like home.”

In Romie’s experience, people find neighborhoods with a canopy of trees more attractive than neighborhoods without them.

“All we’re doing is getting back to what Greensboro is famous for — neighborhoods like Fisher Park, Lindley Park, where there are trees in every yard,” Romie says. “They’re what make Greensboro green.”

Beyond his efforts in Sunset Hills, Romie has devoted some 30 years of volunteer work to Greensboro Beautiful and has served as co-chair of the urban forestry committee. Urban forestry is a relatively new concept, where trees are seen as critical elements of a healthy urban environment. In some North Carolina cities, urban foresters plant and maintain trees, support appropriate tree selection and forest preservation, and conduct research and education, promoting the benefits trees provide.

Greensboro Beautiful is a nonprofit organization supported by private funds from individuals, corporations and foundations. Its budget assists public gardens like the Greensboro Arboretum and supports a variety of tree-planting and education programs, like NeighborWoods. Through the parks and recreation department, the city of Greensboro provides full-time staff, office space and equipment.

In this public-private partnership, the city field operations department typically digs the holes for tree planting and the planning department provides the expertise of city arborist Judson Clinton to select proper varieties and coordinate with public utilities.

“I may be the planning force behind a project,” says Clinton, who studied forestry, natural resources and silviculture at Purdue University, “but Greensboro Beautiful is really the driving force.”

Greensboro Beautiful provides volunteers, supplies and plant material, while master gardeners help with instruction. As many as 300 volunteers may show up for a planting program — people from all walks and stages of life.

Past special events include an Arbor Day celebration, when Greensboro Beautiful organized more than 250 volunteers to plant 150 trees in the Warnersville neighborhood, the oldest African American community in Greensboro.

After a 2018 tornado cut a path of destruction through the Kings Forest neighborhood and its park, Greensboro Beautiful awarded the area with a 2019 NeighborWoods community tree planting. Volunteers replanted trees throughout the neighborhood and park, supplying additional trees to property owners who requested them.

In 2021 the Audubon Society teamed up with the NeighborWoods program to plant 150 canopy and understory trees in the Friendly Homes neighborhood and surrounding park, and along the Benjamin Parkway Greenway. Many ash trees in the area had been killed by the emerald ash borer, and other canopy trees had suffered dieback due to age and drought.

A new planting initiative was announced March 1, when the United Way of Greater Greensboro opened its centennial celebration by planting a tree at its Yanceyville Street headquarters.

“We’ve partnered with Greensboro Beautiful and Greensboro Housing Authority to plant 100 trees,” says Michael Cottingham, United Way’s vice president, marketing and communications. “In addition to our continued work to help people leave poverty, we hope these trees will serve as a symbolic reminder of the lasting impact we create when we work together to help others.”

Another friend of trees is Elizabeth Link, a manager in the planning department of the city of Greensboro. Among her responsibilities is administering tree planting regulations for new commercial and multifamily residential construction. She holds a landscape architecture degree from North Carolina A&T State University.

She’s also a 25-year resident of Lindley Park.

“We’ve had many old willow oaks die or get knocked down in storms,” Link says.

At her house two old oak trees came down, especially significant because they shaded the house’s southern exposure.

“Our summer electric bills went up,” Link says. And she noticed more standing water after rainfall because the root systems no longer absorbed it.

Link and her husband subsequently replanted trees — a white oak and a red oak. But it will take 30 years for their effects to be felt.

“That’s why it’s so important for neighborhoods to protect their trees,” Link says.

When people ask her about trees, she says she often finds herself telling them what not to do.

“Don’t use herbicides of any kind. Don’t pile up mulch around the trunk of a tree. Don’t let vines climb it. Don’t drive your car over its roots,” Link says.

“But there’s one thing I always tell them,” she adds. “Trees are good.”

She pauses, then repeats, “Trees are good.”

Still, for all their benefits, trees make some homeowners anxious.

“I understand the concern people have with big trees around the house,” says Drew Horne, manager at Guilford Garden Center. “There’s debris and sometimes fallen branches after a storm.”

“But that’s just part of the risk,” Horne continues. He believes that whenever people coalesce with nature, there’s risk.

“When you plant a tree, you’re not planting it for yourself,” Horne says. “It’s like a gift you make to the future.”

One evening when I was doing research for this piece, Sprinkles and I took another walk in Fisher Park. We were emerging from the woods’ edge, and I notice lights in the windows of the Julian Price house.

Movement catches my eye. A red-shouldered hawk settles on the limb of a dogwood just feet away. I stop in my tracks.

The hawk scans the ground, then drops to the forest floor right next to us.

Even Sprinkles stands still.

The hawk cocks its wild, pitiless head and looks right at me.

Then it lifts its wings, snagging with its talons a vole that had been invisible till that moment, and flies off.

With the hawk now in past tense, Sprinkles tugs at her lead, ready to move on.

But I linger for a moment, in a cathedral of trees.  OH

Ross Howell Jr. is a freelance writer. For information on the gardens, activities and volunteer opportunities at Greensboro Beautiful, visit www.greensborobeautiful.org.



Treasure Trees

In the past, Guilford County established a Treasure Tree Program to recognize the largest, rarest and oldest tree specimens in the area. The purpose was to raise public awareness of these valuable and irreplaceable living things, increase owners’ awareness of their importance and encourage good stewardship. The program was also designed to help protect all trees in our region from indiscriminate removal or damage due to development and urbanization.

Here are examples. You might want to check trees in your own neighborhood. You may discover a treasure of your own.

American Beech (Fagus grandiflora), North Oaks Subdivision, 126 feet tall, crown spread 75 feet, trunk diameter 43 inches.

American Elm (Ulmus americana), Forest Valley Drive, 126 feet tall, crown spread 45 feet, trunk diameter 26.9 inches.

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Twin Lakes Park, 98 feet tall, crown spread 26.6 feet, trunk diameter 34.6 inches.

Bottlebush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), Kello Drive, 18 feet tall, crown spread 18 feet, trunk diameter 8.3 inches.

Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica), Twin Lakes Park, height of 87 feet, crown spread 55 feet, trunk diameter 39.5 inches.

Dogwood (Cornus florida), Woodvale Drive, 28 feet tall, crown spread 23 feet, trunk diameter 23 inches.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), Trosper Road, 40 feet tall, crown spread 9 feet, trunk diameter 9 inches.

Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), Twin Lakes Park, 103 feet tall, crown spread 35.8 feet, trunk diameter 36.8 inches.

Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda), High Meadows Court, 110 feet in height, crown spread 40.3 feet, trunk diameter 40.3 inches.

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), North Church Street, 133 feet tall, crown spread 87.5 feet, trunk diameter 55.2 inches.

Pecan (Carya illinoensis), Williams Dairy Road, 94 feet tall, crown spread 112.5 feet, trunk diameter 43.25 inches.

Post Oak (Quercus stellata), Cypress Street, 84 feet tall, crown spread 84.5 feet, trunk diameter 50 inches.

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), West Friendly Avenue, 82.5 feet tall, crown spread 67.25 feet, trunk diameter 50.4 inches.

Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), Guilford College Road, 148 feet tall, crown spread 71 feet, trunk diameter 63.9 inches. Called “The Underground Railroad Tree,” it may date from the year 1713.

Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica), Twin Lakes Park, 60 feet tall, crown spread 54 feet, trunk diameter 50.4 inches.

White Oak (Quercus alba), North Church Street, 135 in height, crown spread 90.5 feet, trunk diameter 62.5 inches.

Willow Oak (Quercus phellos), Cypress Street, 138 feet tall, crown spread 84 feet, trunk diameter 62.5 inches.

For the complete Treasure Tree list, go to www.greensboro-nc.gov/departments/planning/learn-more-about/trees-and-urban-forestry/treasure-trees-program.

A convenient place near downtown Greensboro to see trees is Green Hill Cemetery. Walking tours are available through Friends of Green Hill Cemetery, a non-profit group that has identified some 700 tree varieties in the cemetery’s 51 acres. According to www.monumentaltrees.com, you’ll come across these big specimens, and more.

Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata), 78 feet tall and more than 85 years old.

Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), more than 50 feet tall.

Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla), estimated to be 32 feet in height.

Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa), height of about 66 feet, trunk diameter of nearly 48 inches.  OH

Tea Leaf Astrologer


(April 20 – May 20)

Sometimes you’ve got to know when to fold. This is especially true for those born under the Earth sign of Taurus. But when the cosmos deals you a humdinger — and, this month, that does appear to be the case — raise ’em, baby. (Ahem: This is about your standards.) They say we can only love others as deeply as we love ourselves. On that note, have you ever tried mirror gazing? In the buff? These are rhetorical questions.

Tea leaf “fortunes” for the rest of you:

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)   

Making risotto? Stir frequently. Otherwise, don’t. 

Cancer (June 21 – July 22) 

Hint: raw oysters. 

Leo (July 23 – August 22) 

At a certain point, bending the rules becomes the game itself.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22) 

Shake before opening.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

You’re looking for more depth. How do you feel about wetsuits?

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

Coffee will only get you so far.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Don’t mistake peace for boredom. 

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Enough is enough. Read that again.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

Start by rolling up your sleeves. 

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Your gut is trying to tell you something. Best to listen.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)   

Make the first move.  OH

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.