The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
Published 9:25 am Thursday, February 15, 2018
By Sandra Vance
This morning my mama said “PeeBee, you were so funny last night. I think you had a dream.” I do not know what is a dream so I do not know if I was funny or not. My mama said that I said “woof” and my feet just ran and ran while I was asleep! I do kinda remember chasing a squirrel and not being able to catch it even though I ran fast! But maybe not really. My mama said that it is OK to dream and that humans dream too. I don’t think my mama would dream of chasing a squirrel! That would be funny! Yesterday was wet and cold, so I was inside for a long time, but then the rain stopped and so I went outside to be cool and get some air. That’s what my mama calls it when I go outside. I went into my outside house (it is round and white and has stuff in it that smells GOOD!) and lay down and stuck my head out so I could see what was going on while I was outside ’cause sometimes a big brown truck comes, and a man puts stuff on our porch and I MUSTBARKATHIM! But no one came yesterday. So, the sun is here today, and I am going outside. I will lay in the sun and sleep, and then I will eat and then I will maybe go inside. Then daddy will come home and pet me and rub my head and make me feel good! But now I am going to sleep. Mama says that I sleep a little more than I used to sleep but that’s O.K. She says I am getting old and that’s why I sleep. I think mama takes naps, too. Well, I am closing my eyes now. Maybe I will do that dream thing again! ZZZZZZZZZ!
So sayth PeeBee The Dog.
By Julie Terry Cartner
Reaching into the back of the closet, Maeve pulled out the box. It was clearly old and well worn. One edge of the lid had broken completely off and the corners were creased and colorless. She should have put the contents in one of those new plastic sealed containers, but somehow it didn’t seem right. Surely old memories belonged in old boxes.
With quivering hands, she dug gently into the box, past the old letters, past the faded hair ribbon, past the shamrocks and the pressed flowers. Simple memories from a simpler time. Finally, her seeking hands found what she sought, and she drew it gently from the recesses of the box. The tiny wooden horse was no more than two inches in height, its head held high, mane and tail blowing as if in a breeze, and hooves ready to prance across the floor. Holding it gently in one hand, she rubbed her fingers down the familiar path, from its velvety nose down his satiny back, worn smooth from years of handling.
Maeve only allowed herself this voyage into sentimentality once a year, on Valentine’s Day, the day for lovers, both young and old. She remembered the day as if it were yesterday even though other memories were sometimes as faded as the old box. For a moment she was seventeen again, head held proudly as the wind whipped her silky red hair across her face. She was standing on the bluffs behind her house, waiting for him. When he came running to her across the field, she could see he was holding something in his hand. Just barely breathing hard, he had taken her hand and asked her to walk with him. As they turned to meander across the fields and down the rocky face of the cliffs by Galloway Bay, he had, as always, stayed between her and the open cliffs, promising with his eyes and heart that he would always keep her safe.
When they reached their place, a rock worn smooth by time and tides, he took off his coat for her to sit on. She gathered her skirts around her and sat on the stone as humbly as a peasant girl, but as regally as a queen. Taking her face in his warm hands, he kissed her, and by the look in his eyes, she knew.
“You’re leaving then?” she asked. Even knowing the answer; she had to hear it from his lips.
“Ah love, you know I must,” was his broken-hearted reply. “You know I love you, but here I am only a stable hand. I will go to America and find a way to make a good living, then I will send for you. We will start our own stable and one day our horses will be known far and wide. If you still want me, you can come to me then and we will share the rest of our lives together.”
Maeve willed herself not to cry as she looked deeply into his gentle blue eyes. She had no doubt that he loved her, but pride was evident in his stance. He would not ask her to go with him until he had the means to support her. He would not let her work with him, side by side; in his mind, she should never have to work. Even so, she had to try one more time. “Take me with you now,” she pleaded.
“You know I cannot,” was all he said.
Nodding sadly she replied, “I know you will not. But know this, James, I will wait for you. I will come to you when you send for me. I love you; you are my heart. When do you leave?”
“I go with the next tide; I’ve just come to say goodbye, then I must get to the boat. But before I leave, I made this horse for you, a Valentine’s present. It’s not much, but I wanted to leave something to watch over you. He’s small, but he’s made with love. I hope he will keep you safe while I’m not here to do so. And Maeve, nothing will keep me from you. Stay strong, my love, and we’ll be together soon.”
One more kiss of promise and then he was gone. She didn’t cry, not then, nor when she learned his ship had been wrecked on the rocky shores of America, a mere few miles from his destination, his body never recovered. Years passed and she did her duty to her family; she married and gave birth to three healthy sons and two daughters. When her husband died and her children were settled into their own lives and marriages, she packed her bags and moved to America, settling near Boston, close to where he perished. She chose a small house, close to the water where she could see the waves crashing on the rocky coast, so similar to those in Galloway Bay.
Maybe she still held hope that he had survived and had made a life for himself, or maybe she knew he was gone. But either way, every day she made her way to the cliff’s path and longingly looked to the sea, searching for the only man she truly loved. And once a year, on the anniversary of the day he left, she allowed herself to delve into her box, retrieve the horse he had so tenderly made for her, and relive the memories of her heart. “One day soon, my love,” she murmured softly to herself, “we will be together again.” With that, she closed her eyes and slept, her hand wrapped gently around a wooden horse lovingly made so many years ago.
“The Good Old Days”
Written for Nathan
By Linda Barnette
When I was your age, I really did have to walk almost a mile to and from school in all kinds of weather. I felt like the mailman except for the “dark of night” part. My dad went to work early at the mill in Cooleemee, and my mother stayed at home although she had no car. So I walked to elementary school on Cherry Street and to the 9th grade at the Brock until the new high school was built in 1956. By then we were a 2-car-2-job family, but I had to ride the bus. I didn’t mind at all, and it wouldn’t have mattered if I had. Teens did not have cars when I was growing up either.
In elementary school, we had these very uncomfortable old wooden desks and wrote on thin, lined paper. When I once made a mistake copying the numbers 1-100, I erased and ruined my paper! Everything was very regimented and strict. Nobody dared to misbehave much although I did get in trouble one time in first grade. The girl who lived next door was also in my class at school as well as a playmate at home. Although I don’t remember why, I do remember throwing a rock at her on the playground during recess. Miss Owens saw me do it, of course, and my punishment was to sit on the stage in the middle of the building for the rest of the day so that everybody who went by could see me. Miss Owens did not tell my parents, and I did not confess for several years. That incident cured me of my wicked ways!
We did not have any electronics then. My cousins, neighbors, and I played outside all the time. My dad converted one of my great-grandfather’s chicken houses, which stood where I now live, into a playhouse. It was our neighborhood gathering place where we enjoyed playing school, dress-up, newspaper reporters and so on. My friend Dianne and I once went down the street and asked all of the ladies if they had any old clothes we could have. Of course, mother found out and put an end to that! We also rode our bikes and learned to skate on the double sidewalk at the Methodist Church. We spent many hours playing in the woods next to my grandparents’ house where we fished in the little creek and had what we liked to call “adventures.”
One of the biggest differences between then and now is that we stayed at home most of the time. From following friends on Facebook I see how busy children are. They take all kinds of lessons, go to games, and often go away for the weekends. During my childhood getting to go somewhere besides school and church was a big deal. My family always went to Myrtle Beach once a year and to the mountains a few times every summer, especially to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sometimes we would go to Tanglewood, or Reynolds Park, or to a place called Mirror Lake in Rowan County for church functions, but more often we went to Rich Park for picnics. The biggest events of each year were Bible School and the Masonic Picnic. We didn’t have fast food in those days either. Our mothers cooked dinner in the evenings. I don’t feel at all deprived either because we spent a lot of time with our families and friends and learned to be happy with ourselves and our imaginations. I loved reading and music and writing in my journal and could entertain myself then as I can now.
Looking back, I think the good old days were really golden days of youth and innocence before we left to go out into the big world beyond Mocksville.
By Stephanie Dean
You never forgot to bring me a valentine,
Placed next to my plate at supper time.
A card in envelope, lovingly signed by you,
With a big, red, heart-shaped box of candy too.
How blessed and fortunate to have a dad who
So many loving things, he would say and do.
I think of all the little girls, there’s quite a few,
With no father present or one not kind like you.
Each precious girl needs to be told, she is loved,
Beautiful and adored, and treated like gold.