The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
Published 8:31 am Thursday, May 17, 2018
“Pretty Little Green Thing”
By Kevin F. Wishon
Several weeks after arriving in Texas, Scott, a co-worker, invited me to join him and his friends for a meal at his favorite authentic Mexican restaurant. With the long hours we were working, I was eager to try something other than the café food we had daily. Later that evening, after meeting at his apartment, Scott drove us several miles across Dallas to the restaurant.
Once we arrived, the odor in the night air was sensational. This particular restaurant used mesquite wood to cook the food, and the smell it produced was glorious. A waiter quickly showed us to a table even though diners had nearly filled the restaurant. I was unfamiliar with the various dishes, so Scott ordered three platters of fajitas for all of us. Once they arrived, Scott’s friends wasted no time in loading their fajita bread with the accompanying selections. After watching Scott demonstrate the proper way to prepare a fajita, I joined them in the feast.
Later, as the conversation changed to a topic I had no interest in, I continued sampling the remaining items on a fajita platter. In the middle of the dish, beautiful, dark green peppers attracted my attention inviting me to try them. After tasting everything else, I picked up one of the small peppers and bit into it. Simultaneously, everyone at the table stopped talking and looked directly at me. I thought I had just committed a significant etiquette faux pas.
Their stunned expressions were unforgettable. Embarrassed, I asked, “What?” However, a stream of tears and water immediately poured out of my face. Seeing my discomfort, the waiters repeatedly filled my water glass as I emptied it seeking relief. Neither water nor tea could provide relief from the intense burning in my mouth. Thankfully, Scott handed me some fajita bread explaining how it would stop the pain, and eventually, the burning did diminish. Wiping away the last few tears, I finally managed to say, “That was painful!” Scott laughed asking, “Did you not know those were jalapeño peppers?”
“I Cannot Tell a Lie”
By Gaye Hoots
My female cousins and I saw smoke as we were walking through the woods behind my grandparent’s home. We headed in the direction of the smoke and saw our older male cousins trying to stamp out the fire in the leaves. I yelled for the three other girls to go for help and began trying to stamp out the fire that was licking around our feet. The fire did not blaze, but we were losing ground as it jumped around in the leaves. The boys were not panicked and worked hard, but despite our best efforts, it slowly spread.
My uncles soon arrived carrying buckets of water to douse the flames. My parents and aunts were close behind. My grandmother ran past Aunt Katherine with a bucket of water, sloshing half the water into Aunt Katherine’s black suede shoes. The wet shoes dyed her feet black. Everyone doused flames and returned to refill their buckets and pots. Eventually the last of the flames smoldered out with a fizz. We threw on a few extra buckets to be sure the fire did not rekindle and returned to the house to investigate the cause of the flames.
Uncle Vernon asked the boys how the fire started. The usual suspects were my cousins Odell, brothers Clyde and Owen, and R. V., Uncle Vernon’s son, who had never broken any rule or caused any problem to my knowledge. He was an only child and usually did not involve himself in any of our tomfooleries. “I started the fire,” R.V. stated.
No one believed him. My uncles Roby and Clyde questioned their sons, who denied any involvement knowing the punishment that awaited. The uncles each believed their son started the fire, and R. V. was covering for them. Everyone stuck to their story. My uncles finally told R.V. there would be no punishment if he told who started the fire. R.V. stuck to his story, too. Eventually, he convinced us he was guilty.
R.V. was a concert pianist as a child and wrote and produced an opera as an adult. He became a medical doctor. To my knowledge, that fire was the only blot on his record. He set a very good example for all of us.
By Beth Carter
I wake each morning looking out at the day,
my mind questions which events will direct my way.
Will I spend the precious hours focusing on me,
or will I help others to be all that they can be?
Yet, it is my choice, I am allowed to decide,
do I venture out, or do I just stay inside?
Is it safer, more comfortable, to keep my thoughts within?
Or must I be brave and willing to share how God has been
always directing my steps along life’s daily quest,
to become what He has deemed to be my very best?
By Marie Craig
When I was in the wonderful Surry County museum a year ago, I was intrigued by a display that had an object about 3 inches across and an inch thick. It was round but had parallel flat sides. The texture of it seemed to look like honeycomb.
This was the explanation on a nearby card. “Madstones are small, light, porous, stone-like objects. They possess definite absorptive qualities and are believed to be capable of extracting the poison from a poisonous bite, especially from a mad dog. The stone is first moistened in warm water or fresh milk and then the flat surface is applied to wounds made by mad dogs, snakes, spiders, etc. It is held in place with bandages for eight or more hours, then removed and placed in warm milk where it is said to ooze a greenish scum which is the poison coming out of the stone. Madstones were heirlooms passed down from one generation to the next, often considered the most valuable inheritance one could receive. The owner of a madstone was a revered member of a community.”
I did some more research and found that it’s actually a calcium deposit found in the stomach of a deer. I had never heard of this before but a few days later was reading an early newspaper from Davie on www.newspapers.com and found this article. (29 July 1887, Davie Times)
“A mad dog started from the neighborhood of Jericho, last Friday, on a run through Jerusalem township, biting everything in his path. He belonged to Luke Gaither, and before leaving home bit Luke’s wife and a dog belonging to Mr. C.S. Brown. Twenty-five dogs were bitten, and that many were killed. The citizens turned out and followed him with guns, pistols, axes and stick, killing him near Foard & Lindsay’s Mill on South River. It was a lively day for the Jerusalemites. Mr. J.A. Kelly sent his mad-stone to the bitten woman, but we have not learned whether it adhered to the wound or not.”
Perhaps you have inherited one of these from ancestors long ago. It is always interesting to learn how people treated illnesses and injuries in days gone by.