The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:07 am Thursday, September 20, 2018

“Pilot Creek Trail”

By N. R. Tucker

Located in Pilot Mountain State Park North Carolina, Pilot Creek Trail is an out and back trail that travels northwest of Pilot Mountain. There is a Pilot Creek Trailhead on Boyd Nelson Road, but it is also accessible from the visitor’s center in the park. I hiked from the visitor’s center out to the trailhead and back. The trail is 3.3 miles one way.

This is a hike through the woods. No waterfalls or epic views. Wooded bliss is the reward. I was fortunate in that the area had received a lot of rain before I arrived, and the result was beautiful mushrooms, lichen, and moss. The ferns were also magnificent. There was one small creek crossing, but I didn’t get my feet wet, and I doubt that the water ever gets high. Although the trail is listed as moderate, and the elevation changed a few times, I found it to be a relaxing morning hike.

When I reached the end of the trail, I was surprised to find a port-o-john at the trailhead parking. The area was clean, and hawks circled overhead, probably looking for a meal. The return trip was soothing, and I left the trail having worked up an appetite for lunch with friends.

I don’t have a recommendation for which direction to hike this trail. Although I started at the visitor’s center, the trailhead on Boyd Nelson Road would be an excellent starting point.

This is my favorite type of hike. Nothing is more relaxing to me than a walk in the woods.

“Saving My Sanity”

By Gaye Hoots

When I was younger, I wanted a challenging career. The first experience I had with this was working with special education children in the school system. Later I spent twenty-five years as a psychiatric nurse working with adolescents and adults. This provided all the challenge anyone could handle. It also provided many rich rewards and some disappointments. Now that I am retired, my family and friends keep me occupied sometimes more than I wish to be. I find myself seeking quiet and solitude more often. I often go out for breakfast, but instead of joining the crowd in the restaurants, I go thru the drive-thru and eat in my car.

     One morning this week, I went to Biscuitville. The young man who took my money called to my attention the fact that I had given him a five- dollar bill and three ones, overpaying, as I had mistaken the five for a one. It is always reassuring when someone is honest and helps restore my faith in humanity. Two female employees caught my attention as they were bending over an injured crow with only one leg. The crow could only hop but not fly. I asked if they were trying to catch the bird. They planned to get the bird to hop off the driveway to a green area under a tree, so traffic would not hit him. This seems a small gesture, but again it highlights the innate good in people.

     While eating, I watch the birds in the parking lot and throw out biscuit crumbs for them. This is something I enjoy. With a clear head and peaceful heart, I head back to my daughter’s house to spend time with the twins. I love spending time with them, but they are loud and distracting. They have the TV on while listening to loud dance music at the same time. They shout “Alexa, Alexa,” as soon as the music stops. They also play with toys that have recorded music that adds to the noise. They go at a frenzied pace until they wear themselves and me out. They hug and kiss me and vie for my attention; this is priceless. Food is next on their list and then nap time. They love their nanny, but when she announces nap time they scream bloody murder. This is my cue to leave.

     I go home for a little quiet time myself. Nap time is not a bad thing in my book. Keeping in touch with family and friends is a mixed bag. I love being with them and talking to them, but more and more, they are experiencing serious health problems. It is sad to see, but most are positive and trying to cope. Many are accepting of their mortality and bolstered by a firm belief in God.

     I prefer to stay occupied with others rather than dwell on all the things I could face as I age. None of us have a lot of control over our future. We can try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and get regular medical attention. I have tried to be more aware of risk-taking since I broke my pelvis, but I don’t worry about the future. Only God knows His plans for us.

Each day I focus on the small things in nature, child’s play, positive friendships, and family relations. I also try to remember in prayer the ones who are sick or going through a difficult time. I look for all the positive affirmations and am grateful for them.

“The Football Fanatic”

By Mike Gowen

We come across fanatics in all walks of life.  Religion and politics immediately come to mind. Music is another. If you get the chance to attend a Jimmy Buffett concert, you’ll see what I mean. Now that football season is just getting started, I’m reminded of the sports fanatic. True sports fanatics have a passion that is unequaled. You see them across all sports, but nothing compares with the football fan. No offense to soccer-loving fans, but I’m talking about American football fans.

Don’t get me wrong; I love sports. I especially love football season, college and professional. There’s nothing better than tossing back a cold beverage with friends watching a game. With that said, there are limits to my fanatic tendencies. Some people, well, they scare me. I think they scare most people.

Just the other week I was watching a game, and there was one fan with wild blue hair, blue face, eyes made up like a demon, shirt slashed to ribbons, and holding a severed doll’s head that resembled the other team’s mascot.  I couldn’t help but think to myself; “Pastor, how are people  going to take you seriously in the pulpit looking like that?”

Once upon a time you only saw fat guys drinking beer, with no shirts in subzero weather and painted letters on their chests.  For those guys, it’s probably as much about showing how macho they are as it is about being a fan. Those guys are still there.  Today, women are getting drunk and taking their shirts off, too. But I was raised not to talk about family. Today, many fans are wearing elaborate costumes and makeup.

I used to have season football tickets to a local college.  There were about twenty people in our group, and we had one guy who would go all out on game day.  We’re talking face paint, wig, props, and the works.  Then one year, he just calmed down. It takes a lot to calm down a sports fanatic, so I asked around and found out he had gotten married. That’s when you hear a little voice that says, “You’re not wearing that are you?” Before you know it, you’re showing up at games in khakis and a pullover sweater.

I guess as long as no one gets hurt, you’re not downright offensive, and you maintain some semblance of sportsmanship, go ahead and enjoy yourself. If the Panthers make it to the Super Bowl, I might even join you!

  “A Special Lock”

By Marie Craig

Another box to investigate in my campaign to declutter.

Here’s my dad’s old lock for his toolbox.

I find one just like it on eBay for $7 plus postage.

But this one I hold in my hand is priceless.

It’s described as a vintage barrel combination lock.

There’s a U-shaped metal piece about two inches long that inserts into the barrel which has rotating dials with numbers.

I wonder how many times he opened this lock to get his tools for his wood-working job.

I wonder how many times he was tired and his ears rang with the noisy, dangerous machines, all to provide for himself, my mother, and me.

I wonder how many times he went to work sick because of the value of money and keeping his job.

Later, when the lock wasn’t needed at work, I used to play with it.

Now, as I turn the dials, I wonder if I can open it.

I turn a few numbers with my fingers.

Then, a few dials in my head turn, and the number 975 appears.

I try that combination, and the lock opens.

It’s been many years since I used those numbers.

I remember the combination, and I remember the hard work of my father.

“Memory at the Mill House”

By Kevin F. Wishon

Curious things happen occasionally, and with all the bad in life, it’s easy to forget these remarkable moments. Several months ago, I glanced at a photograph of myself I keep near my writing desk. As much as I dislike photos of myself, I appreciate a friend’s perceptiveness in capturing the moment. For me, the picture prompts many good memories.

     The photo is of a moment in the early fall of 1996. I had recently purchased a computer and wanted to access the Internet for the first time. Immediately, I encountered a predicament with obtaining a telephone connection for the modem. The house where I lived had straight wiring with no phone jacks. After mentioning this problem to a friend, he invited me to attempt a connection in a home in Cooleemee. Since his family member was on vacation, he was housesitting for them. My friend explained how I could easily access the Internet through the home’s upgraded phone wiring.

     Additionally, he wanted to enjoy the experience with me. After running an extension cord, a phone line, and covering the dining room table with the computer hardware, I set about loading all the software required to access the Internet through a local Internet service provider. At this moment, my friend unexpectedly aimed his camera and took the picture. I gave him an annoyed look, which he dismissed. He said the photo was merely an acknowledgment of the moment. Later, he gave me a copy of the photo, which I kept.

     To my friend’s credit, he must have known something I did not. Several years later, the house was moved to its current location at 163 Cross Street, Cooleemee, NC. Transformed back to its 1930s glory, the home is now the Cooleemee Mill House Museum. Recently, I had an opportunity to walk once more through the old restored home. Memories returned to me, as I walked from room to room. I held the photo in my hand expecting to find that familiar place in the kitchen relatively similar to the photograph. However, I did not discover it to be as I remembered. With the restoration, the room was different now. It was silly for me to have expected it to be the same after the splendid restoration the house underwent. As I age, I regularly have to remind myself that very few things remain the same as time passes.