The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:33 am Thursday, October 11, 2018

“Broken Pieces”

By Julie Terry Cartner

As she swept up the shattered shards of her once lovely vase, Jessie reflected on the broken mess of a life that she was living. The vase could never be repaired, but could she? How had it come to this? Thoughts flew through her brain like the snippets of pictures in a collage. Like her life, the pictures were partial, cut in pieces by the choices she’d made.

She first thought of her family, pretty much the quintessential American family: Dad, the former football player, gruff and muscled on the outside, soft and kind on the inside, Mom, the petite cheerleader, falling for the big, burly man and making a homey life for her family, and her sister, petite like Mom, following in her footsteps, now cheering on a college scholarship. Then she came along, taking after her mom in build but with no desire to follow the all-American life. No cheerleading for her, she wanted to change the world, save the environment and defend the defenseless. She wanted to make a difference. She studied hard, made good grades, then made the worst choice of her life.

She fell in love. He’d looked like a dream, all bright white smiles, collared shirts and gentlemanly manners. He talked to her parents, followed her curfew, and treated her with respect. He seemed to be a parents’ dream date for their daughter, and they never worried when she was out with Matt. She thought she’d found a prince on her first try. Until that one night, the night everything changed. The first night he’d hit her. He’d turned into a frog.

The memories came faster then, how he’d apologized, said he’d had a rough day, and he was so very sorry that he’d taken it out on her. It would never happen again.

But it had. The time he got a parking ticket. The time he hadn’t gotten the promotion he expected. The time his basketball team lost. The time he’d ripped his new shirt. The time she’d been late coming home from work. The excuses were varied, but that’s all they were. Excuses.

She’d made her own bad choices. She’d chosen to not go to college. She’d chosen to continue her job as a server at a local restaurant because the tips were so good. She’d chosen to stay with him even as her mind warred with her head – love versus sense. She’d chosen to cut off her family when it became a “me or them” situation. She’d realized that he’d slowly cut her off from all of her friends under the guise of “I want you all to myself.”

Now she was single, friendless, pregnant with no real job skills, and living with a man who terrified her. What would he break next? She’d ducked reflexively when he threw the vase at her, but what about the next time? His anger was escalating. She feared he was drinking too much or using drugs. Maybe both.

She knew she had to make a decision before it was too late, and the choices were taken out of her hands. She pictured her parents the last time she had seen them, anguished faces questioning “Why?” as she packed her clothes and walked out of her house. Would they forgive her? Would they allow her to go back home? Rubbing the swell in her abdomen, feeling a love like she had never felt before, she knew she had no choice. For the sake of the baby, if not for her own life, she picked up the telephone.

“Mom,” she said with a quaver in her voice, “May I come home?”

“Into the Daylight”

By N. R. Tucker

Spider webs. Witches in the sky.

Wolves howl in the moonlight.

Skeletons walk, and crows will fly.

Run into the daylight.

Snakes in the grass slither away.

Vampires play with a bite.

Creepy crawlies hide from the day.

Run into the daylight.

Demon, goblin, and even ghost

They all prefer the night.

They each require a living host.

Run into the daylight.

“The Picnic”

By Linda Barnette

When I was growing up here in Mocksville, life was usually quiet and simple, very routine in a way.  We went to school, did homework, helped around the house, ate dinner every evening with our families, and looked forward to playing with friends, going to a game or some other social event, going to church, and things like this that seem rather mundane to children growing up now who are over-scheduled and always busy.

However, the biggest event of every summer, along with our annual week at Myrtle Beach, was the Masonic Picnic.  My dad was not a Mason, so we never went to the Thursday luncheons and speeches by visiting politicians and other folks.  My friends and I went to the picnic every evening for the week that it was here.  There were rides such as the ferris wheel, the tilt-a-whirl, swings and other rides, including the carousel, which I loved even as an older teenager.  On grounds covered in sawdust we walked around to the various games and enjoyed snow cones and cotton candy.  I remember throwing some balls and winning a little stuffed animal one time.

As a young girl, I got a job at Rintz’s dime store.  Other than the money that I had to spend for Saturday lunches at the Davie Café, I saved my 35 cents –an- hour salary for picnic week. Those were fun times and the best week of every summer until I left for college in 1959.  After that, I suppose we felt too grown up to do such childish things as going to the picnic.  Even though we didn’t have cars, we borrowed our parents’ vehicles and thus began a whole new phase of life.

Yet those special memories of special times and special people remain in my heart, and as every August rolls around, in my mind I go back to the picnic and remember the fun that we had.

“Some Historical Kraut”

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Sauerkraut ranks high among a list of foods rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for healthy gums, teeth, and strong bones. The food’s good health related benefits have been recognized for over 200 years. In June of 1863, during the Civil War, the town of Chambersburg, PA was captured by Southern troops. General Harmon of the Confederate army demanded from city fathers to be supplied with 25 barrels of sauerkraut. Of course, the local authorities thought the southern soldiers were joking. During those days, sauerkraut was prepared in the autumn and eaten in winter. However, Harmon knew sauerkraut had both curative and preventive properties, so he made clear the seriousness of the request as his soldiers were suffering from scurvy