The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:30 am Thursday, December 27, 2018

“Anything But Bored”

By Kevin F. Wishon

Some time ago at a family gathering, one of my cousins was telling me about his son’s daily habits.

“When he isn’t in school, he usually has his nose in that iPad. If he gets tired of playing games, then he will say: Dad, I’m bored.”

After several moments of reflection, I replied, “That’s pretty brave of him to tell you he’s bored. I was too scared to tell my dad I was bored. I knew what his answer would be.” My cousin and I laughed, agreeing his and my dad both had a cure for boredom.

Across from me, another cousin shuddered at my comment.

“Oooh! I didn’t even want to get caught looking bored.” His dad had been a military drill instructor, which made his reaction more profound. Mocking his dad’s stern military voice, he said, “Boy, you look bored! Is that boredom I see in your eyes? You know no one in this house is allowed to look bored!”

Continuing, he switched to his childhood voice. “No. No Dad. I’m not bored, Not at all.” His dad would conclude by saying, “Well, if you start to feel bored, you just let me know. I specialize in keeping people from looking bored.”

All three of us dissolved into a hearty round of laughter. Remembering how we feared extra chores as punishment brought back a rush of memories all three of us had experienced. Now, with many of our dads passing away, I’m sure, we would gladly have our dads punish us with a half-dozen chores, just once more.

“Christmas Music”

By Marie Craig

I collect Christmas songs.  I have a lot of them and really enjoy playing them on the piano.  The Davie County Singing Seniors sing Christmas music every December, and it is a joy to see the residents of care centers sing along with us and get nostalgic expressions on their faces.

    When we sing “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, lean your ear this way; don’t you tell a single soul what I’m going to say” I am instantly transported back to my fourth-grade classroom.  I see the cut-out figures displayed in each cold window pane. There’s the scrawny pine tree with paper rings made into a chain and the yellow paper star on top. I can see it all.

The song “Silver Bells, Silver Bells, it’s Christmas Time in the City” gives me a backward look at the street decorations and shop windows in Black Mountain, my hometown.  The few general stores show their wares in the windows, and shoppers are enticed to go in for a closer look.

I can hear “Oh Holy Night” and I’m sitting in front of our chunky TV and there’s Perry Como with his smooth, sincere voice singing that great song and then wishing us Merry Christmas.

I’m instantly at the Methodist Church when I hear “Angels from the Realms of Glory”, and I’m in junior choir with the white choir robes and big purple bows that my mother made for me and my friends.  Luckily, nobody gets the giggles, and we sing like the angels themselves.

    In amongst all this music on my shelves, there’s a copy of “The Messiah” by Handel.  My name is written on the front in fountain pen. I’ve sung or followed along using this book many times.  What a delight to own a copy of this and to know what an inspired work it is.

Music, year around, is very special to me, but Christmas music is the greatest!

“New Year’s Eve”

By Mike Gowen

Another year is drawing to a close which means it is time for everyone to start thinking about how they are planning to bring in the New Year. Over the years, it is interesting to reflect on the ways I have done this. More years ago than I care to remember in rural Virginia, we would run outside at midnight and fire shotguns into the air. To this day I’m not sure why? It’s a tradition I’m sure my neighbors in Advance, not to mention local law enforcement, are happy to know ended with my adolescence. As a young adult, bringing in the New Year required finding the right party to attend. Local hotels used to throw extravagant shindigs with party favors, cash bars, and a band to help ring in the New Year. Champagne toasts at midnight and the party favors were yours to take home.

When the luster of going out on the town began to wane, my wife and I found great comfort in Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  Enjoying the entertainment while waiting for the ball to drop in New York’s Times Square became a new and much safer tradition. Dick Clark is no longer with us, but his New Year’s Eve party continues, and will likely be on our television again this year. Thanks to technology we can even rewind if we happen to fall asleep and miss the ball dropping.

In recent years we have celebrated bringing in the New Year with family, and friends from England. Our English friends introduced us to a tradition called first-foot. Popular in Northern England and Scotland, it involves someone waiting outside of the house until the stroke of midnight. When the clock strikes twelve, the first-footer enters the home bringing gifts, such as coins, bread, coal, and drink. The coins are meant for prosperity in the coming year, the bread for food, coal for warmth, and drink for celebration. Regardless of how you choose to bring in the New Year, sharing the moment with those you care about will get 2019 off to a great start.