The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:36 am Thursday, March 7, 2019

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“Who Was Levi Branson?”

By Marie Benge Craig

In 1832, there was a very ambitious baby boy born in Randolph County, North Carolina. His name was Levi Branson. As an adult, he was an educator, a principal, a writer, an editor, a publisher of children’s school books, and a Methodist minister. He was married and had four children who lived to adulthood. He died in 1903 and is buried in Raleigh.

How does this have anything to do with Davie County? He published eight volumes with data about all of the counties in North Carolina. The years described were 1867, 1868, 1869, 1872, 1878, 1884, 1890, and 1896. The volumes differ in emphasis, but studying each of the volumes about Davie County gives much insight to the population, the government, the names of hotels, names of post office clerks, manufactories, mills, merchants, mines, schools, prosperous farmers, physicians, churches, and ministers.

Some of the more amazing facts you’ll learn is that in 1878, there were five gold mines and one lead mine in Davie County.  In 1884, there were 14 tobacco factories, and in1890, there were 14 distilleries in our county. The church information was very interesting. Sometimes one minister served more than one church. You will be amazed, as I was, that in 1869 the Rev. J.E. Mann was minister of nine different Methodist churches!

If you want to read these Davie sections from the eight volumes, I put them on the GenWeb site I edit at  Scroll down to the section “Business Directories” and click on “Branson Business Directories.” There are 39 pages from the Davie County sections of his directories.

If you are interested in Davie County history, you will enjoy studying this set of data.

“Perplexity by Deception Inc.”

By Kevin F. Wishon

Kenny rolls back from his desk and sighs. Raising his arms, he yawns and stretches simultaneously. The time now reads two-thirty on his computer. He has completed absolutely nothing today. Was it the long vacation weekend he took? Why is he feeling this way? Struggling to focus, Kenny directs his attention at the computer screen as he scrolls through a list of current news articles looking for just the right one. Maybe he could rewrite this one. No, that news item is too complicated. Another header catches his eye, and he is about to open it when a voice breaks his concentration.

     “Seen Kenny around here today? I swear I thought I saw him come in. Yet, here it is two-thirty and I haven’t received anything from him. Would you let him know I’m looking for him?”

“Stop with your sarcasm, Luthor. I really don’t need to hear it today.”

“Look, I’ve edited nearly two pieces of debauchery from everybody in this department today except for you. What gives?” Luthor stares at Kenny hoping to draw out the reason for his unproductiveness.

     “I don’t know. I just can’t get my head in the game today.”

“Look, Kenny, we’re providing a service here. Our clients are relying on us to guide people towards a truth. Without our consistent flow of augmented news, who knows what the people might believe? I need you to get your head and heart back in this game, as you call it.”

Kenny pauses and then says, “I don’t know. Are we doing the right thing? Am I doing the right thing?”

“You know, I occasionally get asked this question, and my answer is always the same.” Luthor pauses looking to see if he has Kenny’s complete attention.

“People need to be led to the truth. They need someone to hold their hand and explain this big bad world in a way that doesn’t scare or confuse them. We give them what they need to know and shield them from the rest. We keep their minds occupied with benign controversy to keep them out of trouble. If it helps, just think of them as children. Parents lie to their children all the time. They know children don’t need to know everything.”

On the surface, Luthor’s explanation seems to make sense. It smoothly simplifies and justifies what Kenny does every day while making him feel good about it. It seems to feel right but not entirely. Deep down he knows something is wrong. “It sounds good, but for some reason, it doesn’t feel right.” Briefly, Luthor appears annoyed. Then his face becomes stern. “Tell me, who are you? Who are you really? Are you Kenny, or are you the 2ruthKil3r I recruited over a year ago? Kenny looks into Luthor’s glaring eyes. Luthor continues, “I hired you because I believed your hacker name personified who you were. Are you telling me you are someone else now?”

Kenny swallows hard and tries to relax under Luthor’s glare. “No. I’m still 2ruthKil3r. I guess I’m just letting semantics bother me instead of looking at the bigger picture. Don’t worry Luthor. I’ll send you something before the end of the day.” Luthor grins and pushes off the office doorframe. “That’s more like it. And, if any more semantics begin to bother you, I want to know about it ASAP. You got it?” “Yes. I will let you know, Luthor.” Kenny leans back in his office chair and sighs as Luthor turns and disappears down the hallway. At this moment, Kenny becomes aware of a profound realization. He can no longer work here. His days are numbered. Kenny must quit before they realize he’s no longer one of them.


By Gaye Hoots

I was working as a teacher’s aide to the special education teacher at Shady Grove when I decided to attend nursing school. The teacher I worked with was very talented and found a way to reach each child we worked with. I loved working with this population and found it very rewarding. The only reason I returned to school to resume my high school plans to attend nursing school was monetary. As a single mother of two girls, it was hard to provide for them on my salary.

During high school, I had taken the courses necessary to qualify for nursing school and was accepted at Forsyth Tech into a twenty-one month RN program. The experience was grueling. We started with a class with about one-third of the students over twenty-five years. Only half the class graduated. Most of the graduates were older persons. State boards followed graduation.

I was hired as a graduate nurse and after passing boards became a RN. The day I notified my employer I had passed boards, I was given the assignment of charge nurse on a combined unit consisting of an open psychiatric ward and an acute respiratory unit. There were young, physically healthy patients on one ward who wanted to end their life and patients on the other ward begging God for their next breath.

My next move was to a locked psychiatric unit, my choice of the two units available. I liked the unit and staff but heard the Veteran’s Hospital was hiring, so I applied there because the pay was much better.

I will never forget that interview. The nurse interviewing me had a military bearing and a very stern demeanor. She addressed me with, “Are you aware that you have the least education and experience of anyone applying for this position?”

Taking a deep breath, I responded, “Given that I just graduated from a two-year nursing school a few months ago and have been employed only four months since passing my boards, I am not surprised. Were you aware of this when you scheduled this interview?”

She asked a few more questions and hired me. I worked for two years, and the VA paid for my bachelor’s degree with the agreement that I work a minimum of two years in the VA system after completing the degree. I completed the program at Winston-Salem State.

Later I attended UNCG and graduated with a Masters in Nursing Education with a Psychiatric focus. This degree enabled me to work in a broader area including teaching. I enjoyed teaching but preferred the clinical area. The program taught me a lot, but I learned more from the patients.

Most of my career was spent working in mental health. This is an area that is sadly neglected in my opinion. Many crimes are committed by people who I believe need treatment. The last five years of my career were spent with a population who were constantly being confined to jail or a psychiatric unit. We gave them their medications daily if necessary. This was not a miracle cure, but it did cut the time they spent in jail or inpatient care. This support is needed as well as programs to screen at a much younger age. Sadly these programs are dealing with inadequate funding. Nursing encompasses a very broad area and is very demanding. It was rewarding for me but full of challenges.