The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 11:40 am Thursday, April 11, 2019

“Farkle, A Game of Chance”

By N. R. Tucker

A few years ago, I was introduced to Farkle, an ancient dice game. It’s a simple strategy game requiring six dice and a way to keep score. Each player rolls the dice as long as they continue to acquire points. At least one dice from each roll must be a point dice, but the player can stop at any time and add to his score. The goal is to be the first person to 10,000. Points are based on combinations much like poker, with points awarded for rolling a straight, three of a kind, three sets of pairs, and so on. One constant is that each one is worth one hundred points and each five is worth fifty points. If your roll does not result in points – fives, ones, or approved combinations – you have a Farkle, and the dice pass to the next person. If a Farkle is rolled with all six dice at once, a “six-die Farkle” has been made, and all players must throw their hands in the air, wiggle back and forth, yelling “six-die Farkle.” The exact point spread varies depending on which set of rules is used.

One theory of the origins of the game says Sir Albert Farkle played the first game in 14th century Iceland, and the first published reference to Farkle is found in a festival directory printed during the time of Shakespeare. Some Texans have their own theory. They believe the dice were carved out of “Farkleberries” and that the name came from an expletive one might utter while rolling the dice.

We don’t own an official Farkle game set. I grabbed some extra dice we had lying around and looked up the rules online. It was vital that I find a set of rules that matched the ones our extended family uses when we gather and play games. Less confusing that way. While searching online for instructions, I found a reference to the game as played in the royal courts in France and England. Apparently, there was a limit of eighty-six players because “Anymore than that, and it’s just way too long before you get to roll the dice again.” The logistics of that many players interested me. Who kept score? And more importantly, who tracked down the court members who were playing when it was their turn with the dice? I doubt they were standing around watching and waiting for their turn with the dice. I have visions of seventy-three inebriated individuals rolling dice trying to reach 10,000 points, too drunk to remember their score or read the dice.

“The People of Church Street”

By Linda Barnette

When I was growing up, there were several families on Church Street. On the right side going down the hill were the Thompson’s, the Methodist parsonage, the R. B. Sanford’s, two rental houses, Marsh Dwiggins, our house, and the Shore house. On the other side from the bottom to the top of the street were the Craven’s, the two Wall houses, Reverend and Mrs. Avett, my grandparents, great-grandparents, the Blackwelders, Murphy’s, and the James families. Some of these folks I knew pretty well; others not so much.  I will share some of the ones I knew.

My great-grandfather, Bill Dwiggins, as others called him, was old when I was growing up.  He was a widower at that time as he had lost his wife in 1943.  He lived until 1952, so I got to know him fairly well. He was quite short, wore glasses, and had a white mustache.  As I was growing up, I was taller than he was.  He came over to my grandmother’s house every evening for dinner.  He had several occupations during his lifetime, but the one he liked to talk about was selling pianos for Sanford’s store uptown. You can imagine my delight when I read about him selling a player piano to the Moore’s on North Main Street in Jamie Moore’s Growing up in Davie County, which I was going through at the Davie County Public Library last week!  In any case, I started taking piano lessons when I was a child, and “Pomp,” as we called him, encouraged me in that hobby.  On Sunday mornings he always listened to a radio show called “Renfro Valley,” from a place in Kentucky, and he loved the preaching and the singing. I still treasure the music book that he ordered from that program along with others that he gave me, and I still play the music in them for my own pleasure.

One other thing that I remember clearly was his Ford car.  In those days we would all pile into that black car and go uptown to watch folks and get an ice cream cone at Wilkins drugstore.  The car had a rumble seat in it, which I sometimes had to ride in.  I still remember my embarrassment about that.  Obviously, I had no clue that the car was worth a good deal of money! I also know that he had a job as a revenuer, which meant that he had to go around to all of the places in the county that sold whiskey and certify that they had all paid their taxes.  I can just picture him riding around in that little Ford car!!  I wish I had been older so that we could have discussed his life in more detail.

He was a man of faith, having grown up at Center United Methodist Church, which lists his early ancestor as one of the founders of that church.  I recall his saying when times were rough that “the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” He always said the blessing before meals.  When he passed away, I remember that the family brought him back to his home.  I also remember being very uncomfortable with that!

He also served on the Mocksville Town Board during his years in town.  So far, I have not been able to find the exact dates; however, I am proud to know that he believed in service to his fellow citizens.

“The Hope, the Gift, the Promise”

By Julie Terry Cartner

Spring has arrived, and not a moment too soon. After a rocky start with snow pouring down from the skies just a few days ago, spring seems to now be firmly established. Budding trees in a multitude of shades of green cover the landscape and lean their graceful arms down to the ground or stretch languidly towards the heavens. A host of wildflowers add deep hues of purple, yellow and pink to the awakening earth, and numerous wild animals scan the forest for shelter for their newly arriving offspring.

Watching the nesting birds swoop and swirl through the air in their ancient courtship dances of spring, then diligently carry twigs, grasses, and other materials to build their nests, I allow myself to hope.

After days of mourning, grief sometimes too unbearable to recount, the desolation of loss gaining too much power over shattered hearts, I look with hope as violets, and other wildflowers dot the woodlands. Their message is unmistakable. Winter will come into our lives and temporarily freeze the world; yes, it’s true. And even with the loveliness of white crystals of snow drifting down from the sky, life still goes dormant from time to time.

Regardless, no matter how dark and hopeless the winter may seem, spring will always arrive. The snow will melt, the streams will once again run joyously across the rocks and shimmer in pools of loveliness. Flowers will bud, and trees will emerge victorious, with new green shoots laden with tender leaves. May apples will emerge from sun-warmed soil to push their furled umbrella-like stalks towards the sky and slowly uncurl their protective leaves. And when it seems the best has arrived, tiny “apples” will appear beneath the protective greenery, proving once again that life is full of gifts and treasures.

Life will go on. It will not be as it was, and sometimes the pain of loss will bring you to your knees, but tomorrow the sun will rise, splashing its outrageous colors over the fields and trees. And soon tiny eggs will fill the carefully constructed nests, and trees will turn a darker green with leaves large enough to shelter its charges. Fawns will stand on wobbly legs, and baby squirrels and rabbits will cautiously peer out of fur-lined nests. A new generation will emerge, and life, though different, will still be beautiful.