The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 8:47 am Friday, August 2, 2019

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“A Teacher’s Thrill”

By Julie Terry Cartner

Being a teacher has many rewards, but the greatest reward is seeing a student succeed. Not many feelings are greater than working with a student on something challenging, then seeing when the light bulb goes off as understanding finally sparks. The reward comes from the students’ successes, from the joy in their eyes when they have achieved a goal, regardless of how much or little input the teacher actually had.

Several years ago, a young man came up to me the first day of school, politely introduced himself, and told me that he’d already committed to playing baseball for the South Carolina Gamecocks. He wanted me to know, so we could both make sure his grades would stay where they needed to be. I remember at the time being so impressed with his manners and his drive. Throughout the semester, as I got to know Whit Merrifield better, I remained impressed. He was hard-working, unfailingly courteous, and unbelievably focused for one so young.

When Whit graduated, I followed his career through his college years and delighted in his success. Then he was drafted for the pros, and I watched him fight for a position on one of the major league teams. His rise to success was not without detours, but finally, Whit earned a starting position with the Kansas City Royals. Now he’s in commercials, he has his own bobblehead, and he was selected for a position in the All-Stars Game. Not bad for a boy from Davie County.

My husband and I went to the Braves/Royals game last Wednesday for the opportunity to see Whit play second base. We got to the stadium early and happened to catch Whit at batting practice. After he took his turn, he came over to the fence and spoke to me. This professional baseball player took the time to speak to his former English teacher. He’s still the well-mannered young man I met in my English classroom many years ago.

Our second thrill was when we learned that Jeremy Walker, another Davie boy, was called up to play on the Braves team that day. A pitcher, Jeremy didn’t get to play in the game, but he was still there, warming up in the bullpen with the other pitchers. Again, what a pleasure. After the game was over, his family was able to join him on the field for pictures. The smiles on all their faces warmed my heart and my teachers’ soul. I didn’t have the opportunity to teach Jeremy, but as a War Eagle, he was still one of mine as well as belonging to every other teacher.

Many people do not understand that once a student has passed through our doors, that student is ours for life. We delight in their successes, we grieve in their hardships. Wednesday night was one of the joyous times. I had such a thrill seeing these two fine young men living out their dreams. Congratulations and best wishes to Whit Merrifield and Jeremy Walker. You make Davie County High School proud.

“Church Street Today”

By Linda Barnette

In 1998 after having lived in Garden Valley for a long time and realizing that we wouldn’t always be able to navigate all of those steps, John and I decided to downsize.  We built a house on a lot on Church Street that I inherited from my parents. Since that time, there have been many changes to Mocksville. The population has grown; there are new businesses, several new housing developments, and restaurants; there are almost constant activities, etc. Many of our friends have moved on to other places; some have passed away. We have grown old, and nothing is like it used to be.

Here on Church Street, almost all of the neighbors are much younger than we are. There is not much interaction between all of us, and certainly no gardens where people gather outside and visit. They are all very nice, but most of them work and have children and are busy. I certainly remember that time in my life also.

The family homes all belong to other people now, and a couple of them have been beautifully restored by the family that bought them. One cousin, Alice Hanes, lives on the street also, but she is the only other family member here.

I recall talking one Sunday afternoon after church to the late Hugh Larew about moving back to Church Street, and he asked me why I wanted to do that and cautioned me about it. Of course, I paid no attention, but he was right.  Thomas Wolfe was also correct when he titled his most famous book “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Sometimes, though, like John-Boy Walton, I seem to hear the voices of those whom I once loved and will see again one day. They seem to beckon me to stroll along the street again, visiting those who are long gone.

The lesson here is that everything changes, so we must try to change with the times and places we are in or live with our memories.

“Where Are You Going?”

By N.R. Tucker

One of my favorite quotes is from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” This is a paraphrased quote from a conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat. You can find this quote everywhere in social media. If you want to cruise around, and the destination truly doesn’t matter, head out. If, however, your goal is to accomplish something, leaving before you know where you’re going will waste time.

This advice isn’t just for travel. Starting a task without the end in mind is also a bad idea. In elementary school, I was impatient and always wanted to finish first, as if that was the goal. I repeatedly started before the teacher finished giving directions. As you can imagine, I frequently missed important information and had to redo my work.

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” More sage advice from Carroll’s book. This time the warning is to stop when you’ve completed a task. Another quirk I can claim is continuing to work on something that is done. Yes, there’s always room for improvement, but overthinking an assignment can be as destructive as underthinking one. There comes a time when any change you make will either introduce errors or reduce the effectiveness of a project.

Alice said, “I don’t think…”  “Then, you shouldn’t talk,” said the Hatter. No matter the situation, thinking before speaking is a wonderful piece of advice.

The Queen said, “…sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” As a writer of fantasy and science fiction, I must agree that I believe many impossible things. Hopefully, I restrict those beliefs to my books and the worlds of my mind.

Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a children’s book filled with excellent advice for everyone, regardless of age.

“Wanting God”

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Wants and needs are two different things – sometimes.  So much of what people want isn’t what they really need at all. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how little I truly need or want. The most significant changes in my life have stemmed from my one genuine need – the need for God, which is greater than any need or want for material goods, a long list of friends, or fruitless achievements. I want God more, and I want more God.

I continue to align my life in such a way that honors Him. Not only do I need God in my life, but I want Him – so much more than anyone or anything else.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if everyone recognized the deep need they have for their maker – and wanted Him to play a significant role in their life, too?