The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:33 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

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“Going Through the Change”

By Stephanie Williams Dean

My friend, Jim, once asked me if I heard God’s voice. I told him no, I didn’t. Jim wanted to understand exactly how I had perceived God’s calling. God calls each of us differently. Although I knew God and was blessed to have a relationship with Him already, I sought a deeper connection with my maker, a desire we all long to have.

I’m blessed the calling was strong enough that I recognized it as such.  Although callings are sometimes referred to as “hearing the call,” my calling was a persistent nudge of the Holy Spirit within, yet I heard it loud and clear – God wanted more from me.

The calling came at a time I was physically and emotionally quiet. I had retired early, and each morning after waking, I listened to a bird’s song, thanking God for the privilege to remain in bed. I’m unsure if I would have felt the urging of the Holy Spirit if not for this quiet period in my life.

Believe me when I say there had been no thought in my head of returning to school to write umpteen hundred research papers. Answering a call I could not ignore, I responded by pursuing a graduate degree in ministry. At that juncture in the road, from my first day of class, I knew I had correctly interpreted God’s call to equip me for service. God illuminated the path, and I followed His will when I walked through that open door.

From that point on, I began going through the change. Everything about my life was about to be transformed – my friends, my church, how I spent my time, what I read, where I focused my energies – and one by one, God changed my life. With God’s help, miraculously, I graduated. Even though I had already earned two undergraduate degrees in the medical field, I had never gone through any course of study so in-depth and intensive. It required an ability to think differently than before and a ton of faith.

To this day, I am utterly amazed at the places God has taken me both physically and emotionally. I can’t begin to tell you how I’ve been personally fulfilled and blessed as a result of following the nudge of the Holy Spirit within me, a following of His will and not my own. Going through the change – changed my life forever.

So be quiet, listen, and seek, and maybe you’ll feel the Holy Spirit move you.

“Once Around the Block”

By N. R. Tucker

Hiking, even a stroll through the neighborhood, is my preferred way to exercise. This week I remembered why I enjoy this activity.

This morning the sky was overcast, telling me the weatherman may have gotten it right, so I grabbed the granddog, MJ, and headed out to make sure she got exercise before the rain hit. The 99% humidity wrapped around me the moment I opened the door, but thanks to the early hour, the temperature was still in the low 70s.

We only made it as far as the first pond, when one of the neighborhood herons landed in the water near us. This heron, accustomed to dogs on leashes, didn’t react at all when I pulled out my phone and snapped a pic with MJ, a water-loving lab, less than 10 feet away.

We continued our mosey, allowing MJ to sniff her way down the road. We stopped when a fawn darted up from another pond. The fawn froze, and then raced in front of us, crossed the road and disappeared, running into the woods. The fawn was apparently too young to check for a dog leash.

MJ and I rounded the pond past where we scared the fawn, and I got my first look at the water. It was a serene morning — the calm before the storm — and the trees reflected off the water like a mirror.

A bit further down the road, a ginger cat we meet often sat in its front yard. It looked at MJ and then at me as if to say, “Keep that canine on its leash, and no one will get clawed.” We left the cat in peace.

Next, squirrels darted back and forth, running from tree to tree. I don’t know what they were doing, but they were doing it as fast as they could scamper.

Back home, more peaceful after my walk, I marveled at the short two-mile jaunt in my own neighborhood. I need to stroll around the block more often.

A Look at Poverty

Julie Terry Cartner

Leaning back in his desk chair, Mr. Timmons, the newest third grade teacher, tried to unobtrusively observe Hettie. Clearly wearing hand-me-downs, tennis shoes which had more holes than material, and sporting a home attempted haircut, Hettie did not look like most little girls looked on the first day back to school. Seemingly trying to hide behind her book, Hettie worked diligently on her assignment, but he had a feeling she would be one of the last to raise her hand in class when he asked questions.

Two days later, Mr. Timmons had seen nothing to change his opinion. If he directly called on her, Hettie would answer the questions he asked, and answer them correctly, even if so softly he had to strain to hear her voice. But she did so with a blush, and her eyes never met his. Taking another look at her tennis shoes swinging below her desk, he wondered once again how they were even staying together.

Wanting to help, but not wanting to draw attention to her, Mr. Timmons decided to wait for a few days and keep observing. At recess he noticed Hettie didn’t play with the other children; they seemed to shun her as if poverty were a contagious disease. Instead, Hettie would sit in the shade, almost plastered back against the willow tree as if she were trying to crawl inside. What was she doing he wondered, realizing it was too shady to see clearly.

When recess was over, and he called the children to return to their classroom, Mr. Timmons saw Hettie sliding paper and pencil into the pocket of her shorts. Hmmm, he thought. A writer? He wondered. That was an area he could easily explore.

Knowing the unfairness of essay topics like, “My Summer Vacation,” or “Family Trips,” or “My Favorite Toy,” Mr. Timmons was prepared when the class returned to their room. “Okay, everyone, now that we’ve explored your knowledge in math, science and social studies, I’d like to see a sample of your writing.” Many of the class members groaned, others stoically nodded as if to say, painful but necessary, but his greatest thrill was seeing the beaming smile slipping quietly across Hettie’s face. Gotcha! He thought happily. The title will be, “A New World.” As expected, many hands came up, the questions revolving around what exactly he wanted. Finally, after answering the same questions repeatedly, he said, “Okay. Listen. I know you want me to tell you exactly what I want or give examples so you don’t have to think for yourselves. I know your game! What I honestly want is to see what you, yes YOU will do with this title. I promise, there is no wrong answer other than a blank page. Minimum requirement is one full page. There is no maximum limit. As expected, more groans emanated from many students. Others pondered their topic. Only Hettie immediately got started, pencil scratching madly across the page.

When the essays came in, Mr. Timmons was not surprised to see many similar topics such as a world with no homework, a world with no school, and a world with no chores. He plowed his way through them, noting errors, smiling at some of the outlandish ideas, and overall finding some good writers and some who would need extra help. At long last, he came to Hettie’s. He had saved hers until last, anticipating and hoping he’d find what he hoped. She did not disappoint. Hettie had created a magical world full of laughter and love, but most importantly, a world where no hungry children existed, where all had clothes neither patched nor full of holes, and a world where no lack of supplies like paper and pencil existed. In her world, children laughed and played with each other, not worrying about whether poverty were, in fact, contagious.

I wish that for you too, Hettie, he thought. I wish that too. Vowing to himself to do everything he could to help, Mr. Timmons slipped a fresh pack of paper, two pencils and a pink eraser into Hettie’s desk, closed his classroom door and went home.

Ferries on the Yadkin


Linda H. Barnette

As people came from Europe to America and eventually down South in the 1700’s, they found a vast network of rivers and streams.  They discovered places where the water was shallow enough to cross, which they did on their journey.  But as more and more people settled in the Piedmont, or the Forks of the Yadkin, as some historians refer to it, they hunted animals for their hides, raised crops, and thus needed more ways to get their products and stock to markets.

Davie County was one of the area counties that started paying people who ran ferry boats across the Yadkin and its many branches and tributaries.  So by the end of the nineteenth century, there were at least 20 ferries operating in Davie and Davidson counties, both of which are bordered by rivers on some sides.

One of those ferry boats belonged to my grandfather, O. H. Hartley, and his father, Thomas.  My grandfather’s farm was in Davie, and his father’s land was in Davidson, so they built the ferry in order to be able to visit each other’s families.  Eventually, they also carried people, wagons, and animals across the river as well and made a good living doing that.  The ferry was located on the river just below Cherry Hill Road just below my grandfather’s property. What is especially interesting to me is that my dad as a child helped his father operate the ferry as did his younger brother.  I personally recall seeing the old cable across the river.

My mother was interviewed for an article in the local newspaper, The Davie County Enterprise, sometime after my father’s death in 1985, and this is where I got much of my information.   My copy unfortunately does not have the exact date.  She said that people also crossed the ferry on the way to Lexington when Daddy was a young child.  The article also included some of the prices charged for ferriage in 1839:  a loaded wagon was $.50; an empty wagon was $.38; a man and horse-$.07; a man on foot -$.05; and 3 cents for cows, sheep, and pigs!  Apparently, the operators made a good living!

In a book called The Historic Trails of Davidson County, the author says about our ferry that “Crump/Barnes/Hartley ferry is at the base of the neck” (Horseshoe Neck in the river) and that “the Hartley family may have been the last operators of the ferry as it bears their name in the 1915 Soil Survey of Davidson County.  Hartley’s still live in proximity to the old ferry and the approach road is a very distinct landmark running down Roy Hartley Road to the river bottom.”  Although I have not been on the road to the ferry, I have been down to the end of the road to the property where it starts.

When the bridge between the two counties was built in 1929, the family ferry and most of the others went out of business.  People in cars could go much faster over the bridge, and thus ended a way of life that had endured for many years.

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