The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
By Marie Craig
[Page 26 of Mary Ellen’s Diary, 1924 by Marie Craig] Last Saturday, August 2, mama let me go watch an auction of lots near the square in Mocksville. I had seen the full page ad in the newspaper and thought it would be fun to see. There were two auctioneers who are twins, the Penny brothers, from Greensboro. They were so dressed up and had big black hats like Abraham Lincoln wore. The men looked just alike and had big black moustaches. My mother had told me to stand still and not move while they were auctioning off the lots. She said sometimes people just raise their hand to bid, and she didn’t want them to think I was trying to buy something.
There were a lot of people there on this hot day, but most just wanted to watch. They were trying to sell five lots on the square. Three of them are right next to the courthouse. The other two are across Depot Street from them. There are some buildings there now, but I guess they could be torn down so something bigger could be built. It’ll be exciting to see what gets built there. Daddy said the owner of the land is Mr. James Zachary who is the manager of the cotton mill in Cooleemee. There were some more lots also, but they weren’t mentioned in the ad.
Afterwards, I was curious about this sale, and saw this article in the Davie Record on August 6. “The Zachary property on the square was sold Saturday at public auction. The two lots and store buildings on the north side were purchased by Mr. Henkel, of Statesville, for $5,225. The three lots on the south side were purchased by Dr. R.P. Anderson for $4,475. Two lots on Depot street belonging to Mr. Healthman, of Cooleemee, were also sold and brought $800.”
I’d never seen an auction before, but those men could really talk fast. I don’t know how folks could know what they were saying. When my friend was visiting later, I tried to tell her how the auctioneers talked so fast. We had fun trying to do this and auctioned off her dog and a stack of my funny books. I don’t think I’d ever learn how to do this like the Penny brothers. My mother said I gave her the headache listening to me.
The Most Important Tree
By Shari Keller
Pondering the year ending, filled with memories both good and bad, looking forward to a New Year with memories yet to be made, I watch the Christmas lights dimming, soon to be extinguished. Trees that were adorned with festive decorations and a multitude of lights will be cast aside, bare and quickly forgotten. How many times watchful eyes are cast upon that tree, scanning the growing number of presents and wishing for just a peek inside? From my earliest of memories, the sight of a Christmas tree caused so much excitement, and now it overwhelms me with a sense of peace just sitting beside it, bathed in its soft glow. Thinking about the Christmas tree, so anticipated, the center of attention only until the presents beneath its twinkling boughs are opened; I begin wondering about the first Christmas tree. Do you ever wonder about it, where it was, who put it up, or how it was adorned? The words of an old song answer all the questions for me personally, and I would like to share them with you.
Across the land this time of year
beautiful trees stand everywhere
decorated with ornaments bright
hanging with presents and tinsel and light
But looking back I see so plain
a tree on which a lamb was slain
The Lamb of God hung there for me
He gave Himself upon that tree
That tree that stood at Calvary’s crest
held just one gift; God’s very best
and from His side, His hands and His feet
His precious blood decorated that tree
Because of Love He died that day
And all He had He gave away
The most precious gift I ever received
came by way of God’s first Christmas tree
Oh what a lovely Christmas tree
That old rugged cross has become to me
to save my soul and set me free
God’s greatest gift upon that tree
Oh what a beautiful Christmas tree
That old rugged cross has become to me
As this year ends and a new one begins, I hope you find the importance of God’s First Christmas tree, as it is my belief that on it hung the Light of the World. Happy New Year!
By Julie Terry Cartner
The stockings are empty,
Parents are worn,
Gifts all unwrapped,
Paper shredded and torn.
Squeals of excitement,
Over games, books and toys,
Are replaced with the silence
Of exhaustion, yet joy.
Gifts were exchanged,
With sweet ooh’s and aah’s,
And now all is calm,
An afternoon pause.
Children are scattered,
Settled into their rooms,
To play with their new gifts,
Or down for a snooze.
Turkey is roasting,
Potatoes are set,
Pies, cakes and veggies,
All expectations are met.
Later we’ll gather
And give thanks as we pray,
For friends, food and family
And a wonderful day.
By Gaye Hoots
This year I will celebrate my seventy-fourth Christmas. All of my family will be home, including my grandson, who is in the Navy in Colorado. We are all healthy, except for the usual colds, and all the adults are employed and like their jobs. My siblings are living, and we have only lost one first-cousin. I have twin granddaughters who will be three years old just before Christmas on my father’s birthday, which makes Christmas even more special.
My budget is very tight this year, but I have all I need. If I had more to spend, it would go to people in our community. Some are homeless; some are struggling to raise children they have taken in; there are children with multiple physical and emotional handicaps. Several friends of mine are struggling with serious health issues, and others have children with serious health problems. Some are raising grandchildren and doing a beautiful job with them.
Davie County is known for its generosity. Storehouse for Jesus is a significant provider for many families and staffed by volunteers. My graduating class of 1963 has many members who have been hosts to class and community functions, volunteers in civic clubs, church charities, and who function to keep us in touch and aware of events in classmates’ lives. Members of our Renegade Writer’s volunteer as ministry counselors, and help with charities. We make a yearly donation of our book proceeds. A friend of my brother’s, who has had health issues, is very active with his father, a POW in WW11, in veteran’s activities. He and others just placed wreaths on the graves of local veterans and those in neighboring counties. The collective lunch debt was paid off for all the schools in Davie County. A group raised around $6,500.00 to make sure all children have food, and parents start the year with no lunch debt.
Often while planning the logistics of bringing families together for meals, buying gifts, and the usual hustle and bustle, we lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It is not the decorated mansions, although they are beautiful; it is not about Santa Clause, but I loved seeing the twins’ faces light up when they talked to him. I hope they won’t be too disappointed that they won’t get the real airplanes they requested from him. It is not the parties or expensive gifts.
It is the humble birth of Jesus that we celebrate. Our children participate in school and church activities with songs and plays portraying His birth. We celebrate Jesus in our daily lives when we care for each other, our families, our neighbors, and our community. He has blessed us with His grace; we live in the wealthiest country in the world. We have the most freedom of any country in the world. A look at how many other countries treat their citizens and the massive influx of people trying to gain entrance to this country tells us that.
Is our country perfect? Far from it, and it will never be, just as we will never be perfect, our families are not perfect, but they are ours, and they are loved. The people I know are struggling to make this a better community for our families, and the families of others. We want to pass this legacy down to our children and grandchildren. Many children grow up without the security and love of a family. This lifestyle takes its toll on them and, and all those they encounter. If it is difficult for those of us raised in a culture of Christian and family love to always make the right choices, imagine the impact of those whose only guideline is survival and self-preservation.
This Christmas I would ask that we be aware and thankful for all that we have and be mindful of others, not just in foreign countries, but right here in our community who need a little help with the basics of life. If you don’t have the financial means to help, be considerate and offer a kind word to those in obvious need. Pray for them and their specific needs. I wish a merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it and best wishes to those who have other celebrations.
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