The Literary Corner: Renegade Writers Guild
Moving to Mocksville
By Marie Craig
Sixteen years ago this month, I moved from the western end of North Carolina to Mocksville. The two of us had merged belongings with our recent marriage, so there was a lot of furniture, doodads, clothes, books, etc. We had two moving vans transporting our things 225 miles to our Davie County home. I left in the early afternoon with my car full of breakable items and a carrier with our unhappy cat, Roscoe. He weighed 14 pounds, a Maine Coon beauty with a sometimes nasty disposition.
My trip was long but uneventful except for growling sounds the entire way. I got Roscoe in our new home and fed him. I realized I hadn’t brought his litter box, so I went to the grocery store for supplies and for his equipment. In my exhaustion, I left part of my order on the checkout counter, and I had to return to claim it.
At the end of the house was a screened porch with a door that opened out. Roscoe spent some time out there studying the new yard. We had previously had all the old crank out windows replaced in the house with double thickness new windows, and that was complete except for one window. I made plans for them to come finish up the next morning. There were two huge, close trees that were a threat to the house, so those workers were coming at the same time. The two moving vans were to arrive the next morning also.
We had bought camping, inflatable mattresses to sleep on in the house as we came down to check on remodeling. I prepared one of them for a good night’s sleep after a long day.
The next morning, trucks began appearing from everywhere. I didn’t have time to deflate my mattress, so just stood it up in the closet of a bedroom. I started supervising all the commotion, and then realized the cat was nowhere to be found. I went through the house calling and looking. Going onto the screened porch, I decided that all the racket of nailing in a window and chainsaws cutting down two big trees had spooked Roscoe and that he had escaped through the porch door. I saw a neighbor across the street and asked him to be on the lookout. I phoned the apartment complex behind me and asked the manager to look for him. But duty called, and soon I was busy telling the movers where to put furniture and jillions of boxes.
For a few hours it was very hectic, and suddenly everybody was gone. I decided to make up all three beds. In the third bedroom when I finished I just collapsed onto the bed. I heard a little noise coming from the closet where I’d propped the air mattress. There, coming out of the closet from behind the mattress, just as calm and sure of himself as possible, was Roscoe. He looked at me as if to ask, “Oh, did I miss anything?”
My husband arrived in the afternoon with his truck full of more things. He missed all the fun.
One More Time
By Gaye Hoots
I am in Oriental, a small town on North Carolina’s coast that is a step back in time. I purchased a small condo on the waterway for my family to enjoy and will probably move here. This is the fourth condo I have owned over a 30-year period, selling one before buying the next one. The others were on Bogue Banks where Atlantic Beach, Indian Beach, and Emerald Isle are located.
Oriental is known for its sailboat community and is considered the sailboat capital of North Carolina. There about 700 residents here and over 2,000 sailboats. The unit I purchased via a mortgage, has a small boat slip, but we have no boat.
It took two months to close on the unit because of a comedy of errors. A check mailed to me did not arrive on time; actually it was at the post office, but I did not get a notice. I had to have the company track it to find it at the post office within sight of my house. When I did deposit the cashier’s check, the bank held it another seven days, only to discover that the bank had deposited the funds to a joint account I have with another family member creating more issues. When I was ready to close, the owner discovered mildew in the unit, and this was another delay. A sump pump was a temporary solution. The HOA is supposed to find a way to avert this in the future.
I came down alone to an empty condo as I have before expecting to whip it into shape. My brother-in-law put a memory foam mattress in a box into the back of my car which I loaded with other essentials. I would have the mattress on the floor, two bar stools, and a folding chair for furniture. Because my hands were inflamed from reading paperback novels, which I gripped tightly in front of my face. I had decided to leave the TV off to avoid the political circus and read instead. When you are 75 years old, you can sustain an injury sitting on your couch reading.
Because of the condition of my hands, I had someone clean the unit before I went down. He did not take credit cards but trusted me without knowing me to pay him when I got to there. He unloaded the mattress as I was not able to, so thankfully I did not have to sleep on a hard floor. Loading and unloading the car irritated my hands and kept me awake much of the first night. The bed I ordered online was delivered early while I was out and sat on the porch for two days because I could not move it.
The man who did the cleaning came to put up blinds that I had purchased and unloaded a dehumidifier and put up a blind in the room I had been sleeping in with an uncovered window. He also put up a shower curtain, things I had been able to do in the past but could no longer do. I even gave up on cutting shelf liner to line cabinets because it hurt to use scissors.
I have never felt so useless. My internet has not been hooked up yet, so I am in the only coffee shop in Oriental using free internet. This town has changed little in the last 50 years. There are no fast-food restaurants here. One story I heard was that Wal-Mart opened a small store in Oriental and the residents refused to shop there. The store closed, and a local bought it and opened a Piggly Wiggly and caters to his clients. The locals shop there, and his business is thriving.
When I returned, I could not unlock the door to my condo. After I struggled for twenty minutes, a neighbor wrestled it open. It was not just my injured hands; I did purchase a new lock to add to my long list of projects.
This will probably be the last move I make on my own. Hopefully, the issue with my hands will resolve as I use them less and others will help in a few days. I was lucky to find the coffee shop and a good restaurant. I also have a beautiful view for my folding chair, but I am missing some creature comforts. Grateful for what I have.
By Julie Terry Cartner
This week, my sister and I traveled west to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage and hike to Crabtree Falls. As someone who grew up in a beach community, I’ve always been fascinated by the unique mountainous landforms, so very different from the sea level flatlands of my childhood. Viewing the shapes, the colors, the multiple layers of mountain after mountain creates a sense of timelessness; something so awe-inspiring that has existed for centuries.
GPS let us down, and we ended up traveling about an hour out of our way, but a kind man in a pickup truck set us back on the right road, and we finally arrived at the trailhead. A mile hike with an excited dog and water slicked trails made the trek challenging, but we finally made it to the bottom. Crabtree Falls was magnificent; 70 feet of powerful cascading water roared down the mountain, then gurgled along the creek below. Sunlight glinted through the tops of the trees and turned the droplets of water into rainbow prisms, and dark mountain laurels covered the banks.
After the long hike back to the car, we traveled south along the parkway, stopping at many scenic overlooks. The trees’ leaves, a kaleidoscope of color, covered the mountain slopes, interspersed with dark green evergreen trees and bright red sumac. Dotted along the way were the rioting colors of goldenrod, silverrod, purple clover and purple asters.
Along the way, we talked, laughed and shared memories.
“Remember when Mom and Dad took us to New York City and we ate at that Japanese restaurant?”
“Yeah, we had to walk down stairs from the street, and we sat on pillows, the food was authentic and wonderful, and the people were so nice!” This, at lunch, as we shared granola bars.
“Remember running down the beach, jumping from boulder to boulder, trying to stay off the pebbles?”
“And we weren’t allowed to get back in the water until Mom could see us…” This as we navigated the rocky path and dipped our toes in icy water.
“Remember…playing in the barn, running across the rafters, feeding the chickens, the time I fell out of a tree and landed on my head…the time you got a fishhook caught in your hand, the many times I fell in the water, and exploring the fields behind our house? Remember… Remember… Remember?” This, just because.
All in all, we had a wonderful day, made better by the seamless relationship that we have. We can spend the entire day talking, but we are also comfortable with silence. We’ve shared joys and sorrows, secrets and fears, successes and failures. She is one of the few to whom I can tell anything, knowing there will be no judgment, only support. We can share memories, laugh at the foolish things we said and did, and enjoy the knowledge that we made it out the other side. And we can continue making new memories to add to the old ones.
A million memories make up a lifetime of a priceless relationship. Sisters. We loved, we argued, we agreed, we disagreed, we shared adventures. We stood strong together through the tough times and laughed together in the good times. And through it all, we shared a bond exclusive to us. We live in different states now; have, in fact, all of our adult lives, but the connection remains strong. We make time to visit each other, and when we visit, we go on new adventures, always exploring, always up for new challenges.
“Remember ice skating in Rockefeller Center, and going to the circus at Madison Square Garden? Remember our trip to Canada, and riding on that huge Ferris wheel? Remember when you got to ride the circus horse?”
“Remember the time I dropped a rock on your foot? I couldn’t understand what everyone was so upset about. “Is it broken?” they worried – and my response, “No, the rock didn’t break!”
Remember when we hiked to Crabtree Falls… Remember when…?
Living life, having new experiences, making new memories, yet still enjoying the reminiscences, it’s all good. Life is to be lived, cherished, and remembered, always made better with a sister at your side.
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