The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
A Scary Halloween
By Linda H. Barnette
When I was a child, Mocksville was still a very small town, and we knew all of the neighbors, so our parents allowed the Church Street kids and our friends to go trick or treating on our street and North Main Street. Although we all had masks from the dime store, we rarely had costumes because they were no big deal then. People were generous with candy and other treats, so we always got a decent amount of “loot.” Although small compared to what people give today, we always got enough to be happy and felt that it was nice of neighbors to help us out. Holidays and special events were especially exciting in those days because unless we went to church, we usually stayed at home in the evenings.
However, one year Halloween was very special. One of my school friends had a Halloween party at her house. Her mother prepared dinner for us first, and after eating, we played several games, including apple bobbing, my least favorite because it was so messy.
Just when I thought the evening was nearing an end, my friend’s mother told us that we were going on a scavenger hunt in her yard and in the cemetery next door. She gave us all flashlights and pieces of paper with a list of things we were to look for. I was petrified walking through the cemetery, breathing hard and very jumpy, afraid of a ghost appearance. After a few minutes, something or someone jumped out from behind a gravestone and yelled “Trick or Treat!” We all started running and screaming and did not calm down until we found out that the “ghost” was really her dad!
I still get chills when I think of that night so long ago. Actually, I hated Halloween after that experience.
The Past Reframed
By Kevin F. Wishon
Once, centuries ago, a bright, young man had an enthusiastic thirst for knowledge. The teen’s aptitude impressed the residents of his hometown, so they decided to introduce him to each of the skilled trades performed in the small hamlet. The town expected the young man to choose a specific vocation of his liking after one year of studying the various trades. So, the youth began training with each skilled person in the village. Upon completing the year, the town’s residents approached him eager to hear his decision. Uncertain, the young man stalled and delayed, never giving the town’s folk an answer. The truth was that he did not prefer to perform any of those trades for a lifetime. Displeased with the young man’s indecision, the town folks became angry and hostile to the point the teen felt it best to leave his hometown and wander the country.
After a year of traveling, the young fellow arrived at a seaport west of his hometown. He observed the commerce occurring all over the city and decided that this place was what he was seeking. The teen felt drawn to the buying and selling occurring along the dockside and began learning everything he could about the trading of goods. It was not easy for him. With little money and no mentor, he struggled. However, he was determined and did not give up despite his shortcomings.
One particular day, when the youth was feeling low, a local bully and general tormenter approached him looking to kick him while he was down proverbially. The bully knew the young fellow’s past and did his best to rub salt in the wound.
“I’ll bet you wish you had stayed home. You could have had any job you wanted back there and wouldn’t be an outcast. Here, you are broke and struggling daily, trying to be somebody you are not. I’ll bet you regret that every day.”
The youth paused after listening to the bully’s words and thought for a moment. “I don’t see my situation like that at all. If anything, I’m grateful.”
The tormentor was stunned by the young man’s response and leaned back, looking at the young man dubiously. “How can you possibly find gratitude in your situation? Come on. Admit it. You messed up!”
Unshaken, the young fellow sat up straight, refreshed by the reminder of his unpleasant past. He smiled and said, “On the contrary, if the people in my hometown had been nice about my undecidedness, I would have felt guilty and chose a job to repay their kindness. Yet, if I had, I’d be miserable. Instead, the hometown folks did me a favor. Their displeasure forced me to leave. I would have never had the courage to leave if they had not become angry. Essentially, they gave me freedom. So, no matter how hard things may be now, at least I’m free to pursue my interests, and for that, I’m so grateful.”
By Stephanie Williams Dean
I’m spending my Saturday cooking chicken and dumplings. The food gift is a small way to say thank you for someone who did something nice for me. Cooking is one of my God-given talents, and I often use it to give back. Having folks over and cooking for them is also a way to better know and bond with them.
Of course, food is necessary for its nutritional value in support of physical health, but also for our mental well-being. Good food combined with family or friends creates a recipe for emotional comfort. Now’s a good time to be a comforting source for others. The Bible speaks of hospitality.
Peter 4:9 says, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
We are called to invite people, both new friends and old, into our homes and feed them. The act of hospitality is symbolic of taking people into your heart and loving them with the love of Jesus Christ. Hospitality is not just our personal handiwork as in preparation of food but is also a work of our hearts.
Entertaining friends and strangers need not be fancy or impressive – you don’t even have to prepare it. There are plenty of places for purchasing delicious food that’s already been made and pre-packaged for takeout.
What’s good is sharing a cup of coffee and slice of pie while chatting in a comfortable setting – like your home’s kitchen table. Even better is when folks know your door is always open and coffee is always brewing. And what’s best? To be known for serving good food and joyful hospitality– along with a generous helping of love.
Give the gift of good food, hospitality, and love in Christ. Someone needs it, today.
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