The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
Of Spring, Memories and Hope
By Julie Terry Cartner
Misty gray air fills the sky while swirls of darkening clouds scuttle by. Raindrops intermittently scatter across the yard, and the colder temperatures threaten to hold me captive inside. Yesterday, warmer air and a sun-filled sky promised spring was truly here, but today, the weather’s cold grip pushes tantalizing spring beyond the stretch of my fingertips.
In the yard, in all directions, I see the fulfillment of spring. Light green leaves have emerged boldly beyond winter’s grasp, and dogwood trees are blooming. Today is just a setback, not an end. Tomorrow promises the sun will regain its foothold and the air will be filled with the sights and scents of budding leaves, bustling insects and awakening blossoms.
I gaze at my favorite shrubs, the two lilacs we have assiduously tended, pampered and coddled. Their sweet scent fills the air, and between them and the nearby crabapple tree, bees swarm and swirl in their drunken pursuit of nectar. Swallowtail butterflies flitter to and fro, also sampling the sweet offerings.
Unconcerned with my presence, the fluttering insects continue with their pursuits as I inhale the scents of home, from both then and now. As much ties the two together as separates them. I can picture my childhood self hiding under the far-flung branches of lilac bushes taller than my father was, and large enough to hide several small children. I remember crawling into my lilac adorned bower, the sunlight filtering through vibrant green leaves, surrounded by the fragrance of the lavender blossoms.
Often, I’d forget the world entirely, leaning back against the base of the shrub on velvety moss-covered ground, and allow my imagination to run rampant. I believed fairies must live there, flitting from flower to flower adding magic to every petal. Sure that when I retired for the evening, they would emerge from their hiding places, I would make plans to sneak back after dark and spy on them. I was positive there would be music and dancing, ball gowns flowing, and iridescent wings sparkling. Tiny flutists would play bewitching tunes, while harpists plucked strings of gold, and the fairies would spin and twirl in time to the haunting music. There they would grow up, fall in love and marry, living happily ever after. I would spend hours envisioning their lives, inventing characters and living vicariously in their stories.
Today, defying the chilly temperatures, I stand, slightly taller than our sparse bushes, which barely can survive on the cusp of southern heat and short winters. Regardless, I can immerse myself in the timeless scent of the fragrant blossoms. I am no longer able to hide under dense branches, but I can close my eyes, breathe deeply, and remember. Perhaps the simplicity of childhood cannot be duplicated, but the memories stand, and new promises emerge every day.
Tomorrow, the sun will shine, and spring will return in all her glory, chasing away the chill of a defeated winter. The lilacs and crabapples will still bloom while bees and butterflies vie for nectar. Life will continue with all its ups and downs, and fairies, with luminescent wings, will still live, and love, and dance in the fertile bowers of my mind. And, if I listen closely, I will still hear the haunting melodies of silver flutes and golden harps.
By Gaye Hoots
Two years ago, I submitted a DNA sample to 23andMe and connected with Grandpa Hoots’s youngest sister’s granddaughter. She lives in Mt. Airy, so we quickly arranged to meet and share family genealogy and pictures. COVID slowed our adventures for a year, but we decided to have lunch and clean her grandmother’s grave. My grandfather had told me I reminded him of his sister, Nora, who died when she was twenty-five years old. She left two small daughters, one who died in childhood, and Juanita’s mother.
Grandpa had left me a large, framed picture of Nora, which I took to show Juanita, her only granddaughter. Juanita asked to take the picture and have a copy made, but I decided to give her the picture. She planned to hang it in her home. Our younger family members lack our enthusiasm for family history, but locating the graves and tracing our roots are exciting.
We had finished lunch at Old Stage Grill near Deep Creek Baptist Church, where our grandparent’s and great-grandparents’ graves are located, when a man heard us talking about our Hoots family. He told us we were near the home site and many old graves of the Hoots family. They were located on private property belonging to the man who had started UNIFI, a large corporation in Yadkinville. The owner had maintained the graves and a road leading to them.
Being adventurous, we followed the stranger to the old graveyard. Only a few stones remained, and they were hard to read. The family of our great-great-grandmother, Emily Adeline Gough, had erected a monument to Emily and John Anderson Hoots, listing all their 11 children by name. Isaac Winfield Hoots was our great-grandfather. Adeline was a name given to a daughter, a granddaughter, and a great-granddaughter. It was the first time we had known of the home site, and I wondered if our grandparents could see us standing where so many ancestors had lived and been buried. We were so lucky to have this opportunity.
Juanita and I have many family traits, as does another cousin, Ennis, whom I connected with through Facebook. Ennis is so much like my grandpa’s sister Mollie Hoots Shore, as I remember her. His sister Nora, Juanita’s grandmother, married a Macy from Yadkin County. The Macy’s have a rich history including having once owned Nantucket Island.
We cleaned Nora’s grave, and I realized her younger daughter’s grave was beside her. Juanita told me that when Nora died, the ground was frozen, and many people succumbed to the same flu-like disease. The caskets were left frozen in the graveyard until the ground thawed enough to permit burial.
Juanita and I hope to continue this adventure, and I will record it for my family, hoping it will become more important to them as they grow older.
Persistence Pays Off
By Marie Craig
There I stood at my desk in my office at school. I needed to write out a calculus test to give my students in a few days. I was trying to get ahead and not wait until the last minute. I could have waited until the next day to find my ditto paper, remove the insertion sheet which kept the carbon page from smearing, and write hard on the white side, transferring the mirror image of the carbon onto the back of the white sheet. At first, I dragged my feet, unwilling to make myself finish this tedious duty. But instead, I kept going, created the test, and then walked over to the next building to use their spirit master or ditto machine to make copies.
There, standing in the hall, was a handsome tall man wearing a U.S. Forest Service uniform talking to one of our teachers. I slowed down and said hello to the teacher, and he introduced us. I was smitten but didn’t think too much about it. I went on my way down the hall to run off the test. When I came back out, they were gone.
But, that’s not the end of the story. I ended up going to a basketball game with the handsome stranger, courted for almost a year, married him, and we had two sons.
I wonder how my future would have been different if I hadn’t made myself plan ahead and generate that calculus test.
Rewind: I decided that the test could wait; I’d do it tomorrow. I exited my office and went home to my efficiency apartment over the furniture store and ate a boring meal by myself for the next 30 years.
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