The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:58 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

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The McIver Connection
By Linda H. Barnette
As a genealogist, I often make unexpected discoveries. One of these discoveries is a family connection to the McIver’s of the Isle of Skye, an island off the coast of Scotland. It is a rugged mountainous place located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island is made up of several peninsulas which radiate out from the Cullen, the tallest of the mountains there.
Once a land of clans and warriors willing to fight for their beliefs, it is now mostly a tourist attraction. About 1/3 of the residents still speak Gaelic, the language of ancient Scotland. Now Skye is a popular destination for weddings. Interestingly, one of my relatives was married there just a few years ago.
Little did I know at the time that my family had a connection to that place. But while working with my cousin Bob Smith on a genealogy project, we discovered that we are related to the McIver’s of Skye. We found our proof both through DNA testing and also historical documents that some of our people left Skye in the late 1700’s and came to America, settling in Moore, Lee, and Cumberland counties.
When I lived in Fayetteville and drove back and forth to Mocksville, I noticed the Scots influence in the area mentioned above, plus the Wallace cemetery, the cemetery where Flora Mc Donald and other are buried. And we lived right off McPherson Church Road and belonged to Highland Presbyterian Church, where the pastor was Leighton McKeithan.
The very early ones in North Carolina were originally buried in the McIver family cemetery. Later, the graves were all relocated at Buffalo Presbyterian Church in Lee County because a new road was built.
So back in time, over 200 years ago, my cousins and I are related to Roderick and Kenneth McIver. I have certainly inherited the Scots coloring and their love of poetry and music. Sadly, the frugal gene skipped right over me!!
Remember that it takes thousands of ancestors over the centuries to make one individual person!! Studying them is so much fun!!

Letter to George
By E. Bishop
Sometimes in life you can develop an unexpected friendship. We were cousins with 26 years separating us; we knew each other existed because we attended those family reunions and chicken stews, but I couldn’t say we were really friends or knew each other all that well until just a few years ago. And, I still can’t say I knew you that well but you made it easy to become your friend. I wish we would have had more time to spend together.
At 94, you still had the quick wit and mental agility of a much younger person. Nothing was going to keep you down if you could help it. It is hard to believe you were still driving not that long ago. I will never forget some of the stories you told me when I came to visit and help you out some. You were so sharp in remembering places and people from the past. When I drove you and my brother around to different family landmarks last year, you knew exactly where things used to be and where our grandmother used to live right up past Fulton Church, across that creek.
Since I never knew our grandmother, I particularly liked the story you told about visiting her when you were young. You delighted in telling the story of being a young boy visiting his grandma, playing in the creek and running through the woods. I remember we both laughed out loud when you told me the goat story. If I remember correctly, it goes like this. It was a hot summer day and all doors and windows to grandma’s two-story farmhouse were open to let the breeze blow through. The usual chickens and goats were running loose in the yard. But, this one goat made a run for the front door of the house, went up the stairs and jumped out of one of the bedroom windows. It must have been a lot of fun because he did it again without hurting himself.
When I was still a mail carrier, I remember seeing you at your son’s house mowing his yard and I would think to myself “you’re too old to be out there doing that!” What’s wrong with that son? But, I know things are not always as they seem. You needed to feel useful in your retirement, and you were by doing just that. And you knew his time would come to help you out, which he certainly did.
The only vice I’m aware you had was chewing tobacco, but earlier in your life – was it driving and trading fast cars? I remember my husband and I bought your red ’66 fast-back Mustang. Boy, I wish we still had that car.
From my perspective, you were a humble man. You were proud that you served your country in WWII as a Navy man, but you didn’t think it was such a big deal; the rest of us did though. You were gracious and inspirational, always thinking of others and always grateful for anything someone did for you. One of the first things you would say to me was “how’s everybody down your way?” George, you are going to be missed by many.
Thanks for being a friend.
Oh yeah, I hope Heaven is filled with juicy, red ripe tomatoes just for you.
George Homer Frye
May 24, 1927 – December 31, 2021

Winter Sky: Orion the Hunter
By David R. Moore
Orion is the most recognizable star pattern of the winter sky, and it looks like a figure of a giant person. By looking in the evening’s east-south sky, most people can spot the three bright stars in a row that defines his belt. The second brightest star in that constellation, Orion, is Betelgeuse (pronounced beetle juice) and sits at the armpit of the hunter. This red giant is in its waning years of life and will explode as a supernova in a million years or so from now. Fainter stars depict a raised right arm holding a club and the left arm holding a shield. The brightest star in Orion is Rigel and marks the hunter’s left knee. It is the fifth brightest star in the night sky and is 50,000 times more luminous than the sun. Hanging from Orion’s belt is his sword. Using binoculars, you will find a fuzzy-looking patch of light in the middle of the blade. This is the Great Orion Nebula, part of a massive cloud of hydrogen lit up by the young stars.
From the mythology, Orion the Hunter was man’s man. He was big, robust, and hunted his prey at night. Orion didn’t get along with people, so he lived on a secluded island as a hermit. But he had a secret admirer, Artemis, who was the goddess of the moon. Her father, Zeus, was king of the gods. At night, as Artemis flew across the sky in her magic moon chariot pulled by flying horses, she watched him and longed to be with him. Unfortunately, she was a goddess and was forbidden to be mixing with a mortal. However, one night Artemis could not take it anymore and stopped her moon chariot and went down to Orion’s island. When they met, eye to eye, it was love at first sight. She changed out of her royal robes into hunter’s blaze-orange, and they hunted through the night. Artemis jumped into her moon chariot when dawn approached and raced to the horizon. The love affair went on night after night until Zeus learned of his daughter’s behavior.
Zeus wanted to end the affair without losing his daughter’s love, so he came up with a plan to kill Orion and make it look like an accident. Zeus arranged for a giant scorpion to be dropped on the island during the day while the hunter slept. A mockingbird woke Orion just as the scorpion was about to attack. Orion and the scorpion battled for many hours. Just when Orion had locked the scorpion’s head under his arm and was about to break its neck, Artemis rose with the moon in the eastern sky. As Orion looked up to his love, the scorpion broke free and delivered the fatal sting. Artemis raced to the scene, but it was too late. Orion was dead. The scorpion tried to run, but Artemis grabbed it and flung it far into the sky, becoming the constellation Scorpius. Artemis carried Orion into the heavens, turning him into a bright constellation. This way he would still be with her every night. She also placed his two favorite hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, next to him. Artemis also ensured that Orion was on the opposite side of the sky from the scorpion that assassinated him. That is why we never see the constellations Orion and Scorpius in the sky simultaneously.

RWG Literary Corner
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