The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:20 am Thursday, March 10, 2022

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Mama Smith

By Linda H. Barnette

The lady that I chose to write about for Women’s History Month was neither rich nor famous and certainly not mentioned in history books. However, she was my personal hero. My grandmother, Blanche Dwiggins Smith, was born in April of 1891 on a farm in the country here in Davie County near what is now the Greenhill  and Boone Farm roads area. She had two brothers and went to elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse in the Center community.

I imagine that she learned early on how to do those household chores required by both the times she lived in and the place, a farm. So when she married my grandfather, W.N. Smith, and had seven children, she had some idea of the things that she was expected to do.

She and Papa and her parents bought several lots on Church Street in 1919 and in the early 1920s built two homes there side by side. When her mother died in 1943, her dad continued to live next door and walked over to have his meals with Mama and Papa Smith. Both houses are still here and are lived in by two wonderful families. I live right across the street.

I have so many different memories of her but will share only a few here. Mama was petite, under 5 feet tall and very much a little lady, but she could catch a chicken and wring its neck with the best of them! I remember being horrified to learn at a young age that people actually ate animals!  She was also an excellent cook who made delicious desserts.  As most folks did in those days, she always cooked full meals. No sandwiches at her house with tomato being the exception!

In addition, she was also the kindest person I ever knew, and her kindness extended to everyone. It may have come partially from good examples and also from her strong religious background.  Having grown up in Center Methodist Church, she lived her faith daily both in her treatment of others and in her daily prayer and Bible reading time.

Through my childhood growing up across the street from her and in time spent with her as an adult, I got to know her well.  Mama passed along her love of family history to me by speaking of her ancestors. She threw the torch, and I caught it and ran with it and am still busy working on my various family trees.

I wish that she could have known that she was my hero.

Spring Sky:  Leo the Lion

By David R. Moore

Charging into Spring is the rising of the constellation Leo the Lion. In the early evening, look to the eastern sky for a large, backward question mark. Punctuating the bottom of the question mark is the bright star, Regulus. This star indicates the heart of the lion, while the rest of the question mark outlines his head. A triangle of stars to the lower left makes up Leo’s rear end and tail, with the bright star Denebola marking the end of the lion’s tail.

Hercules was a mighty Greek and married the beautiful but conniving Princess Megara. Over time they began to have arguments that eventually turned from little fights into huge fights.  Princess Megara was a nitpicker, and nothing Hercules did pleased her highness.  She picked and picked until Hercules lost his sanity and killed Megara.  Full of remorse, he turned himself over to the mercy of Eurystheus, King of Mycenae.  Instead of beheading Hercules for killing his daughter, the king ordered Hercules to atone for his sins by performing twelve great labors.

His first labor was to kill Leo, the mightiest of lions, who had been terrorizing and eating many of King Eurystheus’ subjects.  Hercules stalked the lion for weeks.  After feasting on a young maiden, the lion settled in for an afternoon nap, and Hercules took that opportunity to pounce on the lion.  After a terrific struggle, Hercules killed the lion with his bare hands.  Hercules completed the other eleven great labors and paid his debt to society.  The gods on Mount Olympus commended his heroic accomplishment and placed both Leo and Hercules in the night skies.  The constellation Hercules rises in early summer.


By  E. Bishop

Owls are spirit creatures that represent wisdom, patience, and solitude. Recently, I spotted one on a tree limb right outside my kitchen window.  What a beautiful sight; if not observant, he would be easily missed he blended in so well.  With a peck on the window, he slowly turned his head toward me.  However, I did not deter his patience and concentration needed in order to get his next meal.  As humans, we could all benefit from a little more patience like this, don’t you think?

Have you ever noticed how impatience rises when we’re not getting our way or having to wait longer than anticipated. Some examples that quickly come to mind include standing in a check- out line, getting to that appointment on time, then having to wait for what seems like forever, getting stuck in work zone traffic and someone flies up and tries to squeeze in ahead of you, flight delays, calling any company and getting an automated system, teaching a teenager how to drive and the list goes on.  In all walks of life, from infancy to old age, we will endure mild to difficult circumstances where it may be easy to give way to anger because we are so intolerant or impatient.  Keep in mind patience is a skill that you will have to work on; it is a valuable quality to have.  Some family members have contributed their thoughts on the subject.

A niece, CEO of a major healthcare corporation, shared her thoughts.  “Patience has been one of the most challenging skills for me to learn.  I’m a “fixer” at heart.  I see a problem and I want to attack it. Yet, I’ve learned over my 25 plus years of working with clients and employees that patience can be my number one tool in solving problems.  With time comes perspective and with perspective comes learning.  The number one skill I utilize to practice patience is asking questions.  It’s only when I see all sides of the issue that I can address it properly.”

My daughter, Heather, is a kindergarten teacher.  You can already imagine the level of patience required, I’m sure.  Her narrowed down list includes the constant snorter that refuses to blow his nose, tattle tales, going to PE— realizing five kids have knots in their shoes and the laces are wet, and needing band aids for nonexistent booboos.  But, the one I really like is ….”I’ll be teaching my heart out and so excited to see so many little hands raised…call on little Johnny only to have him ask “When is lunch?”.  Still, she states,  “it is so worth it; they give the best hugs, appreciate the smallest gestures, look at life with wild abandon and draw us teachers into that world for a short time.”

Sarah, my youngest daughter, had this to add. “As a therapist, I have a lot of patience in general. Which is helpful, because not everyone that comes to therapy WANTS to participate in therapy. I think the most patience I’ve had to exercise as a therapist was when we had to switch to virtual services practically overnight. Virtual therapy works really well for adults and some younger folks. But, the majority of my 4th-6th graders were an exception. Have you ever tried to be therapeutic when an 11-year-old is running around their house giving you whiplash from how much the camera is bouncing around? I look back on it now and find it hilarious, but, at the time, it definitely required a lot of patience!

Strategies to increase your patience include being a good listener, seeking to reduce your stress,  if feeling rushed consciously slow down, push back on unreasonable demands, and listen to some good music like Guns & Roses song “All we need is a little patience.  It’ll work out fine.  A little patience, just a little patience.”  Be the wise, patient owl and the reward will follow.


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