The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:23 am Thursday, March 17, 2022

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Family Time

By Gaye Hoots

This week our family had a lot to celebrate. My daughter Kendra had a birthday on the 5th, and her son Vann, who is in the Navy, got to come in from Colorado to celebrate with us. Vann had a great year. He was selected both as sailor of the quarter and sailor of the year for 2021. He also was selected for EOD training, which is 2 years in length. This will be a challenge as only 50% of the trainees complete the program. Kendra, Vann. and I enjoyed lunch at Davie Tavern on her birthday.

That evening my great-granddaughter celebrated her 16th birthday which is on the 7th. Friends and family gathered at the Methodist church in Advance. Lorene Markland and my granddaughter made this a memorable evening. Most of our family and my sister’s family attended. Jaden hopes to have her driver’s license by the end of this week.

Jaden’s mom just completed a master’s degree and is now a licensed behavioral analyst working with autistic children and their families. She completed the program with a 4.0 average while working full-time and parenting Jaden. Her mentor, Rhys Potts, has encouraged her every step of the way. We have had a lot to celebrate this year and have also had many challenges.

Kendra is returning to Florida to work, and Vann will receive most of his training in Florida. Tiffany and Jaden are planning a future with Jon and his son Briggs. Jaden’s father Millard, brother Carter, and Samantha were there to wish her well. Several of her friends and classmates attended as well. My twins were there with Cami and a good time was had by all.

We lost my granddaughter Alex just over 5 years ago, and I am always reminded of her empty chair. She struggled with addiction, and all our efforts were not enough to change her life, so we are aware of how fragile each life is and try to enjoy each day we are given with each other.

My sister and her husband have supported my children, grandchildren, and Jaden, my great grand. They have grandchildren who have a stable, Christian, family life and are high achievers but they have always been available when mine needed assistance or had something to celebrate. Our friends and community have been supportive also.

I am pleased that my girls have all chosen careers in healthcare and education, which I feel gives something back to the community. Terri Champney joined us and continues encourage each of us. We all miss Tom Champney, who helped me spoil them all.

We mourn our losses, celebrate our achievements, and enjoy the good things that God gives us each day. Four generations of my family attended Shady Grove School, and we are blessed to have a county with a good school system, strong churches, community league sports, and a great library to nourish our youth. We are also proud of our vets and military and those willing to serve. My ancestors date back to the Revolutionary War, and the first Hoots to settle in this area was given a land grant for his service in that war. Our community continues to build on that foundation.

Pay Attention!

By Marie Craig

Last Friday at suppertime, I decided to go to a nearby restaurant for some seafood.  I found a table for myself but first glanced around to see if there was anybody I knew.  To hide the fact that I was alone, I used an app on my smartphone to play a game while waiting for my fish to arrive.  Another waitress brought it, and I was really enjoying it when the first waitress walked by my table in a hurry and picked up my ticket.  I thought she just forgot to add something to the check.  People came and went, but I didn’t pay much attention.

I was almost through eating when my first waitress walked by and said quickly, “Your supper has been paid for.”  I was so surprised that I couldn’t think of anything to say.  When she came back by, I asked who had paid for it.  She said the young couple at the next table who had already left.  I was totally taken aback, and I tried really hard to remember what they looked like but couldn’t.  I was humbled and embarrassed that they were kind enough to treat me to a meal, and I couldn’t even place them.

My resolve growing out of my disconnect is to be aware of other people and to return the favor.  I’ll keep my phone in my pocket next time and pay attention to the other people around me.

People are more important than things.

Meara and Niamh

By Julie Terry Cartner

“Tell me again, Mama. Please tell me the story of Meara and Niamh,” little Muireann asked her mother.

“Many years ago, when your great grandma, was a young woman, it seemed to all of Ireland that the fish had moved away.  Great fishermen went out in their boats and cast their nets, but no fish were to be found. Your great grandma, Meara, lived at home with her father and younger sister, Alannah. Now Alannah was unhealthy and was getting sicker because there was so little to eat. Meara and her father worried constantly about Alannah, their cherished little one. One day when Meara’s father, Ronan, was fishing, Meara decided to walk along the shore searching for any shellfish she might find.

“Meara disappeared that evening and was not seen again for years. Amazingly, that evening, when Ronan come home, he had a net full of fish. Despite his worry for his elder daughter, he and Alannah ate well, and he had enough fish to share. For the first time in months, they didn’t go to bed hungry, but worry for Meara saddened their hearts. Despite her worries, though, Alannah became healthy, almost overnight.

“Every morning Ronan fished, and every afternoon he come home with his nets full.  Every evening he walked the cliffs along Galway Bay, searching fruitlessly in the waves, calling for his daughter, but every night he came home alone. As her health improved, Alannah took over the household chores, cooking and cleaning for her father. She, too, spent countless hours searching for her sister, but to no avail.

“Being believers in magic, both father and daughter had no doubt that their good fortune was connected to Meara’s disappearance; they just didn’t know how. All they could do was to pray that their beloved daughter and sister was somewhere, safe and happy.

“Several years passed, and one day as Alannah left her cottage for her daily search for her sister, she saw a woman and child walking towards her. Barely daring to hope, she broke into a run. Within minutes, the sisters were in each other’s arms, laughing, crying, and talking at the same time.

“Meara exclaimed about how healthy Alannah was and how much she had grown up. She introduced the little girl, ‘This is Niamh, my daughter.’ She asked about her father and was relieved to hear he was well and out fishing.

“Then it was Alannah’s turn. ‘What happened? Where have you been? And tell me about Niamh,’ were a few of the questions she longed to know the answers.

“When Papa came home, his nets full once again,  and when the joyous reunion calmed down, Meara told her story:

“The day I disappeared; I was walking along the sea looking for shellfish. Just as I spotted a beautiful conch shell, a man, a beautiful man with laughing eyes came out of the sea. Before I could grab the conch, he grabbed me and kissed me.

“‘Meara, daughter of the sea, you were meant to be mine. I have watched you walk these cliffs, your beautiful, golden hair curling around your face. I have seen you swim in the cove when nobody was watching. Come with me and be my bride. If you will spend five years with me in the sea, I will spend the next five with you on the land.”

“I can’t,” Meara replied. I must care for my father and sister.”

“If you will come with me, I will ensure his nets are full and your sister will be well.”

“Now Meara knew the man was a Selkie, and, if he made a promise, he would keep it. ‘Let me go home and tell them,’ she pleaded. But, fearing she wouldn’t return, the Selkie, Kale, refused to let her go.

Knowing her family would be well, Meara agreed, and she and Kale dove down into the depths of the sea together. Now as promised, the five years had passed and Meara and Niamh were reunited with their beloved family. Kale joined them and helped Ronan with the fishing.

And so the years passed, five in the sea and five on the land. Niamh grew up and married, and soon I was born. Now they are back in the sea, and I am here with you, my precious daughter. When you are five, we too will go to the sea to live.


RWG Literary Corner

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