The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:08 am Thursday, April 28, 2022

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By Gaye Hoots

Easter is a celebration of awakening; when many had lost hope, were lost and confused, Christ arose. Each year we celebrate this with family and give thanks for family, friends, and a future beyond our earthly home. The treasures I count are time spent with each other.

My most precious memories are of my childhood, church celebrations, Easter egg hunts, and meals at my grandparents with aunts, uncles, and cousins. There was a cluster of crepe myrtles where we hid eggs and played games. I revisited these times with my children when they played with cousins and friends. The new outfits and bonnets they sported along with Easter baskets were part of the yearly ritual. I enjoyed this with my children, my stepchildren, my grandchildren, and a great grand. My youngest grandchildren are five years old and looking forward to this Easter with great excitement.

We are fortunate to live in small towns where we are somewhat sheltered from the madness and chaos of the world we hear reported on the news. We feel safe and protected from much of what we see others exposed to. The present war in Ukraine has the potential to start a third World War. I pray this does not become a reality.

The last two years have been a challenge with COVID and the economic issues following it. Most of us have managed to keep our familiar family routines that help our kids feel safe. I live in a town smaller than Advance, and it feels completely safe, but last week an adult called in bomb threats to schools in this area. They sent the kids home early; while some saw this as free time away from school, I am sure others felt the threat.

This year as we celebrate, let’s emphasize God’s gift of His son and be aware of all His many blessings that we enjoy. They are temporary, as is this life. We strive to ensure a similar lifestyle for our children and their children and pray God will bless them as we have been. My prayer is that all the world could experience the same benefits. Let us continue to appreciating what we have and finding ways to share it.

A friend is making it possible for my family to celebrate Easter in Advance by inviting us into her home for Easter. Friends like her and her husband are a significant blessing, and we will always be grateful. Praying their kindness will be multiplied and returned to them and wishing each and every one a joyous Easter with loved ones.

Home and Family

By Julie Terry Cartner

     I’ve been out of town for most of the past two weeks, but when my husband and I pulled into our driveway this afternoon, the first thing I noticed was my lilac bushes blooming, their lavender scented loveliness wafting across the yard to welcome me home.

Home and family are very important to me. My husband and I have worked hard to make our home a sanctuary for ourselves, our families, and anyone who comes to visit. It’s a blending of our two worlds, and it works for us. The linden trees came from my home in New York, now over 25 years ago. The saplings are now towering trees, providing shade for us and our animals and protection for the many songbirds that come to eat at our feeders. The lilac bushes remind me of my childhood home also. Even though they didn’t come directly from the farm, they provide a feast for my senses. And the house and gardens sit on land that my husband’s family farmed for generations.

I can’t have Long Island Sound in my back yard, but I do have a saltwater pool which is in constant use from April until late October. And I have the creek that winds through the property; the creek that watered many cows over the years. The rest is a blend of both our lives; the marigolds, zinnias and sunflowers providing color, beauty, and sustenance for the birds, beds of strawberries, lettuce, peas, spinach, and peppers for delicious salads. Blueberry bushes and crabapples for jellies and good eating. I could continue…

Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to a Braves game, compliments of our thoughtful children. Baseball is something we both grew up with. Memories of Yankees and Mets games with my parents and Braves games with my sister tied the past to the present as we cheered on our most local professional team then returned to a lovely Airbnb provided by our children.

This past week, we drove to Connecticut to help our son and his wife get their house ready to sell, so they can move to North Carolina. We spent days driving, pulling a trailer, first empty, then loaded with their household items, and two days helping in the house and yard. We raked and hoed, cleaned out flower and vegetable beds, and refilled them with new plantings working on that curb appeal, then painted and hung cupboards and did countless other odd jobs to help ready the house. We worked hard because that’s what family does. We also took time to visit, to chat and laugh and meet new people, because that’s what family does too.

Families and homes don’t run in straight, parallel lines. There’s not a complete separation between then and now, his and hers, ours and theirs. It’s all entwined, interconnected, woven together. My daughter has a linden tree in her yard. She never lived at Linden Farm, but she is tied to it through me. My son and his wife are going to try to make a living farming. He watched his dad and his grandpa work the farm and wants the tranquility of space, of open fields and protective trees. He knows the rigors of farming, but he has a plan.

As I sit in my yard enjoying the sweet scent of lilacs, I can easily drift back to the many times Dad and I sat in the yard at Linden Farm smelling that same alluring perfume as we opened scallops or clams, or strung string beans or shelled peas, sometimes chatting, sometimes just silently enjoying the beauty around us. Now my children come home and enjoy sitting in our yard, listening to the birds chirping and enjoying the aroma of fresh cut grass or blooming flowers. It’s different, but it’s the same. Home, family, memories, past and present, life. Like the tendrils of wisteria growing on our arbor, long and short, straight or winding, they grasp the separate pieces of generations of lives and join us, never allowing us to separate, always binding us together.

Egg Carton Beads

By Marie Craig

I am especially interested in recycling items.  My notebook of ideas and plans illustrates that.  One thing I learned to do is to take a white styrofoam tray that holds meat in the grocery store and use the hole punch to create “beads.”  Then you take needle and thread to string them in the centers so that they lie next to each other on the circular surface.  If you put enough of them together and then tie the knot to join them and hide the loose ends, it looks somewhat like expensive puka beads.  If you want a shorter set of beads, you can include the necklace findings to be able to fasten them.

Puka means “hole” in Hawaiian and these actual shell fragments with holes ready for stringing are considered good luck items.   

Another material to use in this manner is styrofoam egg cartons.  This will give various colors of created necklaces.  They are really quite beautiful.  Children would enjoy this craft.

One year, I taught basic math in a middle school.  I tried to include interesting things to show and tell them.  I discussed my pink recycled beads I was wearing that day and described how I’d made them.  With this age student, you have no idea whether anything you’re saying registers with them.

My son was in a different class at that same time.  He and a boy in my class got into a serious argument at school and almost came to blows.  The boy’s parting blow to my son came in a shout, “At least my mother doesn’t wear egg cartons around her neck!”