The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:52 am Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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By Linda H. Barnette

A post on Facebook yesterday made me think back over many years to all of the teachers that I have had along my journey. I actually remember them all.

When I started school in 1947, my heart was broken because I did not get assigned to Mrs. Arnold’s class. I was very shy, but I knew her from First Baptist Church and hoped I would have her as my first teacher. As it turned out, however, I got Miss Rose Owens. Because I had had 2 major surgeries that summer, I started to school later than the others. “Miss Rose,” as we called her, was kind and patient as she tried to catch me up with the class. She was always the standard that I used to measure teachers by—kind, motherly, efficient.  She made me love school that year, and that love continued for many years.

Obviously, I’m not going to name all of them, but Mr. James Wall and his sister, Miss Claire Wall, were two of my most influential teachers as well as neighbors on our street. He was my teacher in the 8th grade back when we had the same person all day and again in high school for US History and Civics. Because of him, I became a student of history and have been so all of my life.  One of my most prized possessions is a copy of his “History of Davie County,” signed by him and given to me as a Christmas gift from my parents many years ago.

Miss Claire Wall was a beautiful lady with an easy smile and an obvious love of literature, especially poetry. How could I ever forget Charles Farthing’s reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”? In that class I first got the idea that I wanted to become a teacher.

When I went to Catawba, I had many gifted teachers, most notably Dr. Raymond Jenkins for English and Dean Elisabeth Scranton for history.  The transition from high school to college in those days was tremendous.  Still very quiet and shy, I recall Dr. Jenkins asking us one day in English 101 how to properly pronounce the word “victuals.” I recall very tentatively raising my hand and saying “vittles.” I knew that from watching so many of those early cowboy shows on television! From that time on, I loved his classes and became his assistant for all 4 years. It was largely because of him that I decided to go to graduate school at the University of Tennessee.

Miss Scranton was the Dean of Woman and a history professor. She was a tall and imposing figure, causing many students to be uncomfortable in her classes. Her expectations were very high. I liked and admired her very much and loved her European History class and chose to take a minor in that field.

Graduate school was very different from college. My professors were all very strict and only interested in our work. There did not appear to be any personal interest at all.

It was a long journey from first grade to graduate school, but I loved it all.  I think I was born to be both a student and a teacher!!

Full Circle

By Stephanie Williams Dean

About five years ago, a stranger named Mike showed up at my door. He’d come to see the garage apartment I had advertised for rent. He moved in the same day with just the clothes on his back. Later, Mike shared the details of his personal life. He’d been locked out of his home – as usual, a two-sided story. A marriage gone bad.

Soon after, Mike’s 82-year-old mother, Carolyn, began visiting him. At that time, she was driving back and forth from her home on the NC coast. She worried about her son. Before you know it, she had rented an upstairs guest bedroom. As you’d suspect, having lost my mother, I immediately bonded with Carolyn and grew quite attached to her. Mike worked daily, so I spent much of my time with his mother. I’d take her shopping or out for lunch. We’d go to WalMart and eat at Subway on Wednesdays – the day they ran their tuna sub special. We both loved tuna fish.

Mike stayed in his apartment for a year before buying a house just a few miles down the road. But my friendship with Mike and Carolyn didn’t end. Whenever Carolyn came to town, they dialed me up and invited me to go eat fried catfish at a local diner – only served on Fridays.

The following year, Mike was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. In the years that followed, I saw less of Mike as he was busy with his medical issue. But I stayed in touch with Carolyn – keeping abreast of Mike’s health situation.

Fast forward – I called Carolyn one day and learned Mike wasn’t doing well. Time was closing in on him. That afternoon, I stopped by his house to visit. Mike’s health was declining rapidly. He needed help, so I stepped in. Every day for the final two months of his life, I was Mike’s chauffeur, friend, healthcare advocate, emotional caregiver, and supporter. In the final two weeks, his sister, Beth, came and stayed with him at his home

Along with Hospice, Beth attended to his physical care. During that time, Carolyn came to my home to live – a place where she could be at peace, get rest, and relax. She could easily drive back and forth daily from my house to his.

A few days before Mike’s death, I considered how things had turned out for me, Mike, and Carolyn. We once had been new friends – like silver, but now, we were old friends – precious gold. Life had come full circle. In a way, we were back as we started. Who would have foreseen that Carolyn would be living in the apartment that Mike once occupied – and he would be dying?

Life is like that. It’s often said that what goes around comes around – and I believe it does in many circumstances. There’s a beautiful Bible verse in Ecclesiastes 1:5-7 (NIV) that I love – and it reads:

“The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.”

While pertinent to my story, the verse’s meaning in the Biblical context differs. Near the end of Solomon’s life, he wrote from personal experience: our purposes or anything apart from God – will fail to satisfy.


By:  E. Bishop

     The cornerstone was laid on August 22, 1874, and regular services were held until about 1933.   Time took its toll on this little white church on the hill and in the 1970’s this little Lutheran church, Cherry Hill Church in southern Davie County, was slated to be demolished. But, thanks to Johnny Singleton and many others, it was declared an historical gem worth preserving, and so it was. Descendants of the former church members and the surrounding community came together, and now they make sure the sacred grounds and church are well kept and open for the annual homecoming.

      Another year passes and I’m blessed to be one of those attending homecoming again.  Reverend John C. Elam from Franklin Presbyterian brings the message entitled “Let’s Come Home.”  Hymns sung were “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” and “Rock of Ages” while the overhead fans whirled, and the congregation used their bulletins to fan themselves.  And, just as in the old days before nurseries, the sweet rustlings of restless children could be heard.  Like the children, the adults possibly were becoming restless toward the end of the service knowing what a bountiful “dinner on the grounds” was coming next.

     Attending a church’s homecoming always brings up childhood memories for me such as in the case of Cherry Hill’s homecoming Sunday.  Another one such memory is that of our parents taking us to No Creek Primitive Baptist Church.  Have you ever been involved in a foot washing ceremony?  Well, as my old memory serves me, as an eight-year-old, I had not.  My nephew, Bobby, who was just two years younger and like a brother to me, had not either.  We both thought they were coming after us too so we sneaked out before they could get any closer.  I’m sure we were scolded later.

     No Creek Baptist Church holds a special place for my family as my paternal great-grandfather, John Henry Snider (1855-1914) and his wife, my great-grandmother, Ellen Frances Hendrix (1859-1932) were laid to rest there.  And, I believe I was named after this great grandmother.  No wonder our parents took us to events at this church that held foot washings.

     The early Christian church introduced the custom to imitate the humility and selfless love of Jesus, who washed the feet of the Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper (John 13:1-15), the night before his crucifixion.  This foot washing practice is most often associated with the Primitive Baptist churches whose members believe that Jesus washed feet to set an example to remind us to show kindness, forgiveness, grace and humility.

    Although we have to change with the times sometimes, traditions of the religious realm of our lives helps bind us together into a more cohesive society and hopefully gives us a deeper appreciation for everything and everyone around us.  Homecomings and other worship rites are full of symbolisms that can keep us grounded no matter the religious denomination.

      “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”

Summer Constellation:  Delphinus the Dolphin

By David R. Moore

Delphinus (pronounced del-fine-nus) is a small constellation located in the east-southeast sky.  Look for the Summer Triangle, and Delphinus is near Altair.  The star marks the triangle’s lower right-hand corner.  To the left of Altair, about two fists-width at arm’s length is the faint, slightly sideways diamond of stars.  This diamond outlines the jumping dolphin’s torso, and another star to the lower right of the diamond marks the tail.

According to Greek mythology, how Delphinus got in the sky is centered around a musical superstar (of that time) named Arion.  He sang and played his harp all over the ancient world, and the people loved him.

He had a yacht and crew that rowed him around the Greek isles and beyond.  Although he was rich, he became a cheapskate when paying his crew.  Their resentment built up as, time after time, he climbed back on the ship with sacks of coins yet refused to pay them their wages.  After a successful performance in Sicily and boarding the boat again with bags of cash, the infuriated crew jumped him and put him on a plank for his final stroll.  They didn’t believe his promises of payment, but they allowed him to play his harp one last time.  Standing out on the plank, he sang for all his might, and his music was so beautiful that dolphins gathered below and sang along.  He extended his song as long as he could, but when the final chorus ended, into the ocean, he went.

The dolphins were impressed by his music, and Delphinus, the largest of the group, hoisted the drowning Arion out of the water and onto his back.  Delphinus gave Arion a ride back to Greece, where Arion and his music lived on.  The gods of Mount Olympus were so pleased about Arion’s rescue that they raised the great dolphin to the celestial sea, where he swims in the stars every night.