The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 2:12 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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Celebrate Christmas Every Day

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Mennie Morrison delivered a solid message to us on Sunday. I was among those who attended the almost sold-out Women’s Luncheon at the Billy Graham Training Center, The Cove, in Asheville on Sunday afternoon.

I was surrounded by strong Christian ladies who share one common trait – we are believers and followers of Christ. I reveled in Mennie’s message – one carefully constructed based on Biblical scripture. Her intent – to highlight the importance of the birth of Jesus.

Mennie began by going back in time to look at how babies’ births were celebrated – the baby showers of the past. She pointed out how today’s birth celebrations compare to those of yesteryear – those over-the-top and extravagant gender reveal parties. No more pick-up finger foods either – now more likely to be a fully catered meal.

So I’ll address the question she asked her audience: What are we celebrating? What’s truly important and worth celebrating? Not that babies aren’t – but why not a grand celebration for the birth of Jesus? Jesus was the most important birth in all of history. Christmas should be about celebrating Jesus Christ – the son of the living God. Because without Him, there is no Christmas.

Mennie also pointed out the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth. His birth didn’t come with much celebration or fanfare – a lowly birth in a manger. But His mission and purpose were great. Jesus’ birth is God’s love story with the world – God’s plan to redeem us back to himself. After the fall of man, we needed rescuing. Mennie carefully broke down scripture, starting in Genesis – where we get the first Biblical glimpse of God’s redemption, and moved forward in the Bible.   

So let us never forget what our birth celebration is really all about – God’s love, reconciliation, and redemption. Christ had to be born in order to die – and He died for us. We were delivered from sin and atoned for our mistakes. Christ saved us. Doesn’t His birth deserve to be celebrated every single day of our lives?

As Mennie so appropriately stated, “No gender reveal on earth could trump this one.”

History of Diamond Engagement Rings

By Linda H. Barnette

People in the jewelry business and the arts believe that the first diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by the Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477.   A letter written to Maximillian stated, “At the betrothal your Grace must have a ring set with diamonds and also a gold ring.”  So apparently that was the beginning of the custom of giving and wearing rings when engaged and married.

Diamonds even then symbolized fidelity and durability.  As in the early days there was no way to cut the stones, jewelers mounted them so that they looked sort of like pyramids. A Renaissance painting shows the above-mentioned Mary wearing what appears to be solitaire on her right hand as people then thought that the second and third fingers were connected to the heart by blood veins.

In the 19th century, Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England, was nicknamed the Queen of Diamonds because of her diamond engagement ring and wedding ring both. And Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria a gold and gem-set snake ring for their engagement. It represented eternal love.

Things changed in 1886 when the Tiffany company introduced its first engagement rings. Their ring design featured prongs lifting a diamond above a slender gold band. The Tiffany setting was very popular then as it still is. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his fiancée Eleanor a 3.4 carat diamond ring in 1904.

Movie stars and royalty also adopted diamonds for wedding and engagement rings. In 1937 Prince Phillip gave Princess Elizabeth a 3-carat diamond engagement ring. Their fairy tale romance prompted other couples to get diamond rings too.

I personally was fascinated by movie stars as a teen and spent my earnings from the dime store on movie magazines. I recall seeing pictures of the almost 30- carat diamond given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton and also the 10-carat diamond that Grace Kelly received from Prince Rainier.

Today it is very common for women to get diamond engagement rings.

However, the prettiest one I have ever seen was my Grandmother Smith’s ring from my grandfather long ago. It was a small diamond held in place by 6 prongs, and it looked very delicate. I wish I had a picture of it to share.

The Thanksgiving Meal

By David R. Moore

In the weeks before the big day, magazines, newspapers, and online sources are filled with ideas and recipes to make Thanksgiving dinner different and more exciting.  Every year she ignored the calls for change using brining, deep frying, marinading, injecting, or whatever is the latest craze.  Roasting a turkey in an oven at 325 °F using her mother’s roasting pan worked well for her.

This year was her 49th year of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and she wasn’t going to change a thing in her recipes based on her mother’s cooking.  The meal consisted of moist turkey, freshly carved, mashed potatoes enriched with butter and cream cheese, green bean casserole, always using the cream of mushroom soup, hot rolls, cranberry sauce, still wobbling from its can, stuffing, and gravy.  Earlier in the morning, she baked her homemade apple pie.

The stuffing recipe has remained the same, year after year. Onions and celery are sautéed in butter and added to dried bread cubes, moistened with chicken broth. The turkey’s front and rear cavities are filled with stuffing and closed fast with long metal pins.  She carefully monitored the turkey’s roasting with periodic basting of its juices.  When the bird was cooked and resting on the carving platter, she prepared a simple gravy from the juices in the same roasting pan, scraping up any remaining browning.   

The meal lasted 20 to 30 minutes as the food was inhaled, and after a rapid second round of helpings, the table was abandoned, some going off to rest in front of a TV, knowing in an hour or so, apple pie would be served.  A few helped her clear the table, stripped the rest of the meat off the bird, and secured the leftovers.  As she handwashed the hundred-year-old China dishes, the younger generation told her the meal was “Okay.”  She smiled and hoped they would return for her 50th year of cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

“Fifty Years”

By:  E. Bishop

     It almost did not happen, or so some of us thought it was not going to.  After all, large gatherings with covid still on our minds was a concern.  Why should we have a high school reunion?  Because it has been fifty years!  And we all ask ourselves “how can that be possible?”  Reunions are always just a bit awkward; nevertheless, everyone should make an effort to attend just for the simple fact and joy that we’re still alive.  It should be an honor and a privilege.

     Class reunions offer us an opportunity to take a look at who we once were in comparison to who we are now.  Look at those goofy senior pictures in the yearbook and have a laugh at yourself.  We are no longer those young kids who worried about whether we fit in or not, whether we were smart enough, looked good enough or what other people thought of us.  Those same people you thought were mean or stuck-up in high school turn out to be perfectly nice people now.  After fifty years, we can let go of all those past insecurities and fears because hopefully we are all wiser because we’re definitely older.  Time changes everything.  We are totally different from the 18 year- old we once were.  The beauty of it is that everyone is a totally different person.

     So, should you go or not?  Remember, it is a rare opportunity to socialize with a specific peer group, those people you grew up with in the same geographic area you did and in the same time period you did.  You might want to reconnect with former friends and classmates and relive happy memories.  It is a rare chance to reconnect with people that were once part of your life.  So what if we all have to wear name tags to help us remember each other.

     We slapped our name tags on, wrote our names and addresses down in a book for future reference, had a group picture taken (that was fun), gave out awards such as who had traveled the farthest to attend the event, and who had the most grandchildren, etc., took a moment to remember those classmates no longer with us and those who were not able to join us due to illness, and in general tried to re-establish a bond.  It was a joy to see a lot of people I have not seen in a long time and to listen to some of the wild high school antics of some of those people.

     This was all made possible by a dedicated group of classmates, too numerous to mention, that have stepped up to the occasion time after time.  Kathy and Patrick Miller of The Farmhouse at Gemini Branch so graciously made our reunion so very special with the decorations and great food.  Nineteen seventy-two was a great year at Davie High.  Next reunion, please consider larger lettering on the name tags.