The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:21 pm Thursday, January 19, 2023

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Christmas Every Day

By Julie Terry Cartner

“Oh Good, she’s playing Christmas music again,” the newest ornament on the tree, a miniature nutcracker, said. “I love that she’s still celebrating Christmas even though it’s January.”

Shaking his head sadly, the oldest ornament, a Currier and Ives ball, replied, “Oh, you sweet young thing, that’s not good news for us, it’s the end of the season. She always plays her favorite Christmas albums the day she takes us down and puts us away till next year.”

“What do you mean, she puts us away?” the nutcracker asked, alarmed. “Is this all there is for us?”

“No, no, calm down,” the ball replied gently. “She’ll wrap us up carefully, and then put us back in our box until next year, then she’ll get us back out and put us on a brand-new tree.” Taking a moment to inhale deeply, he added, “I love the scent of a fresh evergreen. It’s so crisp and fresh; it’s the smell of Christmas. And every year, she gets us a new one. We’re lucky,” he finished.

“Well, okay,” the nutcracker replied. “I don’t love the idea of going away for almost a year, but I’m glad to hear we’ll come back out next Christmas. I wish it could be Christmas all year,” he added.

“Everyone says that,” the ball replied, “and you know, if it were Christmas every day, then it wouldn’t be what it is. But I agree with you too. Christmas is special. It changes people in a good way. They’re more caring and kinder.”

“Yes, exactly,” the nutcracker replied. “Even if we can’t keep the tree and the decorations up all year, I wish we could keep the spirit of Christmas alive. It’s like that Kenny Rogers song she likes to play, isn’t it? What’s it called? You know, the chorus says, “The Christmas star shines once a year and then it fades away. Keep the spirit in your heart and it’s Christmas every day.” I love our tree and all the decorations: the snowmen, the Santas, and the Nativity scenes, and especially the other nutcrackers just like me, but bigger,” he said, “but what I really love is the spirit of the season.”

“Yes, indeed,” said the ball, I think the song you’re talking about is ‘Christmas Everyday.’ I love this verse, ‘Remember Him throughout the year without the star above. He left us all a Christmas gift; He left the gift of love.’” The ball sang the words softly, reverently. “Now, little man, close your eyes and relax. She’s coming this way with the boxes and the wrapping supplies. Sleep well, my young friend, and I’ll see you next year.”

“Come to think of it, I am getting tired,” the nutcracker replied, yawning. “I guess I’m due for a nice long nap. See you next year, my friend. Thanks for the words of wisdom.”

“Last year Americans gave $410.2 billion to Charity [in December.]  [And] one-third of annual giving occurs in December.” (“December Giving Makes Us Human” This quantity of giving is wonderful. Schools, churches, clubs and organizations, even businesses have blanket drives, coat drives and food drives all over the country. Who hasn’t thrown at least a few coins into a Salvation Army bucket? Who hasn’t helped make care packages sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas? We should be proud of what we do. But is it enough? Does the food last throughout the year? Are needs met during the other eleven months? Are we as kind, caring, and generous in January or April or September?

We need to do better. We must do better. Humanity demands we do better. Every individual who needs help has a story. Each person could be you, if, at some point in your life things had gone differently, if you hadn’t had a piece of good luck, if somebody hadn’t helped you through a tough spot, if insurance hadn’t kicked in when you needed it, if you had crossed that intersection two seconds before or after you arrived there, and you’d been the victim of that car that didn’t stop. Let’s work together to make the world a better place for everyone.

“Keep the spirit in your heart, and it’s Christmas every day.”

Davie Carriages

By Marie Craig

In 1850, there were five census schedules: Population, Slave, Mortality, Agriculture, and Industrial. When I studied the hard-to-read Industrial Census, I found that Davie County had a business, “Prichard, Rosebrugh and Company,” that made horse-drawn conveyances. This industrial census is available on microfilm at the History Room of Davie County Public Library.  But, it is very difficult to read. There are only 2.5 pages, but still very interesting to study. There were 18 distilleries listed by owner in this compilation of 38 businesses. The other businesses were grist mills, tobacco factories, cabinet shops, tanner, foundry, blacksmith, copper and tin shop, shoe shop, and sawmill.

This is the summary of the carriage business: Product: carriage manufacture; Capital invested: $1,450; 6000 coal; value is $240; 6 tons iron; value is $525; 1200 ft. lumber; value is $150; 75 springs; value is $525; 75 axles; value is $375; Cloth and other trimmings; value is $1200; leather, paints, etc.; value is $445; Total is $3,460; Kind of power: hand; Number of hands employed: 20; Average monthly cost of male labour: $200. [Each man received $10 per month.]

The Inventory was 1 coach; $400; 12 rockaways; $2400; 57 buggies; $5700; 1 two horse waggons; $50; and 2 one horse waggons; $70.

Where was it located?  There are 73 buggies or wagons listed so it would have needed a lot of room.  There were 20 employees, so they needed room to work.  It was probably just outside town is my guess.  It was before the train went through town, and there are no existing newspapers from 1850, so there are a lot of facts we will probably never know.

Researching the population schedule of the census yielded information about the two owners of the carriage company. Joseph Price Prichard, 44, was a Baptist minister with his wife and six children. This census did not include specific location within Davie County, but there was a hotel listed nearby, so they probably lived in town. He had 5 slaves, but he was not included in the agriculture census, so they were probably servants in his home. The family is not listed in the 1840 or 1860 Davie census, so I guess that was a short-lived business venture.

On the Website, FindAGrave, he is listed with ID of 92602518. Someone had included these notes about him: “Rev. J.P. Pritchard, who died at the residence of his son, William Pritchard, Feb. 11, 1890, was born of English parents in Charleston, SC, Sept. 1806. During his infancy his parents returned to London, England, where he remained until his tenth year, when he returned, an orphan, to America.  In his twenty-second year he was married to Miss Eliza Henderson, of Charlotte, NC, with whom he lived happily until her death, Sept. 29, 1880. Soon after his marriage he made a profession of religion and joined the Presbyterian church. Two years later he united with the Baptist church, of which he was a member until his death. More than fifty years he was a faithful minister of the gospel.  He moved to Texas in the year 1854. One year later he came to Houston County. He served the Crockett church as pastor a number of years, besides a number of other churches in this and Leon County.  Notwithstanding he was more than 83 years of age, he continued to preach occasionally until his last sickness.”

Samuel Rosebrough, 32, lived near his business partner. His family included a wife and two children. Both men had employees living with them. Samuel was born in Rowan County. He also had five slaves. In the 1870 census, he, his wife, and his family of seven children were living in Ashley, Independence County, Arkansas, where he was a farmer.

So much lost information that we’ll never know.

After Christmas

By Gaye Hoots

Faye was able to attend a Christmas dinner at her son’s home, but Nick, Brad, and Ken picked up her wheelchair and carried it up the steps. We enjoyed the meal, the fellowship, and watching the children anticipating Christmas. A couple of days later, Faye developed COVID, so Nick and I isolated with her as she recovered.

I tested negative, and on the 22nd, we drove to Ft. Walton Beach for Vann and Laura’s wedding. On the way down, we stopped in Atlanta for an authentic Mexican meal which I enjoyed, and I learned that it is not just the red sauces I have to avoid. The innocent-looking yellow sauce nearly blistered my tongue. The weather favored us, and we arrived at the condo we rented by bedtime.

I was impressed by the beautiful gulf view and the white sand that Destin/Ft. Walton is known for. Laura’s mom is a nurse and homeschooled all 5 of their children, which I found impressive. Laura is an officer in the air force, and 2 or 3 of her bridesmaids were active military pilots. We all enjoyed the rehearsal dinner with attendees from HI and London. It was a diverse group, but I was the only living grandparent and probably 20 years older than anyone else at the rehearsal dinner.

The wedding was on the beach with a beautiful view and high winds. Several aunts and uncles from Vann’s dad’s family came for the wedding and were elegantly dressed, as was Laura’s family. My side of the family wrapped up like Eskimos because it was cold and the wind was high. The ceremony was inspirational and followed by a reception at Laura’s brother’s home in Ft. Walton.

The reception was outside, but I opted to eat inside and watch the dancing through the windows, but The twins did ask for and got a dance each with Grandma. We all have high hopes for this young couple who are in the military. Laura is being deployed to Qatar, and Vann has another year of intensive training in a 2 -year EOD program. Our prayers go with them.

We visited local places, but 2 of the days were cloudy and misty so I stayed inside in my pajamas and read. On the second day, one of the twins asked me to please put some blue jeans on as she was evidently tired of my hibernation. They loved seeing fireworks, which were set off on the beach randomly from about 9 pm until 1am. We had a great view from our condo.

On the drive home, we stopped in Ocala and had lunch with Nick Poindexter’s sister, Cass Green, and her husband, Marty. They treated us to a delicious meal and Christmas bags of candy. Our next stop was in Jacksonville, where Tammy Gurley Baker and her husband took the kids to dinner. We stayed the night in Jacksonville and drove to Wilmington the next day, where we ate with Cassidy, spent the night, and headed home.

I have hibernated since getting home and am so reluctant to go out that I even tried cooking. Now I have to figure out how to clean my glass stovetop, where I laid my dish towel while the surface was still hot. Now a trip to Bojangles and the grocery store are in my future.