The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

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By  E. Bishop

Most drivers, no matter how carefully they drive, will be involved in at least one vehicle collision in their lifetime.  Only 32% of Americans have never been in a car accident.  For every one thousand miles you drive, your chances of getting into an accident are 1 in 366, according to insurance representatives.

It’s good to know that I’m still in the age bracket for being the safest driver due to the advantage of life experience and a lower risk for distracted driving which is the number one cause of accidents.  And, the fact that I’m a woman makes me a safer driver; men tend to take more risks.  Drivers ages 16 to 19, as expected, are the group that causes most accidents because of inexperience and distractions.  Speeding is also a common mistake of new drivers. The age bracket of mid 20’s to mid 30’s have a higher risk for fatal injuries, according to the National Safety Council.  Then, as people age into their 70’s and continue to drive, their health conditions begin to interfere with driving abilities.

According to another source, over the course of a lifetime, drivers will experience 3 to 4 accidents on average.  The most common are rear-end, side swipes and t-bone collisions.  At no fault of my own, I’ve had my share.  When I wrote my last article about my daddy’s ’47 Chevrolet truck, it reminded me of the first time I was involved in an accident although I really don’t remember it since I was only about three.  Daddy was driving the family home from church, me on my mother’s knee, brother and sister riding in the back, door accidentally opens; Mother and I fall out. Mother suffers broken ribs but I get by without a scratch (so the story goes).

My second really bad experience with a vehicle is when I was the actual driver.  At 19, just out of high school, I had a white Ford Mustang, newly painted and fixed up just for me.  But, it was totaled when a woman ran a stop sign at the end of Deadmon Road as I was traveling toward Mocksville.  The almost t-bone put me in the hospital for seven days with internal injuries, but the good Lord was looking out for both of us that day.

As a result of this accident, I believe I became a much safer driver.  However, that doesn’t mean I was impervious to things outside of my control.  Driving home from work at 3 am, seeing a tractor trailer in front of me sliding into the median and then me following right behind on that ice covered bridge, was extremely traumatizing.  My four-,, wheel drive Jeep was no match for the ice but I was able to get back on the road safely albeit knees shaking all the way home.

Eighty percent of crashes are caused by human error, are preventable or avoidable if only we pay more attention as in the case of the other accidents I’ve been involved in.  The driver that  illegally backed across lanes and sideswiped my vehicle while I was waiting at a light; the elderly gentleman that rear ended my car as I was attempting to make a turn.  Also, it’s dangerous enough out there without you speeding or passing multiple vehicles on double yellow lines – stop it!  Share the road responsibly.  And, if I’m your front seat passenger, don’t mind me when I put on the brakes for you.

My Family

By Linda H. Barnette

When I last saw my oncologist, Dr, Judith Hopkins, in 2017, she advised me to go home and live my life and to work on my genealogy, which she knew was my hobby. She also said in jest that I might discover that I was related to a queen or a king.

However, after years of intense research, I have not found a royal relative, but I have learned about many ancestors of whom I am very proud.

My people generally came to North Carolina from Maryland and Virginia in the mid-to late 1700’s as did most of the early settlers in our area. The dates can be proven mainly by property deeds or family Bibles.  After the very first United States Census was taken in 1790, it helped a great deal in family research because it placed everyone in a given household and in a certain location as well as revealing their age and occupations.

Later came online resources such as Ancestry and Family Search, which are invaluable tools for research as are digitized records done by various counties and states. On these sites, one can find wills and many other family documents. Having records online has made research easier and faster, as often many resources are available in the same spot.

My early ancestors, like most other people in those days, were farmers who lived by working the land, planting and harvesting their own food. Over the years they often accumulated property as evidenced by early deeds.  The most interesting deeds that I ever saw were the two that my Grandmother Smith had in her possession. They were handwritten on old, thick, yellow paper and were dated 1813. Both showed that her Dwiggins forebears had bought land in the Center community that had once belonged to John Boone, Daniel’s nephew. The property was part of the original Boone land grant.  Now they are in the vault at the library for safekeeping.

Eventually, as history marched on, people left the land and moved into towns where life was easier. Later on, many of their sons and daughters finished high school and college and became professional folks.

I have learned many things during my years of research, but nothing more valuable than that it has been the contributions of ordinary people called to do extraordinary things that made this nation great.  Many of them were mine even though I suppose I missed out on the royalty part.

Words of Condolence

By Stephanie Williams Dean

I’m participating in January’s challenge – sorting and discarding packed away papers, saved penned letters, and sweet message cards.  The job’s not one for tender hearts. While doing so, I ran across an old typed condolence letter dated 19 December 1995 written by the sweet husband of a friend.  To say I was “down in the dumps” would put it mildly as it was a most sorrowful time in my life as Mamma had passed away of a broken heart six weeks after we lost Daddy.  As I read the letter again, tears welled up in my eyes – the words consoling.  The fact that my friend took time to write such a heartfelt letter – pulled at my fragile heartstrings. The letter begins,   

“Dear Stephanie:

It is difficult to find words that convey how deeply we share in your sorrow at losing your beloved mother. While we want to tell you that we stand ready to help, we know that time is the only thing that will slowly mend the sadness of this event.

When I lost both of my parents I realized that a very important part of my life was no longer there. While children and spouses are also a vital part of our life, parents hold that special bond that sustains us throughout the good and the bad times of our existence. Probably, the emotional attachment is a reflection of the fact that parents are there to provide stability, a point of reference, and the anchor to our beginning.

It is also likely that the special bond is a reflection of the fact that they are the only people in our life that ask nothing in return for their love. I became cognizant of these feelings after my parents passed away. I wanted to share these thoughts with you because I am really grateful for the friendship and support that you have given us. We also wanted to offer something that may help to console you at this time. The wound will heal, maybe slowly but the lingering pain is not totally bad because it is there to keep you aware of your timeless love for your parents and all of the small things that you did in growing up.

Please accept our deepest condolence. We pray to God that he can help you to have the strength to overcome these very sad events.”

Your friend,

C. Ferrario