The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
Published 1:11 pm Friday, March 10, 2023
By Linda H. Barnette
Coronations of British monarchs have taken place in Westminster Abbey since 1066 when William the Conqueror was crowned there. When the Abbey was rebuilt during the reign of Henry III, it was clearly in the same Gothic style that remains today.
In the middle of the Abbey, there is a place that was especially built for coronations. It is built in the shape of the cross, and the crowning ceremony takes place at the exact point where the two parts of the cross meet. The sovereign sits in the Coronation Chair in front of the High Altar. The chair itself is 700 years old.
The Liber Regalis (royal book) written during medieval times explains how crownings are staged. In the book itself, four beautiful old pictures illustrate the act of crowning a ruler. This book is still used today to plan the event.
To be sure, a coronation is a religious ceremony in which the monarch partakes of Holy Communion and is anointed with special holy oil by the head of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The monarch then makes promises to God and to the people they serve, thus making this event both a religious affair and an affair of state.
The service ends with a processional and the singing of the national anthem, “God Save the King,” which is sung to the same tune as “My Country, “tis of Thee.” Traditionally, the royal family then gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet the people as part of the public celebration.
It seems amazing that the coronation of King Charles III will be the first one since that of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
An Irish Tale, Part II
By Julie Terry Cartner
Muireann sat on a rock combing her long auburn hair, the sun releasing waves as soft and gentle as the incoming tide. Sighing softly, she allowed her mind to drift, reflecting on the past tumultuous years, her father, the druid, Tadg mac Nuadat, the cause of it all. When he was told that her marriage would lead to his loss of his home and property, he declined all her suitors’ advances. When Cumhal, a warrior, abducted her, Tadg called in favors, and Cumhal, a man she could have loved, was killed in battle leaving her pregnant and alone. Her father, still caring more about his property than his daughter, turned her away and ordered her to be burned to death. Escaping, she sought protection from the high king, Conn. After the birth of Deimne, her son, fearful for his life, she left him in the care of ones she trusted. They renamed him Fionn and lived secretly in the forest. No mother should have to part from her child, but she feared her love for him was not as powerful as her father’s treachery.
Now married to Gleor Lamderg, a king, she was half thrilled, half terrified to realize she was pregnant once again. Her father, the man who was supposed to love her, had been the engineer of her aforementioned loss. What would he do this time? Despite his attempts to have her killed, she was not only still alive, but now carrying another child to threaten his power and lifestyle.
Committed to protecting her unborn child, and equally determined not to give this one up, Muireann vowed this time things would end differently. She was stronger, wiser, and more experienced in the ways of the world than the girl she’d once been. She would win this time. She knew she could only control her actions and choices, not the minds and actions of others, but she’d do all she could do.
Time passed and Muireann gave birth to a daughter, so alike her as to be uncanny. Her infant head, even at birth, covered in red, curly hair, her pert nose, ornamented with a smattering of freckles, and eyes, as blue-green as the sea she loved, proclaimed her heritage as clearly as if Muireann stood on the parapets of the castle and shouted it to the world. No way I can hide or deny her, Muireann told herself. I’ll just have to stay on guard.
But try as she might, nobody, especially one with a newborn, can stay alert twenty-four hours a day, and eventually it happened. Sitting on the shoreline, feet caressed by the incoming surf, sun warm on her back, Muireann fell asleep, aided by a spell her father’s man had cast on her.
When she awakened several hours later, she started in fear, then when she felt the comforting weight of the baby in her arms, she relaxed, appeased that all was well. Mere moments later, her world collapsed. Drawing back the blanket covering her child, she gazed at a baby, but not her baby. Green, not blue, eyes met hers, framed by a cap of deep chestnut hair, surrounding milky-white skin, not a freckle in sight. A beautiful baby, for sure, but not hers.
Wailing the grief that only a parent can feel at the loss of a child, Muireann looked into the babe’s innocent face. Even heartbroken, she could only see the child’s purity, the innocence that demanded protection. Then and there, she vowed she would love and protect the child as her own, even as she searched the world over to find her babe. She hoped, fervently, that the woman who’d been given her child, would make the same vow. (To be continued…)
Two Blue Shirts
By Mike Byrd, Guest Writer
Last Saturday, I went shopping for a vest so I can stay warm at work. When the wind starts blowing and it’s rainy outside, I stay cold! It’s been that way since chemotherapy; I try to remember that the chill I feel in the air reminds me that I’m alive. I’m grateful as I thank God and remember what my dad once told me: “Boy! It’s when you quit hurting that you’ve got a problem. Come on, we’ve got work to do!”
While browsing through the store, I saw a pretty blue shirt hanging all by itself. I looked at it closely; a men’s small size which would have fit perfectly on my friend, George Frye, who passed a while ago at the tender age of 94. They say as we get older that we get “set in our ways” and George was no exception to the rule. He dearly loved blue, long-sleeved shirts and would wear a variation of blue every day.
Many thoughts passed through my mind as I stared at the shirt hanging in front of me. I told my dearest friend who had accompanied me, that I really wish I could buy that shirt for George. She understood my thoughts and feelings. I miss his stories and his mentoring of my seven plus decade old self even more than the good food we shared at Kent’s, his favorite place to go for breakfast.
As the memories of time spent listening and sharing with George at his home, I thought of another “blue shirt” friend I miss even more, my friend “Pete.” Both of us old school, we got along well and understood each other. Neither of us felt like we fit in the world as we know it today. Pete Frye was another one of those men who dearly loved his blue shirts! On rare occasions, the replacement color would be white, when the utmost of respect was offered to those he had known so well and called “friend.”
There are so many things I could say about the color “blue!” It’s my favorite color too. I love blue shirts, blue pants, blue cars, blue skies, anything blue usually looks better to me. I never asked George nor Pete their reason for liking blue shirts so well, but in my case, it’s pretty easy for me. You see, I’m colorblind and blue is one color I see well. Unfortunately, because of my condition, anything remotely close to blue, is “blue” to me.
I’m a better man for having had the privilege of knowing George Frye and Pete Frye. Both were men of integrity and honor, even if they were just a little bit opinionated. Not overbearing, but quick to make clear where they stood. I like that in a man, in any person really. I guess one of the things I miss most from my younger years is the fact that today we’re so afraid that we’ll offend someone by being different or thinking differently that we keep silent.
These two men of which I speak were related; you probably figured that out already. They grew up in different eras in this country we call “The United States of America.” Both men experienced countless hardships that made them who they were as men; their work ethic, integrity, brutal honesty, willingness and desire to be a friend and helping neighbor shone through in their daily lives. Before George died, he had forgotten more about cars than most people ever know. The same can be said for Pete. His common sense and brilliant mind helped him figure things out, engineer a project, get things done. This caused me to realize that God blessed him with an extra portion of desire and ability! I’ve never known anyone like him. I wish there was space to share more about each of these men, but that will have to wait for another day.
Watch out for old men wearing blue shirts! You’ll probably find out that they are very special men who deserve a few minutes of your time as they bend your ear with the stories of their lives. I hope you will listen.