The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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Comes the Rainbow III

By Julie Terry Cartner

Driving home from a visit with my sister, I was thinking about the articles I’d written for the last few weeks. I was trying to come up with a Part III to finish out the set. Only a few minutes into the drive, and we realized we’d forgotten my husband’s travel mug, and so we turned around and went back to get it. The impact on our travel time was maybe fifteen minutes, not a big deal in the face of a six-hour trip.

Later that day we got caught up in traffic, adding around 45 minutes to our drive. A serious accident had closed lanes on our side, and we had to do the give and take of merging three lanes of heavy traffic into one. The stop and go was tedious, and the delay seemed to last forever.

Of course, at first, we had no idea what had gridlocked the traffic, and our quite normal reaction was frustration at the delay. We were ready to get home. But when we got closer to the cause of the delay and saw the multiple cars involved in the accident and the police, ambulance, and fire trucks, I sent up a prayer for the people involved.

Then, when I realized the accident had occurred fairly recently, my entire perspective changed. Two widely opposite viewpoints entered my mind. My first thought was, if we hadn’t had to go back to pick up the mug, we might have been ahead of the accident, and we would have been an hour closer to home.

But then, a darker thought entered my mind. If we hadn’t had the delay to our trip, we might have been right in the middle of that accident. Instead of driving by, we could have been in the median with EMT’s caring for us. How much difference those fifteen minutes could have made. A forgotten mug could have saved our lives.

I was once in a horrific accident, where the driver of the car in front of me lost control on I-77. She spun out and drove across three lanes of traffic, crossing right in front of me and a truck driver in the lane beside me. To this day, I can give no logical reason why my children and I didn’t get hit. With the direction of her car, she should have T-boned me. Somehow, we got past her, but she clipped the truck beside us, which caused him to spin and hit me. The impact of the cars landed us in three different areas of the road: I was in the emergency lane facing the right way. The truck driver, in his spin, ended up in the median facing the wrong way, and the driver of the car ended up off the road, through the guard rail and in the weeds. Nobody was seriously injured. Logic cannot explain this. All I can say is the hand of God protected us, put a shield around us and saved us for another day. I believe, with all my heart, that the three of us in our car hadn’t fulfilled our purpose for being on this earth.

As my husband and I drove past that accident site, some 15 or so years later, I had similar thoughts. “But for the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain,” said Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. Paraphrasing … But for the grace of God, I live to embrace God’s gift of another day. Life gives no guarantees, as simple as being in the wrong place at the wrong time or the right place at the right time. There will be storms, but there will also be rainbows.

Sometimes, out of our darkest moments, come rays of light. Sometimes, out of the fiercest storm clouds, come arcs of color, transporting the world into the shimmering rays of a rainbow. Sometimes, out of the darkest of nights, come the gentle, silvery beams of a full moon, and sometimes, we are given the ability to recognize this as the gift it is.

Answered Prayers

By Gaye Hoots

Two months ago, a mother from the Huitoto, a tribe in Columbia, flew in a single-engine plane with two other adults and her four children across the dense Amazon jungle. The aircraft crashed, killing two adults, and the mother, who survived four days, realized she was dying, and sent her children off into the jungle to seek help. The eldest child was a thirteen-year-old girl, her nine and four-year-old siblings, and a baby who was a month shy of their first birthday.

They took the supplies from the plane and left their dying mother at her insistence. The food was Cassava flour, Faranita, a thin bread, and a few bottles for the baby. There were wild animals, snakes, and mosquitoes in the jungle, and it was days before the plane was located and a search started. The search was called Operation Hope and consisted of the military and thousands of volunteers.

The Huitoto are an indigenous people who live a communal lifestyle. They are pictured as primitive, although many have taken jobs and live in cities. The info I have did not say which group this family came from, but the survival skills of the eldest girl enabled these children to survive against all odds. They found water, berries, and enough seeds to sustain them. The eldest chewed seeds to soften them and enable the baby to eat them. They also found one of the survival kits the rescue groups air-dropped into the jungle. They sheltered in hollowed-out tree trunks at night to protect them from predators.

I followed the media accounts and prayed for these children for two weeks; it seemed impossible,  for them to have survived longer. The area they were lost in was corrupt, where drug trafficking and criminal gangs ran rampant. An estimated eighty tons of cocaine are believed to be moved through this area yearly. Based on how quickly rescue efforts turn into recovery, efforts I was amazed that this poor country continued the actions of the military search and that volunteers did not lose hope after a month.

They did not give up the search, and at one point, a search dog found the children; but did not return to the searchers, establishing how dangerous the territory is. The search continued for forty days, when the children were located alive but severely malnourished.

The children were flown to a hospital and remained for a month. Initially, they could not eat food; but were gradually restored to their original weight. They could visit with family but stay in the custody of child protective services. The mother’s family is petitioning for possession, and the father of the two youngest is petitioning for control of them.

It is hard to believe that after surviving the loss of their mother, a forty-day ordeal in the Amazon jungle, and a month of rehab, these four may end up separated. I pray that God will guide their placement and give them the strength to live healthy, happy, productive lives.

Road Trips- Part 1

By Denise Bell 

Big adventures, getting side-tracked, wandering to new places! Summer is an attractive time for a road trip. A great time to wander and roam both near and far. Perhaps a day trip to one of the hundreds of beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina? Two hundred and fifty of these waterfalls are located near Brevard, NC, only a few hours from Davie County. Or perhaps plan a longer trip across some of the fifty states of America! Find time to bond with loved ones! Roll the windows down! Join the wind and be breezy!

Growing up in the automotive capital of the world, The Motor City, you could probably guess I spent some time in a car! On Sundays we would go on long drives. After church we would have lunch, packed into the car and headed out. I was never sure if my parents had a destination or were just off to wander. My mom didn’t drive but loved an adventure. Dad just loved to drive. Out to the countryside we went, watching a world different than our own just outside the window of the car. My mom loved to forage things along the way. I have a fond memory of picking up fallen black walnuts along the roadside.  It seemed like we drove so far from home, but as I started driving myself it really wasn’t so far away. What was once the countryside had now become a new suburban city and the farms were gone.

Every summer, Dad would drive the family to our grandparents’ house in Pennsylvania. He liked to start early in the morning for the six-hour drive so my sisters and I would load into the car still in our pajamas. We would take the Ohio Turnpike across, and by the time we were teenagers we knew the name of all the rest areas. I remember how fun it was to stop at them and get a penny pressed or shop in the gift shops.

My family did not have a lot of money for fancy trips on airplanes, so trips in the car were our ticket to adventure. The biggest adventure we took was a road trip to Florida. It took three days but there were memorable stops along the way. Cumberland Gap, Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls with souvenir trinkets collected at each stop. Some of which I still have tucked away much like my memories of those fun vacations.

     Once we got to my aunt’s house in Florida a new adventure began. In my memory it seems we spent the whole summer, but it was just a few weeks. My mom and her sister each had three children. Mom had three girls, and Aunt Skeets had three boys, all of us about the same ages. We spent our days swimming in their pool and playing Canasta outside where we hardly noticed the heat because we were having so much fun. Every few days we would pile into the cars and head out on day trips. Busch Gardens was a popular destination back then, Disney World was just swamp land designated to becoming a second Disneyland. Some days we would just drive the cars right onto the beach with a picnic lunch and coolers full of cold beverages for both grownups and the kids. We spent hours playing in the sand and the ocean while our parents watched the waves and caught some sun. On one day trip we went to St. Augustine, I loved the history of the city. In my child’s mind it seemed that everything was built from crushed seashells. I remember visiting a castle and seeing an outdoor play about Ponce De Leon. I truly believed that the Fountain would really make you young.

     Whether a day trip to see local sites or trips across the country, these road trips of my youth created a wanderlust in me that resonated throughout my entire life. I love to drive just like my dad did. I take many longer trips just by myself in the car, listening to the radio or an audiobook. I also love to drive in silence, fully taking in my ever-changing surroundings as I make my way to my destination.

How cute!

By Marie Craig

     When my two sons were toddlers, I kept a spiral notebook in the living room within reach so that I could write down funny things they said and did.  I used the first half of the notebook for one son, and the second half for his brother.  I’m not sure why I was inspired to do this, but I am so glad I did.  As I read through these episodes many years later, I don’t remember most of them.  Later, I typed them on my typewriter, and then even later, I digitized them.  If you have young children or grandchildren, I strongly recommend you doing this.  Write down even the challenging things — a child sitting in the middle of five pounds of flour or the baby chewing on the cat’s tail.

     We lived in Tallahassee, Florida, when they were young.  The younger one fell out of the glass bottom boat in beautiful, clear water that was the home to huge alligators.  Luckily, my husband was a strong swimmer who jumped in quickly and treaded water with our son until the new boat driver could figure out how to get stopped.

     At this time, my mother lived in Western North Carolina.  We drove up there for Christmas, and the first night, it started snowing.  She turned on the porch light, held my son up, and he said, “Bugs! Bugs!”

     Back then, tattoos were not very common.  We saw a man with tattooed arms shopping in the grocery store.  My son looked him in the eyes and said, “Bad! Bad!”

     He asked me once: “Does God have a ruler?”  I answered that I didn’t think so.  “So how did he get my legs the same length?”

     While his dad was “watching him”, he ate half of a pie in the refrigerator.  When we took my mother to the airport and watched her plane take off, he asked, “Come apart?”  That was a little upsetting until I realized that he had watched space rockets take off and intentionally separate.

     “Where’s the fire go when it burns out?”  My husband’s voice from the kitchen, “Get the knitting needles out of the Jello.”  Only parents would say such a ridiculous sentence.

     When he tore my sponge into tiny pieces, his reason was, “So I could count them.”

      “When will it be yesterday?”  “Why don’t you glue it back and then it’ll be as brand as new?”

     Our other son had an imaginary raccoon in the back yard that he named Jingle.  He also had unique ways of saying things. “Help me turn a somersault all by myself.”  “I dreamed something last night, and I’m not going to show you what it is.”  “Can you get over where the whole wide world wasn’t?”

     I treasure these wild things my sons said and did.  They would be totally forgotten if I hadn’t put them in a journal.