The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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Tradition Continued

By  E. Bishop

After the welcomed Saturday night rain, the morning worship service on Sunday, July 30 at the Cherry Hill Homecoming was pleasantly refreshing considering it has been one of the hottest summers in recorded history. Of course, the windows in this beautiful old church, built in 1874, were raised, ceiling fans whirled and handheld fans were given out just in case.

This was the 149th year of celebration for this little country church located in southern Davie County.  For this once a year gathering, the Rev. Larry Summey (former pastor of Franklin Presbyterian Church) brought the message from  Colossians 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spirituals with gratitude to God.”  The Rev. Summey concluded with trust and obey; do not give up.

Sitting in a back pew, I had a unique vantage point where one of those raised windows was neatly framing a headstone in the nearby cemetery as the opening hymn “Old Rugged Cross” was being sung, sending chills down my spine.  Then, the children came to the front where Anita Miller gave them a small cross and wood carved tree emblem with a lesson about the importance of the Christian faith and to remember their Christian ancestors that came before them.

Descendants of Matheas Miller (25 Sept. 1807 – 1 Sept. 1891) who gave the land for this church were in attendance as well as many others.  When asked why do they come to this yearly event, Mike and Ann Spry explain that it has always been a tradition for their family and they enjoy the fellowship it provides.

My sister, Mary, her granddaughter Amber and beautiful 8 month old great-granddaughter Maryjane also attended.  Mary and I grew up nearby and  as children, some of us helped to clean up the grave yard and church grounds every year before the  homecoming Sunday.  Our family always looked forward to attending and being able to enjoy the fellowship and abundance of food for the day.   Admittedly, I don’t know many of the people who come to this reunion now, but I feel like we are all family joined together somehow, that we all enjoyed the sermon, the great a cappella rendition of “How Great Thou Art” by soloist Amy Miller and the bountiful spread of food under the arbor. As Amber stated, she had never seen so much food prepared by so few women.

The tradition will continue next year for the 150th celebration and, as always, will be on the last Sunday in July.  The doors have usually opened only once a year since the early part of the 20th century.  But, this year there will be a gathering in September for an ice cream social and the first Sunday in December for a Christmas program.  Hope you will attend.

The Little Black Book, Part II

By Linda H. Barnette

When I was a child, I did not realize just how much her history meant to my Grandmother Smith. However, as I got older, she must have sensed an interest in history in me because she talked to me often about her ancestors. She also showed me pictures, deeds, and other things that were important to her.

One of those items was the little black leather class book that contained the lists of members of Center United Methodist Church from its founding to the Civil War period. Her family had been members there as long as the church had existed. Actually, her great-great grandfather Daniel Dwiggins was one of the founders of the church before the Civil War. When I held the book in my hand, I had a sense of its history.  It had been passed down to her from Daniel Dwiggins, Ashley Dwiggins, James Patterson Dwiggins and given to her by her father, WJF Dwiggins.

In any case, she felt strongly that before her death the book should be returned to the place whose its history it contained. She chose Center’s Sesquicentennial(150th) Celebration on Sunday, Oct. 5,1980 when she was in her 90th year.

During the special service that day members of the church presented the history of the beginning and formation of the church. It was a spectacular service, but the most special part to me was the presentation of the little black leather class book to the church by my aunt, Helen Wrenn Smith on behalf of my grandmother, Mrs. W.N. Smith. To her the book was back where it belonged.

To Come Full Circle

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Sometimes I feel as if I’ve come full circle.

This old saying, “to come full circle” is one that some believe originated from Act 5 and Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s work of 1606, known as King Lear. Shakespeare’s character, Edmund, who said, “The wheel is come full circle. I am here,” describing his own malice against the king as having come back to confront him.

While contemplating my own life, I don’t know if coming full circle is a positive thing or not. Are we all going to end up right where we began? It’s a little food for thought, isn’t it?

Webster’s Dictionary defines the phrase “to come full circle” as “a series of developments that lead back to the source, position, or situation.” Another dictionary defines the phrase in this way: “Something is now “exactly” the same as it used to be, although there has been a long period of changes.”

The phrase is an idiom that refers to something ending up in the same place it started out – and while usually referring to a person, it can be a place or thing. As a figure of speech, an idiomatic phrase does not mean what it says. The phrase refers to a circle making a full revolution – the circle begins and ends in the same place. But it can have other meanings relating to our lives, experiences, beliefs, and attitudes.

When I consider my life coming full circle, I don’t like to believe I’ve come all this way in life only to be back where I started. I prefer thinking I’m smarter now as I’ve matured in my thinking and my faith has deepened.  And all that’s true.

In reality, I can’t be right back where I started. On the other hand, if I consider who I was as a child – I feel I’ve come full circle.  Completing that circle has been my basic love of art, writing, and the preference I have for country living – I’m the same girl I used to be. In many ways, I’ve come full circle.

Now in my final phase of life, and as the circle’s drawing to a close, I’d even go so far as to say my basic personality hasn’t changed much either.  I’ve come almost full circle – and despite life’s ups and downs, fundamentally, I’m the same person. Nothing more, nothing less. I’ve concluded that’s a good thing.

Above everything else, I’m still kind. My circle began there and will end there. And that’s a great place to stop.