The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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The Big Brother

By Julie Terry Cartner

He sits there watching silently. His brother, his baby brother, is having another meltdown. In McDonalds. In public. Again. Just when they were finishing their meal, and Playland was just two or three bites away, his brother lost it.

He remembered when Mom and Dad had told them they were having another baby. “You’re going to be a big brother,” they’d said excitedly. “Just think, you’ll have a live-in playmate.” Then they added, “You’ll be the big brother, so you’ll have to look out for your baby brother and take care of him, okay?” He’d nodded excitedly. He’d wanted a little brother for what seemed like forever, and now he’d have one. He’d be such a big brother – a friend, a helper, a protector. He couldn’t wait.

And when Sean had been born, he’d held his tiny brother and promised him. “I’ll always look out for you little brother, and when you get older, we’ll be a team. Just you and me.” He’d pinkie sworn and everything, even though it had been challenging to get his baby brother to lock pinkies.

As Sean grew, he’d acted funny sometimes, and, as his parents got more concerned, he’d heard words like Asperger’s Syndrome, and behavior issues, and anger management. He didn’t understand exactly, but he knew whatever was going on, it made his parents sad, and Sean angry. As for him, he was just lonely and confused. He understood, of course he did, after all, he was the big brother, but sometimes he felt as if he were invisible. Sean needed so much.

And here it was about to happen again. No, Sean, no. Please no, he thought. Just finish your meal, then we can play. We can crawl through the tunnels. We can jump in the balls. We can slide down that glorious curving slide. We can laugh and chase each other and join those other kids. Just eat your last nugget. Please! But even as he thought the words, he knew it was no use. Glancing at his brother, he knew. There’d be no play today. First the quivering lip. Sean didn’t want to finish his meal; he wanted to go play. Then the tears, angry tears. Sean wanted what he wanted, when he wanted it. He didn’t understand words like Wait. Patience. In a minute. After you finish… He only heard No.

No, Sean, no. Please no. Don’t throw your…. Too late. Sean’s drink bounced off Dad’s chest, hitting the table and splashing all over the three of them. And now Sean was screaming, crying, striking out.

His cheeks flushed with embarrassment when he saw the eyes on his family, when he saw the judgement in the faces of those who didn’t understand. The pink in his cheeks flamed. How many times had he seen the condemnation and heard the questions, “What’s wrong with him? Why does he act like that?” and the most unfair, “Where’s his mother?”

Mom, Sean’s daily caregiver, was home taking a much-needed break from the intensity of life with Sean. Dad, though exhausted from his long workweek, knew Mom needed some alone time, just time to relax, something she dare not do when Sean was in the house. And he, the big brother…Well, he didn’t really matter. Sean needed them more.

He risked a glance at Dad, and wished he hadn’t. Sadness poured from his face like the drink that dripped off his chin.  Discouragement emanated from him in waves, even as he gathered Sean into his arms, tucking his flailing limbs between them, protecting them both. Defeat drooped his shoulders as he glanced at the table, now wet and sticky.

Without a word, he mopped up the soda and cleaned up the trash. He watched as Dad cradled a now sobbing Sean and headed for the exit. Dad knew he’d follow, and he did. He certainly didn’t want to make life any harder for his parents. He’d continue to do his best to be the perfect son. As always, he’d be the shadow in the room, drawing no attention to himself. Silently, he slipped into the car and buckled his seat belt.

Our Military History

By Gaye Hoots

Our first ancestor to settle in America was A Huth from Germany. Somebody changed the spelling of our last name to Hoots, and he settled in Yadkin County where he was given a land grant of several hundred acres for his service in the Revolutionary War.

The Hoots family and my mother’s family, Fulk, originally Volck, and from, Germany have a long list of family serving in our military. I had five uncles who served in WW11; one who was a glider pilot died the day after D-Day.

My brother was the only one in my generation to serve, and he survived Vietnam and retired from service. None of my or my siblings’ children served. Currently, my grandson and his wife are in service.

Vann wanted to be a Navy Seal, and after following a rigorous workout routine, was accepted. His color blindness, which he inherited from me, prevented him from becoming a Seal. Two years ago, he was named Sailor of the Quarter and then Sailor of the Year from his base in Colorado. He was recommended for EOD training, which is Explosive Ordinance Disposal and requires two years of rigorous training.

I researched this because my vision of EOD was of Vann hovering over a bomb as the time ticked down on the timer while trying to decide which wire to cut. The information I read was that he is as safe as I am in my car driving. Now, robotics are used to disarm bombs, decreasing the risk.

This has yet to eliminate the risk, and their training consists of underwater and parachuting exercises. Our family prays for his, his wife’s, and our military. His wife was overseas near the present military action but has returned safely and attended his graduation, as did his parents. The EOD training has a rate of more than fifty percent failure to complete, and Vann’s class was eighty-five percent. Only fifteen graduated and only two in his class outranked him.

I know I am bragging, but what are grandmas for? Our family has a deep appreciation of the sacrifices required to protect us. My uncle was killed in WW11, and a nephew was named for him, and I was born on his birthday. Faye’s grandson was also named for him. We remember their sacrifices.

Please keep Vann and his wife and all our military in your prayers. We live in a world where there seems to be more gray than black and white when it comes to knowing right from wrong. I must remind myself not to ask for this or that based on my knowledge and emotions, but to pray Thy will be done and let God handle it.

Davie County Post Offices

By Marie Craig

     On a recent visit to the Martin-Wall History Room at Davie County Public Library, I found many interesting articles in their files about our post offices through the years.  Mr. W. Henry Davis, postmaster at Fork Church, had submitted research to the newspaper in a scroll format in 1952.  He had completed a thorough research project of all the many small post offices.  The articles were then gleaned and included in the newspaper a few at a time.

     The 1930 Census for Fulton shows Henry W. Davis, 49, living alone, owned his home, publisher, owned his shop, financial worth was $100.

     The August 7, 1952, edition of Mocksville Enterprise was the beginning of several articles detailing the various post offices in the Davie area.  Several began when we were still Rowan County.  Here is the introduction: “Davie County Post Offices” by W. Henry Davis: “Probably more than half the people now living in Davie County do not know of the arrangement of our mail service prior to the year 1900.  Before that date every thickly settled section of Davie had a post office.  From about 1900 to 1906 the present Rural Mail Service sprang up after which most of our post offices were discontinued.  During this writer’s tenure of office at Fork, which included two periods of postmasterships, totaling 16 years, I obtained a history of every post office that has enlisted in Davie County.  First, I asked for the story of my own office, Fork, and then I continued to ask for the histories of other offices until I had obtained a history of every one of them.”  [There were six active post offices in Davie County: Mocksville, Cooleemee, Advance, Cana, Farmington, and Fork, when he compiled this information in 1952.]

     While he was still doing research in 1947, Mr. Davis had the Davie Record publish an article stating that he didn’t know where Neta Post Office was.  L.L. Miller wrote a response in the paper later: “Neta was on the road that turned east at that time at the “Big Oak,” at Murchison and Redman line, on to Farmington by way of where B.C. Teague now lives.  Neta was located on the farm now owned by H.H. Hunter.  Mrs. J.H. Young was the postmistress.  It was later moved near Wesley Chapel Church and name changed to Pino.  Mr. Daniel Eaton ran a store there and was postmaster.  When Route 2 was established, Pino was discontinued.”

     Now, 76 years later, that answer is not very handy.  Too bad he didn’t give the latitude/longitude of the location.

     When I searched the Internet for Post Office Davie County, I found that somebody had compiled all this data at this URL, .  This site also has copies of their cancellation postmarks that are interesting.

     Here are the post offices with approximate locations of the lesser-known ones.  Advance, Augusta, Bend (Yadkin Valley area), Bixby, Calahaln, Cana, Clarksville, Cooleemee, Cornatzer, County Line, Dulins, Dutchman, Elbaville, Ephesus, Farmington, Felix (Clarksville), Florence, Fork Church, Fulton, Halls Ferry, Holmans/Holman, Jerusalem, Kappa, Kurfees (between Kappa and Mocksville), Mock’s Old Field (became Mocksville), Nestor (Roberts Store at corner of 601 and Eaton’s Church Road), Neta (near Wyo), Pino, Redland, Selena (renamed Bailey in Center township), Sheffield, Smith Grove, Tennyson (in Jerusalem township), and Wells (at Cooleemee Junction).