The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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Animal Crackers

By Gaye Hoots

A neighbor told a story of her teenage son and a friend finding a hunting dog stranded in the part of a sunken boat in a nearby creek. The dog had stayed with the boat instead of swimming out and needed care. The boys rescued the dog and took him to a vet, which cost her son $300 as he had ringworm and other health issues. The other boy removed the dog’s collar and called the phone number on the collar, leaving a voicemail that they had rescued his dog.

The owner called back with the message that taking his dog was against the law, and he was having an inspector investigate. The boys left another message that they were caring for the dog for the owner to pick up.

An investigator contacted the boys and set up individual interviews. One boy admitted he removed the collar to call the owner’s number. He was fined $300 for removing the collar. There is an NC law against removing an electronic collar. The neighbor’s son was stuck with the vet bill, but the inspector reviewed it and told him he would now investigate the owner and check his other dogs, as he could be fined if he was not providing proper care for his dogs.

Sadly, the boys tried to do a good deed and found it did not go unpunished.

Several years ago, a friend had a bat get into her house. She could not flush it out a window and called animal control. The animal control officer removed the bat and asked for proof that her animals were up to date with their shots. Her cat was a few weeks behind resulting in a fine and a trip to the vet for a shot.

She told the technician that the cat would bite anyone other than her and told him not to touch the cat without gloves. The tech responded by touching the cat, who immediately bit him. The vet demanded that she pay for rabies testing, and shots if necessary, and wanted her to euthanize her cat. They had the cat’s chart labeled not to be touched without gloves, and she refused to have her cat put to death.

Another friend had a Dalmatian she kept in a sturdy pen in her yard and kept on a leash when she walked him. A neighbor let his small dog go into her yard without a leash. The Dalmatian jerked the dog under the edge of his pen and roughed him up before the owner rescued it. She was threatened with a lawsuit, but as they were trespassing, it was dropped.

Another friend was walking her dog on a leash on the condo property when another dog charged at it and snapped. Her dog barked and rushed toward the dog, and then the attacking dog’s owner left with her two dogs, neither on a leash. She reported the incident to animal control and was furious when he investigated and told her she and her dogs were trespassing.

Everyone Has a Story

By Julie Terry Cartner

Visits to the retirement home were a staple in Jaiden’s life, and usually she enjoyed them.. Her group would dance for the dual pleasure of performing and bringing happiness to others. But this week, Jaiden’s heart was just not engaged. Pressures, disappointments, and worries had encroached on her joy, but for the sake of the residents, Jaiden put her feelings aside and introduced her group.

Then Jaiden noticed the woman. She was sitting on the far right, and when “Christmas in Killarney” crooned through the speakers, her entire demeanor changed. The woman had seemed disinterested, but when the Irish ballad began, she sat straighter, leaning forward even. Seconds later she was clapping her hands, and then she started softly singing the words… “It’s nice, you know, to kiss your beau, while cuddling under the mistletoe…”

Tears trickled down the woman’s cheeks, even as she smiled and tapped her feet. Watching avidly, Jaiden regretted that this was the only Irish song in the program. She needn’t have worried.

At the end of the program, Jaiden went to the woman. “I want you to know,” she said, “how much I enjoyed watching you. It makes such a difference when people engage in our performance.”

“No, thank you,” the woman replied in a soft, lilting voice, a hint of Irish in her speech. “I almost didn’t come, but I’m so glad I did.”

“I noticed you really perked up for ‘Christmas in Killarney,’ and I just know you have a story to share. Will you tell me?” Jaiden asked.

With a smile, the woman replied. “My name is Mary, and I was born in Ireland. My parents had a small farm, but life was a constant struggle. Food. Heat. Provisions. After a poor fall harvest, with the help of our own Father James, they decided to send me to America.

“Of course, I agreed,” Mary continued, “I was fifteen and foolish, full of myself and ready to take on the world. Father James and a network of priests helped many young women. Thanks to them, I had a safe passage, a room at a boarding house, a job, and the chance to take secretarial classes. We girls at the boarding home became friends and looked out for each other.” Mary sighed. “Such friends! We thought we’d always be together, but one by one, we married.”

Fascinated by Mary’s story, I asked, “Who did you marry and how did you meet him?”

With a smile, Mary answered. “My Michael, he swept me off my feet. He came to America from Ireland a few years before I did and had a good job. We met at church. They’d have dances for us there, to give us a chance to meet others in a safe place. One night I was heading to my chair after dancing a jig, and Michal…” here she gave a gentle laugh … “Michael, he didn’t even give me a choice. He walked right up to me, grabbed my hand, and put his other hand on my waist, and twirled me right back out on the floor.”

She giggled then. “He didn’t ask, and later, when I asked why, he said, ‘I didn’t want to give you a chance to say no.’ Like I would have! Dark, wavy hair, eyes as green as Ireland’s fields, and a smile – oh, such a smile. He was kind and could always make me laugh.” Mary wiped a tear. We married the next year. We had a good life, raised four children, and remembered our home country through each other’s eyes. Then, last year, I lost my Michael, and now I’m here. So,” she said, looking into my eyes, “I have my memories, and I have people like you who come with your gifts of time and talent. Thank you.”

Sharing her tears with Mary, Jaiden replied, “No. Mary, thank you. I came here today with the wrong attitude. My mind was filled with worries. Then I saw you. I saw your reaction to ‘Christmas in Killarney,’ and then your conscious decision to enjoy our show. So, I made the choice to dance with my heart. Then hearing your story…it is you who have given me a gift. Thank you, Mary.”

“How grand it feels, to click your heels, and join in the fun of the jigs and reels…”

January 2, 1924

By Marie Craig

     One hundred years ago: what was it like back then?  About the only way to know is to read the old newspapers from that time period.  On the Davie County Public Library Website, History Room, you can read all these old papers and learn about past times.

     In 1924, there were two papers in Mocksville, The Davie Record for Republicans, and The Mocksville Enterprise for Democrats.  As I study both newspapers, I find all sorts of interesting items and ads from 1924.

     The Davie Record for the first Thursday in 1924 featured a front-page article about a man winning a contest by eating 53 hot dogs.  Page two was the masthead with C. Frank Stroud, Editor, and the subscription rate of $1.00 for a year.

     “The year 1924 is with us.  This is a presidential election year and politics will be warm until after the November election.”

     This was during Prohibition.  “Prohibition prohibits to a great extent but some folks cannot celebrate the birth of Christ without getting drunk.  We are the most civilized, uncivilized people on the face of the earth.” This is a quote from page 2.

     Here’s an ad for a New Ford Touring Car for $295 at Sanford Motor Co.  “This car can be obtained through the Ford Weekly Purchase Plan.”

     Page three of national news has familiar words.  “U.S. Will Furnish Arms for Mexico which may amount to $750,000.”  In Paris, a dirigible Dixmude was lost with 47 crew members.

     Page four had an ad for Mexican Mustang Liniment: “the best emergency remedy for man and beast.”  Also on this page is Chapter VIII of the continuing story “The Branding Iron.”

     On page five, there are many ads, including one for Lydia E. Pinkham’s Compound for women’s “personal problems.”  I’ve heard that men learned that the liquid form included alcohol, so they ordered it during Prohibition.

     The eight pages of this paper contain many more noteworthy articles and advertisements co-mingled.  Vicks Vaporub, evidently, has been around forever.

     In studying The Mocksville Enterprise (eight pages also) to see the differences, I found the January 3, 1924 edition to have more local news on page 1.

     Rev. S.W. Hall retired from Eaton’s Baptist Church the Sunday before, and his sermon covered much of page one and page eight.

     Both papers covered comings and goings of Davie residents.  “Mr. John Foster is right sick, sorry to note.”

     A.C. Huneycutt was publisher of this paper, which was also $1.00 subscription per year.  The categories of gossip columns featured some locations not mentioned currently.  Sections were Point News, Stroud School House, and Woodleaf.

     Both papers listed the death of John Tutterow from the Center community.  He had been a Confederate Soldier.  Our first 2024 paper will also include the death of a Tutterow from Center, Nancy, 99.  Our sympathy to the family.

     Bus schedules show that riding a Hudson or Studebaker vehicle from Mocksville to Winston-Salem, 3 choices of times, cost: $1.25.  A passenger train schedule was also included in the paper.

     There were three cafes, three dentists, three doctors, and a sheriff’s ad for a schedule of collecting back taxes for the county.  If you want to search the past, I encourage you to study these old newspapers.