The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 1:42 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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Oriental’s Birthday

By Gaye Hoots

This weekend Oriental is celebrating its 125th birthday. The kickoff was talks given by people in their late eighties who grew up here and some who operated businesses in the early years. The bridge at that time was wood and lower than the present bridge. This is where the boys learned to swim, the older boys would help the ones who could not swim when they jumped. The boys did not own swim trunks and were skinny-dipping. No mention was made of girls attempting this.

Originally the area was inhabited by Indians who fished and farmed. Later the king of England gave land grants to some families, and some of our inhabitants traced their roots back to these. The early businesses were stores; like Advance, there were several stores in the small town. Fishing and later shrimping were the livelihood for many. Blackbeard made his home in Bath and was well-known in this area. I live on Treasure Dr. off Teach’s Cove.

The town was originally named Smith’s Creek but was later renamed after a transport steamer called Oriental that ran aground near Bodie Island during the Civil War. In the early 20th century lumber and farming were the predominant industries. Train service was discontinued in the 1950s and the sawmills closed in the 1960s. Fishing continues to be a large part of the economy and tourism is also. Oriental is the sailboat capital of NC and while the population is under 1000 there are between 2000 and 3000 sailboats here.

One of the speakers yesterday spoke of his family running a grocery store and offering credit during the Depression which caused them to have to close the store when the creditors could not pay. The families survived by farming and fishing.

There is a lady who was at the gathering named Faye Bond who celebrated her 100th birthday this year. She is known for her watermelon parties which she hosts annually and her participation in Senior Games. She was in costume and while I sat on my couch she was out dancing in the rain at the festival. She is pictured on my Facebook page with pictures of the parade which they held in the rain. She is one of my heroes.

There was a play scheduled for the local theatre which was cancelled due to a COVID outbreak among the actors. It will be rescheduled later. The attendees for the event I went to were mostly older than me and still celebrating life with each other.

A Trip to Lexington

By Marie Craig

BACKGROUND:  In 2017, I wrote a book about a fictitious Mocksville girl, Mary Ellen, twelve years old, who read the local newspapers in 1924.  I found interesting articles she would have found, and then I wrote her entries in her diary about those events.  On page 15 of the book, I wrote about her trip to Lexington to hear the John Philip Sousa band in concert.  The advertisement about this amazing musical treat was in the Davie Record on 27 February 1924 announcing this concert date of Monday, 3 March 1924 at 2 pm at the Lexington Theatre.  It said, “The world’s most popular musical organization.”

PAGE 15 OF HER FICTITIOUS DIARY: I read the Davie Record before I went to school on February 27 after my dad got through with it.  There was a big advertisement for a band concert in Lexington next Monday!  I had heard of John Philip Sousa because of my teacher at school.  She really likes all kinds of music.  I took this page to show my teacher, and she was so excited.  I told her that I would really like to attend that concert.  She told me that she would also.  Luckily the ice has melted so that he can come!  It’s been a cold winter with lots of snow and ice.

I had no idea that somebody that special would ever come to this area.  I showed this advertisement to my parents, and of course they said that there was no way I could go.

I was so interested in this article that my teacher asked me to research him and his career in our encyclopedias in the school library.  This is what I learned:

Report about John Philip Sousa, by Mary Ellen

He is almost 70 years old…

1854: Born Washington, DC, Nov. 6. John Philip was 3rd of 10 children of John Antonio Sousa (born in Spain of Portuguese parents) and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus (born in Bavaria). John Philip’s father, Antonio, played trombone in the U.S. Marine band.  Mr. Sousa  grew up around military band music.

1860: Began musical study around age six, studying voice, violin, piano, flute, cornet, baritone, trombone and alto horn.

1867: His father enlisted him in the Marines at age 13 as an apprentice after he attempted to run away to join a circus band.

1872: Published first composition, “Moonlight on the Potomac Waltzes.”

1875: Discharged from Marines. Began performing (on violin), touring and eventually conducting theater orchestras. Conducted Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore on Broadway.

     I wrote my report, based on these notes, and gave it to my teacher that day.  She told me that she was going to show it to the principal that afternoon.  When I arrived at school on Monday, I was surprised to learn that she had made plans for two other students and me to go with her to attend the concert!  She had talked to my parents the night before, and they had agreed.

     Right after early lunch, the substitute teacher came, and we four left in her car to go to Lexington.  We were all so excited to go to the Lexington Theatre!

     We found a parking place on the street and were soon inside with hundreds of other music lovers.

     I enjoyed all the songs they played.  My favorite was when Miss Nora Fauchald sang “Dixie.”  My dad sings that a lot, and I’ve learned all the words from hearing him.  But I loved hearing the band play the marches and happy music.  It was a great experience for me, and I want to always remember how kind it was of my parents to approve this and my teacher to take us over there.  I think she enjoyed getting away from the classroom for an afternoon.  There were lots of people there with fancy clothes and big expensive cars.  I guess that’s their favorite kind of music.  I won’t ever forget this special day!

Dog Whisperer, an Irish Legend

By Julie Terry Cartner

“What is it, *cara?” Maewyn asked sleepily as he stroked the dense fur of his favorite sheepdog. The last he’d known before falling into an exhausted sleep, the dog had been stretched out beside him, sharing body heat on the damp, chilly, Irish night. Now the canine appeared to be standing before him, and yet not. Confusion fogged Maewyn’s sleep-tangled thoughts. Was the sheepdog sleeping beside him or the figure appearing before him? Was he a dog, or was he an angel?

In those fleeting minutes between sleep and waking, the young man thought back over the past six years. Captured from his native homeland at the age of sixteen, he’d been enslaved by Chieftain Milchu and forced to take care of his sheep and pigs. Overall, maybe it hadn’t been a terrible life for an animal lover, but he still longed for his freedom. He’d miss his canine companions, but being bound by slavery was not anyone’s dream.

“I know I’m exhausted, my friend, but what is going on?” Maewyn asked. “What am I seeing?” Because, before his eyes was an angel, and yet somehow, he knew it was also his beloved dog.

In the way of dreams and Holy visitations, Maewyn realized he just needed to listen, and so he did. The sheepdog, as an angel, informed the slave boy of a ship docked on the coast which would be his means to escape. Grasping the urgency of the opportunity, Maewyn immediately set out. The journey was not easy. Two hundred miles across the moors and wilderness of Ireland was not to be treated lightly, but Maewyn prevailed.

Finally reaching the coast, he found the ship to which his vision had directed him. Having no idea what to expect, he was thrilled to learn the ship was filled with Irish Wolfhounds and other large dogs.

Quickly, however, his joy turned to frustration when he was denied passage, and yet, his night’s visitation propelled him forward. Even as Maewyn pondered his path, the dogs on the ship began barking, growling, and fighting. Howls filled the air. Sailors tried to settle the dogs to no avail, that is, until, with the sailors distracted, Maewyn entered the ship. Upon scenting him and hearing his voice, the dogs became calm. Seeing Maewyn’s impact on the dogs, the sailors changed their minds and allowed him to exchange care of the dogs for passage on the ship.

Deeply impacted by the dream that had changed the course of his life, when they reached land, Maewyn joined a monastery in Tours, France. He converted to Christianity and was renamed Patricius. Later the Pope sent him back to Ireland to teach and share his faith with the Gaelic people. Despite his first experience in Ireland, Patrick felt called to return to the Gaelic people, so he did as he was directed and returned to the country where he had once been a slave.

As he walked back onto Irish soil Patrick met a pagan prince hunting with his wolfhound, Lauth. The prince ordered Lauth to attack, but instead, the dog bowed and licked his hand, thus foreshadowing the course of Patrick’s life in ministering to, and being loved by, the people of Ireland.

Irish legend says that as a thank you to all dogs, Patrick allowed the Irish hero, Ossain, to take his pack of dogs to heaven with him.

In true Irish fashion, I have taken the few facts derived from the article below and embellished them into a story. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

*Gaelic for friend

Saint Patrick was born in 387AD in either Scotland or Wales as Maewyn Succat.

Burns, Patrick and Melissa Jo Peltier. “St. Patrick was a Dog Whisperer Too.” Dog Whisperer HQ. 2004-2024.