The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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Remembering Mocksville

By Larry Smith

A walk in past time … down North Main Street … to the site of the old Mocksville High and middle school … remembering a mailbox on the corner and a trip to the principal’s office … past the gym that I played many a basketball game … then by the street to Rich Park … remembering summers spend … playing baseball and weekly trips to Lake Hide-a-way … the first three seasons of my Rebel football were played at Rich Park … then back to town on North Main … by the site where my grandfathers Esso station was located … I can see him sitting there on the 55 gal drum watching as the cars were filled with 19.9 cents per gallon gas … the oil was checked … the air in tires checked and front window washed … the Cokes were 5 cents … then continued down the street to where the 5&10 cent store was located … boy could you get a lot for a quarter … then past Angell’s and the big yellow building … the phone office was upstairs and the operators would place your calls … remember seeing the ladies hard at work … then by the corner where the music store is now located … Dr. Harding’s Clinic was located here … important … for it was here that I was born in 1943 … guess that has to be special at least to me … continued my walk and past the old B.C. Moore’s Store (original Heffner’s Grocery) … worked there in high school … so many memories … then by the beautiful Davie County Court House … front corner office was the Register of Deeds office … my father’s office for 32 years … down by the old library read every book on early explorers they had … then across the street and by Dr. Long, the doctor and Dr. Long the dentist … remember the long hall to the dentist office with fear in my mind … by the two paper offices … The Enterprise and The Record … the Bank of Davie on the corner … the ten pin bowling alley and the old Post Office … crossing the street to C.C. Sanford’s Department Store … Wilkens Drug … Leslie and Christine Daniel’s store … Barber shop where I got my first hair cut … .Bryan Sells furniture store … other shops to Hall’s Drug( the best pimento cheese sandwiches ever) … the Princess Theater … 25 cents for a Saturday double feature … then Mrs. Murphy’s 5&10 … it was a nice walk this morning … one that we all need to take sometime … helps when we become too busy with todays problems … to just take a few minutes to see where we came from … today I felt like that young lad that followed that path so many times as a youth … I think I might just have to do that again …

Watermelons & Wildflowers

By Melinda Phillips

I made a promise to myself that I’d learn to drive the tractor my father left me. A few lessons were learned along the way which I would like to share. What are you cultivating or growing in your garden?  What are you weeding out?

During a continuing education class, our prompt was:  “In the spirit of Springtime, what are you planting or cultivating, and what are you weeding out?”  I couldn’t help but chuckle, as I have recently honored my promise to learn to drive the tractor my dad left me and plant some sort of garden. After a stressful week, I spent two entire days learning to plow a field, cultivate and disc it, and finally plant some seeds. My husband taught me how to operate the tractor. I figured out quickly that Birkenstocks are not the proper footwear when attempting to drive a tractor!  Note to self (NTS) – Get better tractor-driving footwear!

I also learned that Ford makes tractors for exceptionally strong people. I literally had to stand up to leverage the brake with enough force to stop the tractor. Also, the next day, the muscles in my legs were so sore, I struggled to walk. My husband went off to work that Saturday; I decided to go it alone. Later,  my Aunt Ellen and Uncle Carl drove over. They didn’t say it, but I imagine the sound of the tractor and the fact I didn’t ask them for help set off a few alarm bells. They had offered to help, but I didn’t want to bother them.

Carl had a good laugh at the circles in the field. Little did I know that is not the way you plow a field. Instead, I should have been plowing in rows, ensuring the back right tire was in the furrow from the last row I had made. Good news, after proper instruction, half the garden looked pretty good. NTS – Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when you are new at something, to avoid having to go back and do it right later.

Ellen was explaining what she knew about growing watermelons. Contrary to my husband’s notion:  “Hey, I’ve grown watermelons just by spitting seeds into a field;” it’s a little trickier than that!  After a lesson in hills versus rows and leaving room for the vines to roam, Ellen told me I might want to put some newspaper down over the areas I had planted. Why would I need newspapers on top of my garden? She explained that the hardest part of growing watermelons is keeping the weeds out. Newspaper would serve to keep some weeds down, but also keep the moisture in the ground.

Back to the question at the beginning, I realized that rather than weeding out, I am working on avoiding the need to weed. Our personal and professional growth, like the watermelon, is complex.  We need room to roam and we need to avoid the weeds. Focus on being proactive so the weeds of doubt, negativity, or lack of balance will  not invade the garden.  It took only one weekend in the garden, spending time outdoors doing something different, to refresh me.  I welcomed Monday morning with a positive attitude, ready to roll.  NTS – Time outdoors does a body good!

I decided to plant wildflowers next to my watermelons.  Turns out, wildflowers make great pollinators and are excellent field companions for watermelons.  Let me be completely honest, I’m busy; I pictured planting wildflowers as the easiest crop. I envisioned myself tossing seeds into the wind. Once I received enough seed to plant half an acre, I quickly realized a seed-spreader was needed. My Apple watch clocked many steps that day; I collapsed onto the couch from exhaustion.  NTS – Nothing is ever as easy as it seems!

The wildflowers are a metaphor for what I am personally “planting.” I take pride in being a futurist; I’m someone who is often able to see in my mind’s eye the way things will (or should) unfold. My personal growth has come from the unknown.  I’m avoiding weeds of self-doubt; planting a note to self – sometimes it’s important to just take things one day at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed, especially when you cannot predict how something will turn out.

Wonderful thing about wildflowers – hearty yet unpredictable, they will surprise and delight.  With a little luck and enough rain, the Phillips family will get to enjoy beautiful wildflowers and juicy sweet watermelons later this year.     

What will you be planting, cultivating or weeding?

John Gobbel

By Linda H. Barnette

Once in a great while when you are working on family history you discover a file, handwritten and probably long forgotten. This happened to me one day a few years ago in the Genealogy Room at the Davidson County Public Library in Lexington. This treasure is a handwritten history of the Gobbel family through many years in Davidson County, written by Ida Snyder Finch, whose grandmother was in that family.  I made a copy and read through it and put it aside until I started working on my series about Revolutionary War soldiers. I got it out recently and realized what a huge piece of history she had covered in those 15 pages written in 1949.

Today we rely heavily on digital records that we often skip over handwritten material because it takes so much longer to go through. In any case, I discovered a couple of connections to my dad’s family through the Gobbel family. The first John’s son, John Nicholas, married Elizabeth Ratz, and through several generations of women in the tree came my relationship with John Gobbel. He was my 5th great-grandfather and served in the Revolutionary War.

From Ancestry I gathered some copies of documents that prove his service. So it is with great pride that I learned of him. There is no grave marker for him, but Mrs. Finch said he was buried with other family members in the Gobbel Family graveyard on the old family farm not far from Sandy Creek where my people rest.