The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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By Marie Craig

I’ve always loved to look at the clouds and watch how quickly they change.  There are so many art forms and imaginary creatures in the sky that it never gets old.  Beach clouds look totally different from mountain clouds.  Seasonal clouds vary, also.  But now I’m sitting on my front porch on a fairly hot day.  There’s a slight breeze that has been vibrating the trees all afternoon.  It’s cooler here than in the house, and much more interesting.  I guess everybody doesn’t share that vision.  I talked to a woman who worked in a little country store near us on the mountain years ago and mentioned the pretty sky.  She said she never looked up because she was afraid of what she might see.  What a shame.

The shower just began, and it’s already cooler.  The little birds are heading for a thick tree.  The earth has such a wonderful aroma when the rain first begins.  It’s afternoon, so I need to stand with my back to the sun and look east if I think there might be a rainbow.  There’s not one yet; I guess we need more sun shining into that area.  But the sky is wonderful anyway.  It looks like a first grader was using gray, white, and dark finger paint to create these changeable puff balls, streaks, and plateaus in the sky.

Rain some more! I want to hear the tree frogs sing of getting a free shower at the end of the day.  Everything seems still and indecisive about whether that brief shower is enough for today.   Now, it’s coming down harder.  Sitting on the porch is better than dashing from car to appointment in the wet.

The correct amount of rain is very welcome to people and their gardens.  There’s a wonderful old song, “The Day that the Rains Came Down.”  McKinley Morganfield wrote the song, and Jane Morgan made it popular in 1958.  It has such meaningful words as “Mother Earth smiled again,” “Mountain streams swelled with pride,” and “Gone the dust from the valley.”  I encourage you to find it on YouTube or similar music platform and savor the words.  It’s a love song, of course, but the descriptions are nostalgic and conducive to enjoyment of nature.

I hope you have a chance this summer to sit on your porch and watch a welcome rain.

When I was a little girl I memorized a poem about clouds that I used to recite and harass my sons with.

      “If I had a spoon as tall as the sky,

      “I’d dish out the clouds that go slip sliding by.

      “I’d take them right in and give them to Cook,

     “To see if they taste as good as they look.”

Memorial Day Weekend 2024

By Gaye Hoots

Our family remembers our military members and honors them starting with the first Hoots, Jacob Huth, who changed his name to Hoots. He settled in Yadkin County and served in the Revolutionary War and received a generous land grant for his service. Five of my uncles served in WW11, only four of them returned. Everette Fulk, a glider pilot, died the day after D-Day, and I was born the following year on his birthday. One of his nephews is named for him, and my sister’s grandson is also.

My brother served in Vietnam, and my grandson Vann just completed Naval EOD training. His wife Laura is in the Air Force and just completed a master’s degree. They were able to come to Advance to see his mom, Kendra, and all attended church on Sunday.

I drove to Advance to see them and attend church with them and other family. I stopped on my way into town and visited with Tiffany and baby Mia in the NICU at Baptist Hospital. Our baby is gaining weight and staying awake longer. She follows you with her eyes but is unable to move due to a condition called Titinopathy, which is the absence of the largest muscle protein. Tiffany is staying with her as she has required blood transfusions and is on a ventilator.

Jon relieves Tiffany for short periods to attend Jaden’s senior activities when he is not working. There is no way of knowing if Mia’s condition will change so Tiffany has had to make some heartbreaking decisions. She has rehomed the two pit bulls they have had for ten years. A man who lives close by took them and has time to devote to them. Tiffany and Jaden said goodbye to them yesterday, and the dogs jumped in the car and left with the new owner. He is open to having Tiffany visit with them, and the dogs seemed to like and trust him.

I got time with all my immediate family this weekend except Cassidy, who lives in Wilmington. Now that Faye and Phil are gone, I am much more aware of the importance of taking every opportunity to spend with them. The time with Vann and Laura is rare due to them being in the military.

On my way to Advance I stopped at our local Bojangles and the cashier, a young pretty girl, gave me a flattering compliment which made my country ham and tomato biscuit taste even better. I ate at the Bojangles in Ramseur on the way home and had the same experience there. I am wondering if they have started to include this as part of their training. If so, it is working. I plan to ask Larry Vogler if the cashier at Bojangles in Advance compliments him, as he is a regular customer.

I was not in town long enough to visit or to eat lunch with friends but will be back in July and hope to see everyone then. Two close friends are having surgery, and Baby Mia and Tiffany will be in NICU for an unknown time. I am asking for prayers for them for the best possible outcome.

Great Love Lives Everywhere

By Julie Terry Cartner

“Consider soulmates

To also

Be in the form

Of friends and animals,

The wind, the tides,

The plants,

Pieces of art,

And the moon.

Great love

Lives everywhere.”

– Victoria Erickson

To this I would add: all aspects of nature, the beautiful landscapes of life.  Each of us could and should add our own thoughts to this quote. Too often, we are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life and don’t allow ourselves to stop and drink in the beauty of this glorious creation, our world. But we should. Our souls cry out for beauty, for moments of respite, times when our only objective is to absorb the magnificence of creation.

Every spring when flowers start blooming, and the first hints of green edge their way up through the stems, buds, and leaves of shrubs and trees, I stand awed in the presence of the promise of renewal, of new life.

Thunderstorms crashing against the sky, the brilliant blaze of lightning piercing through clouds as black as night enthrall me, the booming thunder, the pounding rain, the swirling wind assaulting my senses and yet filling me with a sense of power unfathomable. And then, as promised, when the sun peers through the clouds, even as the rain still falls, the arching promise of the rainbow swoops across the sky, and I am humbled.

When I come home from anywhere, whether I’ve been gone five minutes, five hours, or five days, our dog, Lucy, greets me as if I were a conquering hero or a long-lost love. Her whines, her barks, her tail wags clearly depict her joy at my return. Such unconditional love must be, and is, rewarded with pats and hugs, belly rubs and kind words.

A rafter of turkeys, a herd of deer, a warren of rabbits, and flocks of birds often visit our property. As I sit here on my computer, I look out the window and see a myriad of colors: the flashing red of male cardinals and the more muted hue of the females, the streaks of blue and orange as bluebirds hunt for food and guard their nests. Even this early, goldfinches flitter by. Later, when the sunflowers seed, they’ll camp out, feasting on their favorite cuisine. House finches, cowbirds, wrens, doves, blackbirds, sparrows: they all add their splashes of color as they swoop and whirl across the variant greens of the landscape.

At night, here in the country, we are blessed with twinkling stars forming patterns and constellations across the sky. Here I can walk down the driveway lit only by the gentle beams of the moon, as I listen to the calls of the owls, the gossip of tree frogs, and the skittering sounds of night’s animals seeking their sustenance.

On vacation, I succumb to the lure of the water, the sounds of waves gurgling through the stones on the shore, the cries of the seagulls, the majesty of swans, and the soaring of cormorants and loons as the search for their next meals. I marvel as the sun sinks down below the horizon in a crescendo of fiery lights.

Other times I go to the mountains and marvel at the landforms, the force that it took to create such majestic peaks, the brilliance of waterfalls cascading down those peaks, and the smoky clouds that create the dream-like quality of the Great Smoky Mountains.

And then there are the people, the family and friends that make life complete: my husband and our children, my sister and relatives, friends that have been part of my life forever, or friends that are just in the budding stages. And then there are the random encounters, the young father at the grocery store who needed advice, the person in line in front of me that said exactly what I was thinking, the homeless man playing a flute, the friend I made while playing pickleball, and the lady beside me in the choir.

If you consider that all of these play a part in who you are, if you believe they all enrich your life, and therefore your soul, then are they not, in fact, your soulmates? Great love does live everywhere, indeed.