The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:47 am Monday, July 8, 2024

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More about Mississippi

By Linda H. Barnette

One of the prettiest towns in Mississippi is Natchez – set on high bluff overlooking the river and a prominent city during antebellum days. Named for the Natchez Indians, it supposedly had more millionaires than any other city in the United States before the Civil War. After being owned by the French, British, and Spanish, it became part of the U. S. after the Revolutionary War. Natchez was the center of the slave-trading business, and as such, there are many beautiful plantation home. John and I toured some of the most famous, Melrose and Monmouth.  While they were beautiful and have been preserved as tourist attractions, we thought of the way of life they represented and felt sad.

Natchez was the southernmost end of the old Natchez Trace, a historic forest trail that extends 440 miles from Nashville, Tenn. to Natchez and connects the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi rivers. The path was originally created by animals, Native Americans, traders, and travelers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now the path is commemorated by the Natchez Trace Parkway, We traveled it twice, one coming from Tennessee and the other one coming from Natchez. Along the road there are still traces of the original trails and taverns. There are also several Indian mounds. An interesting fact about the Trace is that Meriwether Lewis, the Lewis of Lewis and Clark, died at a small inn on the Trace in Tennessee in 1809. Although he had several gunshot wounds, it is not known for sure whether he killed himself or was murdered.

One of my favorite places was the home of the writer, William Faulker, in Oxford, Mississippi. The house is built in the Greek Revival style and is situated on property now owned and preserved by Old Miss, the university. Faulkner named it Rowan Oak after the rowan tree of Scotland and the live oaks associated with the Deep South. On the day that we toured the house, we were the only visitors. I was most impressed by his old black typewriter sitting on his desk.


By:  E. Bishop

As the song goes “I was born country, and that’s what I’ll always be.”  I even have a t-shirt that has ‘Country as Cornbread’ written on it!  Someone told me that I might not want to wear that out in public; I now use it as a nightshirt. That really wouldn’t matter though ‘cause y’all gonna know I’m country as soon as I open my mouth.  Let me tell you country is not all bad even though I wanted to get off the farm as fast as I could after high school.

What better way to learn lessons about life and responsibility than to be raised on a farm.  Getting up early after hearing the rooster crowing to go hoe that garden where that Johnsongrass grew like wildfire. Working hard and sweating so much your clothes stuck to you like a glove, pinching worms from the tobacco leaves, gathering eggs, turning the churn to make butter until your little arms felt like they were going to fall off, walking through the cow pasture dodging fresh patties, hearing Mother call the cows home for the evening milking – sooey, sooey, and wondering how they knew it was that time.  It really was a blessing to live a life closer to nature, actually seeing the stars at night, watching toads eat bugs or the fireflies flitting around at dusk.

Today, it seems as though so many small farms are being taken over by housing developments that it makes me wonder where will our food come from. Will our food taste as good as that first ripe tomato eaten right off the vine?  When I saw an ad for the Davidson County Farm Tour recently, the country side of me had to check things out.  There were quite a few farms (large and small) open for tours ranging from flowers, livestock, organic gardening, angora rabbits and goats, etc.  My love of flowers took us to the Blu’s Farm first where they had live music and all  colors of daylilies you could dream up; it was a delight.  Another one we visited had angora rabbits and goats which the family used the fur to weave hats and scarves.  Both of these were fairly small endeavors but very interesting.  Visiting these places made me want to check out our local Davie County farms more.

The Davie County Extension office at 642 Wilkesboro St. in Mocksville was a great place to start with Susan Hawkins, the extension agent for agriculture-horticulture, providing a list of many farms in our area that participate in local farmer’s markets; some having farm stands on their own farm; some may even provide a tour with advance notice.  Additionally, a few provide a venue to help support other local small businesses, creatives and artisans such as the Kennedy Family Farms (Maker’s Market) which will be open to the public again on August 3rd.  Cherry Hill Farms is a favorite of mine since they are very close.

Although I’m sure there are many more farms worthy of checking out, this short list is a start  if you love buying local farm fresh produce, meats, fruits and flowers – Yellow Bell Farm, Hoover Family Produce Market, Cedar House Farms, Ruby Ridge, Hillcrest Farm as well as the two already mentioned. Hall’s Berry Farm is a great place to find fresh blueberries (grown pesticide-free) which have done well this year and should be available through tJuly.

The land is what we live on both literally and figuratively.  Instead of worrying about housing expansion eating up all the farmland, let’s consider that maybe the farm landscape has just changed.  When Ms. Hawkins mentioned this, it made me reconsider that very thought I’ve had for a long time.  The large dairy farms and/or small family farms may be a thing of the past; not just anybody can make a living that way now.  But, there seems to be enough people willing to take a chance so that our children and grandchildren can see where their food is coming from.  So please support these hard working individuals by going to those farmer’s markets, checking out their Facebook pages;   Buy Local.

Music Therapy

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Music has long been established as comforting. We know music has a calming and healing power that extends to the healthy and the sick. It prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to release endorphins that relieve pain, agitation, and anxiety. Now used in nursing facilities, music therapies are also used in assisted living, and home environments as medical care interventions. Have you ever watched an Alzheimer’s patient come alive when they hear a song and begin to sing?

When we are dying, hearing is the last sense to leave our bodies. And that’s because the eardrums continue to vibrate even if a patient is unconscious. As a former nurse, I’ve used bedside ministry for dying friends and seen firsthand how music invokes a sense of calmness and relaxation. Pain, agitation, and a sense of loss of control are common occurrences and can be challenging to manage. But music can greatly reduce our loved ones suffering.

Music offers something beyond today’s medications and medical treatments. The therapy of music is a holistic, nonpharmaceutical one that gives us an additional intervention to supplement our traditional medical care.

I sat beside my friend Dave, softly singing and playing music during his final days and hours. Afterward, the hospice nurse reflected, “I wish all our patients would die this peacefully.” And even though both friends, Pete and Mike, were unresponsive, I know they gained a sense of peace from the hymns I sang at their bedsides.

Sometimes dying can be a lonely occupation. So many folks have no one and are on home hospice in the days/months leading up to their final days.  In Mike’s last month, I took him to hear a little live gospel and country music at the Bo Tyme Jam at the Farmington Center. And oh, how he enjoyed listening to that music. Mike was dying from stage 4 colon cancer at the time, but the event was an outing and music was the instrument of peace and calm for him.

So, I strongly believe we can complement traditional medical care with a more involved, hands-on approach to sickness and dying. Simply providing music to an ailing friend, or taking someone to listen to music in the months leading up to death, or providing music at the bedside when death is near – all are of value. Music is another tool in our toolbox to help relieve suffering – so let’s not forget to use it. Music has the power to facilitate healing and promote great comfort.