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Sowing Seeds and Literacy

I can feel my temperature rising, like lava bubbling up from within, but – thus far– I remain victorious in this battle to finish my winter duties. My winter duties have been intense: purging, purging, and after that, more purging. However, spring fever has set in with my dad and when he drops subtle hints such as, “where are my seeds?” my duties take a backseat.

The Winchester Family Farm believes in hoarding, I mean collecting, seeds. As shown in this picture, even when cancer was devouring my mother’s strength, she invested time and energy into saving seeds from the garden. Momma even jotted down a note about the longevity of the tomatoes. Bless her..seeds

But 2016 is a new year, another motherless year, one in which Dad and I are broadening our horizons. This year we will order, as usual, from Botanical Interest Seeds, but we are also ordering from Sow True Seed.

Planting News:

This year Sow True Seed has pledged 25% of all sales to my little hometown library in Bryson City, North Carolina. If you’ve enjoyed a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, you have been in my hometown. And if you enjoyed your stay in my little hometown I kindly ask you to consider purchasing a package or two of seeds, be they tomato, cucumber, or sunflowers. You can plant them in your own garden or donate them back to the library (or send them to me and I’ll deliver them). I can’t think of a better way to spread a little love and simultaneously plant the seed of literacy.
Here’s how it works. Visit Sow True Seed’s website, and when ordering use the code MBL2016 (for Marianna Black Library). You must use the code.Remember last year when I sold daffodils to help a needy family? This is the same concept, only this time we’re buying books and building a library. And since I believe in my readers and their generosity, I challenge everyone reading this to purchase at least two packets of seeds. Every bit counts.

Writing News:
This fall I released Walking in the Rain: A Short Story about a Sacred Place. For those who have been waiting for me to write about my home-town mountains, this short story takes you back to a place my people once called home. Long before the book Bryson City Tales and Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders, my family called the Great Smoky Mountains home. When this world starts getting me down I retreat to this place, to an area locals would call the “way back,” and then I sit, and I wait, and I allow myself to be absolutely still.
If you haven’t been absolutely still in a while I highly recommend you take a trip to the “way back.” If a road trip isn’t possible, please consider reading Walking in the Rain.
For those who have asked, will Farming, Friends, & Fried Bologna Sandwiches be released as an e-book? I regret that Mercer University Press still says no. They do not typically convert non-fiction books into electronic format. No worries, Farmer Billy still has copies on Hardscrabble Road, and I have about eight copies at home. Of course, all bookstores can still order copies for you, and readers can contact Mercer University Press directly to order. All of my other work is available electronically.

What’s Next?
That’s an easy question. I have my eyes on a large patch of daffodils that are directly in the path of an evil dozer. I’ll be digging if you need me. I can feel the fever about to bubble over. After all, a gardener must do what a gardener does and that’s get those hands dirty.

Those who wish to contribute directly to the library can donate to:

Campaign Contributions

Gifts to furnish the new library (FF&E) go to:

Marianna Black Library Fund
Attn: Ms. Deb Lawley
33 Fryemont Street
Bryson City, NC 28713
Make check payable to : Fontana Regional Library

Gifts for construction go to:

Community Services of Swain County
PO Box 812
Bryson City, NC 28713
Make check payable to: Swain County Library Capital Fund

With sincere fondness and appreciation,

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is passionate about heritage seeds, and saving daffodils. When she isn’t digging in the dirt she is hoarding canning jars and reading good books. 

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

A Broken Promise

A Broken Promise

I broke a promise today.

A big one, to the most important in the whole wide world.

While we live in an age where words have little value and promises are meant to be broken, I pride myself in being a woman of my word. I mean what I say and say what I mean. I believe in truth and honesty, because without both any relationship is fragile and easily broken. My word is my bond and you can take it to the bank, unless . . .

I should probably pick up where I left off a while ago. Subscribers to my blog may have missed my posts (maybe not). I haven’t written much, or updated readers and that is by design. I don’t really know what is going on with my life right now other than I am in a season of change and loneliness.  However, all is not lost, I have a bit of good news.

Readers who purchased my latest release, Walking in the Rain had no way of knowing they were helping me do something I’ve been wanting to do for two decades, take classes to finish my degree. They also were helping a literacy program in Georgia. If you haven’t purchased the short story you may download it here, even if you do not own a Kindle.

It’s not enough that I’m taking two classes, I also work full-time. Every day I get home at 5:45 wolf down food, study, read, highlight in the expensive book, and work on an essay. Everything must be done before the Sunday midnight deadline when all assignments and tests are due. I’m about seven weeks into this routine and so far so good. If you have traveled the route of an adult learned you know the challenges I face. You also know the reward of looking at a grade that you, and you alone, earned.

To everyone who helped me earn enough money to purchase those ridiculously expensive textbooks and pay for classes, I thank you, I am working very hard. In fact, my daughter comes into my room at eleven every night and makes me go to bed.

Sometimes I obey. . .

Now back to the broken promise.

During the last snap of winter a tree fell on the house. Structurally there was no damage, but the mess is, well let’s just say it’s a disaster. We knew the trees (plural) near the house needed to be taken down but there was little time and even less money, and yes, the other trees are still there. Dad offered to do the work, but at seventy-one-years old I really don’t want him dragging around a chain saw unless absolutely necessary.

When a tree falls on your house, absolutely necessary, happens.

I am left with a huge amount of cleanup which yesterday I tackled. With my assignments out of the way, at eight o clock yesterday morning I used mom’s electric chainsaw to cut things into manageable pieces then begin piling for the brush pile. By eleven in the morning I was lonely. I don’t mind the work, but I do mind being holed up with only Kit-Tay, our orange feral cat, for company.  I called dad and asked if he would come keep me company. We lit the brush pile at one and he left at four in the evening.My muscles were cramping and my neck injury was really hurting.  When Dad left he asked, “Do you want me to come tomorrow so we can finish this up?”

“No,” I answered. “I really need to do a better job of keeping the Sabbath holy. I want to start making myself rest on Sunday.”

This morning, however, found me at the brush pile, poking dry twigs into the still-glowing embers.

“I just need to work a little bit,” I said to God. “Just a couple hours then I’ll rest. Today is the perfect day to knock this out before the spring winds kick up.”

It is not lost on me that I expect God to keep his promises. I pray scripture to Him, quoting His words (like He could forget). I pray expecting Him to keep His word, which he does . . . always.

God never breaks His promises. Promise-breaking is my job.

As the twigs lit and flames began to rise God reminded me of my words yesterday. He reminded me of my promise but again I said, “Just a couple hours then I’ll rest.”

Then the clouds thickened and rain began to fall.

Did I stop? Did I say, “I know God, I know. I’ll stop now.”

Nope. I broke more twigs and fed the fire so it would grow hotter and burn faster. I willfully, purposely broke a promise to God, which is the same as lying. I reasoned that because of the high winds there were so many limbs I needed to pick them up and burn them . . . now.

I reasoned that I wasn’t really that sore from yesterday, so a little work wouldn’t hurt.

I reasoned that I am so stinking busy during the week that I only have time right now.

I reasoned that next weekend I’ll be at a book event and I won’t have time.

I reasoned, a lot.

But mainly what I did was lie. I lied to God, the one who created the universe (and little ole me). I expect Him to keep His word, and answer my prayer, but I can’t be trusted to do the same.

Shame on me.

I accept responsibility of my actions. I regret them, and sadly, I will probably have to go around this mountain again because I am so stinking busy, and hurried, and stressed and I want to get this mess cleaned up before spring comes and I am really busy . . . but God never called me to be busy did He?

God calls us to be set apart from the rest of the busy world, and He commands us to rest.

Let’s hope I can spend the rest of the day doing just that. I hope you can as well.

Renea Winchester is an award-winning author, and serves on the Georgia Writers Association Board. Her latest work, Walking in the Rain, debuted on Amazon in the top ten nature essays. Learn more about her here.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Death of Mr. Doodle

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My daughter found him early Friday morning. “Momma, it’s Mr. Doodle,” she said breathlessly into the phone, not waiting for me to even utter the word, “hello.”

She was sobbing when she said, “he’s dead.”

Before you can understand the emotion, you must first understand the connection. Mr. and Mrs. Doodle were the last chickens my mother raised. We have carried them in our shirts, allowed them to roost on our shoulders, and finally, when they got too big and too heavy to do either, tucked them in the crook of our arms like a football.

The Doodles are family.

They are family because they communicate their desires, and because they give love equivalent to any other pet.

Mr. Doodle was Jamie’s favorite. If he was ranging free, as he often was, he would run-wings outstretched-all while sweet talking her into giving him another treat.

She always obliged.

Mr. Doodle was Mr. Personality, bobbing his head and sweet talking anyone who slowed down long enough for him to catch up. He walked with a limp, the result of being bullied by the other rooster, which is how we came to have them both. Winchesters do not tolerate bullying. Not by humans, or poultry.

Comparatively, Mrs. Doodle isn’t all that charming. While she is a Rhode Island Red, a breed known for being affectionate and also efficient egg layers, somehow she received a heaping does of not-so-nice. She is hard to catch. Hard to love. Hard to anything with. Only Mr. Doodle could keep her in line.

Sometimes.

Their relationship was rocky. Often I’d pull into the driveway to find Mr. Doodle pacing with a worrisome stride to his step. He explained, in the best manner possible, that they were going through a rough patch. I could hear Mrs. Doodle down the hill, still in the pen, fussing. Oh mercy, can that hen fuss. I’d look at Mr. Doodle, he’d look at me and I’d say, “Ok, let me go get some feed, maybe she’ll let you back in the house.”

And so we would walk, down the hill where Mrs. Doodle would fluff her feathers like she was fixin’ to flog the feathers off the boy. Instead, she’d rush beside him and eat scattered corn. She is a gifted double-yolk layer and every other day we have the pleasure of collecting a treasure. However, she is so vocal during the laying process that Mr. Doodle would stand outside the nest pacing like an expectant father. Mrs. Doodle let us know when the process was particularly painful. I could hear her from the front porch and I watched him run to the edge of the pen and stand in the corner.

He was one smart rooster.

They have worked on their relationship. One recent afternoon I found Mrs. Doodle standing in the driveway and a panicked Mr. Doodle alone in the pen crowing like the second coming. Yes, they argued a lot. But they stayed together. I often let them out when I was going to tend the garden. While most Roosters stand guard from a distance and watch their hens, Mr. Doodle never left her side. They grazed in the yard, wing to wing, always touching . . .  always.

At night he laid down first and she laid on top of him, winding her neck around his. They didn’t roost like other chickens. Despite my attempts to teach them to get off the ground and onto a perch, each night they scratched out a place in the hay and curled up in the Igloo doghouse.

That was how my daughter found them: Mr. Doodle dead, Mrs. Doodle lying on top of him, refusing to leave his side. No blood, no loose feathers, just Mr. Doodle, dead.

While many may mock our mourning of Mr. Doodle, those who have loved chickens understand. Perhaps they can relate when I write that the Missus has since suffered some sort of emotional break. Yesterday she refused to leave the Igloo. She cried . . . not cackled, or clucked, cried all day until my heart couldn’t bear it any longer, until I wrapped her in a towel and brought her inside.

And so we sat, on the couch. Her crying, me petting.

Her crying, me saying, “I know. Hon, I know.”

Because I do know.

The day before I had attended a Hospice Remembrance Service, had hung an ornament honoring my mother. I was going to write about that, but Mr. Doodle passed and Mrs. Doodle’s pain is real.

I held the hen until she nodded off. She’d grind her beak and I marveled at the similarity between humans grinding their teeth from stress and poultry grinding their beaks.

Suddenly, she would wake and begin to cry.

I would pet her again, “I know baby. I know.”

Eventually she settled down to the point where I placed her in the bathroom. Morning came and with it not much improvement. I carried her to the chicken house where she immediately entered the Igloo, checked every inch of it, and again began to cry. Occasionally, her head popped out of the opening, but not far. When she did leave the Igloo she flew out, puffed up her wings, flapped them like she could crow, and then flew back inside the Igloo. This afternoon I discovered piles of feathers she has pulled out. She hasn’t eaten much either. I finally coaxed her to eat a few kernels of corn from my hand.

I am worried.

I have said numerous times that grief wears no watch, that the process of mourning isn’t something that can be rushed, it must be endured, felt, processed over time, even for poultry.

Here’s hoping that Mrs. Doodle greets me with a cheerful cluck tomorrow because her sorrow is breaking my already fragile heart.

As always, I am interested in your stories. Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading. Please consider downloading my latest short story, Walking in the Rain, which is debuted last week at number one in Nature Essays.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of: Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches (Mercer University Press, 2014. Print only-sadly, no e-book version); In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes (Little Creek Books, 2008) (e-book and print); and Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half Truths from Appalachia (Make Your Mark Publishing) (electronic version only).

Feel free to subscribe to her blog here.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

My wish for you . . . Peace

Dear Readers,

We enter this Holiday Season living in a world full of turmoil. Many are stressed, worried, and at wit’s end. Some may long to run away, far, far away where no one could ever find them. To a place where cellphone coverage can’t reach, a place where first-world-troubles melt away.

Do you ever feel like running away?

I know I do.

And I have.

I have a special place that I visit from time to time, my people’s place. A place that once sustained vibrant communities, where laughter danced among the tree limbs as children played in the forest. A place where folk felt safe and loved.20151004_100320

This was before the terror, before the anger, before the fear . . . before everything.

Come with me, walk with me on a rainy day to a special place.

Leave your burdens.

Today, I invite you to read my latest release: Walking in the Rain: A Short Story about a Secret Place which is available exclusively through Amazon. No Kindle is required to read the story; and, you can email Walking in the Rain as a Holiday gift. For those who are too busy to mail cards, all you need is the email address of friends and family, and you can purchase my story as a gift for $2.99.

If you’re ready for a little old-fashioned Christmas story, read Farmer Billy Albertson’s Hardscrabble Christmas, an e-story about Christmas back when he was a boy.

As always, I send you my best wishes for peace and happiness. Today, and always.

Renea Winchester

 

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One Year Ago

One year ago, the morning began as any other: alarm sounding, daughter getting ready for school, morning duties.

Then the text from my brother: Mother is in the hospital.

She shouldn’t have been in the hospital. I had just left her. Dirty clothes piled beside the machine were a testament of my late-night return to Georgia from North Carolina.

Besides, Hospice was under strict orders to contact me first if something happened, because I had a 4 hour drive to get to her. They hadn’t called.

After speaking to the hospice nurse I determined it was drop and go time. I placed my daughter in the car, fake smile pasted to my face, and took her to school. Then I hit the emergency flashers and drove as fast as humanly possible -never at a safe speed- with one hand on my lights, blinking them at anyone ahead of me. I was thankful  for my fast car, having no way of knowing that two weeks later an impatient driver would hit me, total the car, and alter my life-path.

We never know our future: remember that because it is important.

The nurse called while I was en route: “We’re upping her oxygen, hoping to hold her until you get here.”

“Don’t.” I pleaded. “She’s ready to go. Please, please don’t hold her here.”

They didn’t listen.

Mother wasn’t conscious when I arrived. But she heard me when I said, “Momma, Jesus picked a beautiful day to come get you.”

Those were my first words to her.

She heard everything that was said: remember that because it is important.

Patients hear everything said over their bed. Everything.

And so I stood, for hours begging (silently) for Jesus to come take my mother. When I asked the nurse what happened, their response was, “she spiked a temperature.”

Mother never regained consciousness but she was very much aware of who was in the room. I know this because she waited until my brother left the room to draw her last breath. My mother: protective of her son until the last breath. It is the firstborn’s duty to watch their mother suffer.

She was also listening when I bent low so only she could hear me and uttered the most painful words I have ever spoken, “It’s ok to go. . . just let go.”

It was not ok for her to go, not really; but when it is a matter of death, a daughter must lie.

I will not share how difficult it is to watch someone die, to hear someone die, to be with someone who is in the laborious and lengthy process of dying and have that memory flash in your mind a million times over; I will however share my brother’s wisdom: Everyone will be here one day.

Everyone.

And now a year has passed.

Those will calloused hearts, or those who are lucky that death hasn’t taken a loved one, or are tone-deaf to death rattles, believe that one year is a long time. Listen to me when I tell you that for a daughter who never had the relationship she needed one day is a blink.

A blink.

Death and sorrow both wear no watch.

One year is but a blink.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna SandwichesMountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned a SIBA and GAYA nomination.  Visit her website at www.reneawinchester.com

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A Smart Beginning

August is the season of new beginnings. Our Littles leave the nest, entering elementary or high school. In some cases our Littles leave for “Super Big School” (college), after parents have exhausted years of nurturing their fledglings. Such was the case in our home this August.

For the record, I am not a helicopter parent. Helicopter parents are those who hover above their Littles making sure projects are completed,  even if said projects are completed (or done entirely) by the parent, not the child. You can spot a helicopter parent in science class. They are moms and dads who arrive in school with a ginormous volcano equipped with laser lights and lava that spews to the ceiling.

News flash: no child can complete this type of task at age seven. I think the parents should receive a zero, but I digress.

I live in an area where helicopter parenting is so common we need an air traffic controller. Parents are stressed you see. In Georgia, the HOPE Scholarship dangles a “Free Tuition” carrot for students who complete- and score with high numbers- AP rigor classes. In theory, if you are “smart enough” (or test well without having a nervous breakdown) then college is free.

Free college opens the door to expensive cars when one turns sixteen and European vacations during spring break. Why save for college when it will be free? Except HOPE changes the requirements, often. As my daughter began her high school year HOPE increased the required AP rigor classes to two and the numbers continue to increase depending on graduating year. Since my daughter didn’t have enough rigor classes. She BEGGED me to let her take AP classes to qualify for HOPE, but I refused.

Yes. Refused.

Helicopter parents be warned, if your Little is in the 8th or 9th grade, start thinking about college and AP classes now, or, open your mind to my daughter’s decision when it comes to higher learning.

Having volunteered in the College and Career Ready room at high school, I’d seen the worried look on the faces of mothers. I took mental notes as they discussed their tutoring investment so Little Johnny and Jane could pass said rigor classes. I also noted the number of times their Littles had taken the SAT in order to score high enough to get into the college their Little wanted to attend (which by the way is very often the Alma Mater of one of the parents, and out- of- state, AND ridiculously priced).

I also paid attention to the social-class war and how these parents looked down their noses at students who came in wanting to attend colleges other than UGA, Auburn, or Alabama. I particularly noted how many students take six or seven years to complete their “4-year degree.”

Colleges woo our Littles (and their parents) with emotional decisions, and these decisions are made while overlooking the reality: COLLEGES ARE BUSINESSES! And because our family has REALITY (and Jesus, don’t forget Jesus), instead of the HOPE SCHOLARSHIP, our family now has something called Community College.

Now I’ve done it; I’ve gone and said a bad word . . .  Community College . . . something that is usually spoken in a hushed whisper because – let’s be honest –people judge those who attend Community College. They think the students are lesser, not as intelligent, blue-collar, dead-end-job-folk.

I bet there are many seven-year college graduates who’d be happy to work a dead-end-job right about now. But that is another digression.

I propose that community college students are some of the smartest folk around and if you have a pretty smart kid in high school imagine how s/he would be in a community college. BIG fish: small pond. You see, there is more than one way to receive a 4-year degree, so why not make the best economical decision.  Doesn’t anyone want to graduate debt-free anymore?

According to the numbers I heard during orientation only 38% of Americans have a four-year-degree. That could mean a lot of students start, but never pass. It is widely known that fall classes are called “weed out” classes, a time where serious students are separated from those who are occupying seats but have no desire or real direction. Perhaps students party too much or worship SEC football too much in the fall. Or maybe they have trouble transitioning at large universities or do not graduate because mommy isn’t there to build a volcano. I don’t know, I only know that I have limited resources and therefore must invest them wisely.

By comparison, community college students begin with frugality in mind; they want the best- affordable- education. They want to graduate with as much experience and as little debt as possible. Today’s community colleges aren’t what we once knew. Once called “Trade Schools” and “Technical Colleges,” today’s community college provides a cost effective means of receiving specialized training, but also an affordable alternative for serious students seeking to better their current economic situation through higher learning.

But perhaps it is the classroom setting that provides the best example of why community colleges work. Imagine if you will a room full of students, some are eighteen years old, fresh from high school (they know everything by the way); other students are thirty years old, recently laid off, praying for a chance to start- or finish- their degree. Then there are the “learn-ed” the 40 and 50 year olds who have held a job since high school, can do math in their head, and have so much life experience they should be teaching Real Life- 101. These are life-veterans, parents, grandparents, peers, mentors, and their experience is invaluable in the classroom setting.

See where I’m going?

While standing in line at the bookstore I met a student who is participating in the College Transfer program. For those who aren’t familiar with this particular degree, students knock out core classes first, and then select the University where credits will transfer. Southwestern Community College (which is an accredited school) has an agreement with the University of North Carolina system where students can earn up to 61 hours of credits that will transfer to any public university and many private universities. His goal: MIT.

So let’s do some math.

My daughter invests two years taking core college transfer classes, which are currently priced at $ 75.00 a credit hour. Meanwhile, over at the U of D (University of Debt), students are sardine-packed with 600 of their closest friends taking the same English class, using the same textbook as the University classes which cost – depending on your major and current prices listed on their website–between $334 and $693. Per credit hour. (Out of state $1,000-$1,542 respectively)

I don’t need to elaborate further, do I? So while parents are fretting about putting a second mortgage on their home, and while thousands of students are graduating with the burden of student debt which will prevent them from buying their own home for years to come, I believe my daughter made the correct decision.

There’s plenty of room in her small pond for you.

Visit these links to learn more about Southwestern Community College (ranked number 7 in this latest report).

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna SandwichesMountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned a SIBA and GAYA nomination.  Visit her website at www.reneawinchester.com

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A Summer of Purging

This summer (and spring), I have been in the throws of the biggest obstacle I have tackled since the Beloved and I decided to install a slate entryway.

I am purging.

Decades worth of stuff.

Eighty percent of it not mine.

Half of that eighty percent consist of things I don’t even recognize, like this thing

I mean really? What is THIS and why do we need it?

I mean really? What is THIS and why do we need it?

What in the love of humanity is this? Don’t know. Don’t care. I haven’t personally used it and it was in the attic so buh-bye.

I’m not going to belabor the point that I have not owned, nor received any pleasure from the items being purged because – frankly – I need every ounce of energy to carry boxes and boxes and boxes of unwanted items to the trash, or the Thrift Store as was the case yesterday.

I love the Thrift Store.

Long before it was vogue, I was thrifty.

And in the zip code where I reside, the Thrift Store is the best place to shop.

But you don’t need to shop. you need to purge, purge purge!

Hush up conscience. I’m telling a story!

So with the vehicle full of boxes I made a trip to two of my favorite charities: The Roswell Historical Society and North Fulton Community Charities. If you’ve read my book, you know about the “Hembree Gals” and their passion for saving the Hembree Farm. One box of goodies went to the Historical Society, but the other, filled with clothing, stuffed animals and the like, traveled to North Fulton Community Charity. I’ve stopped going to Goodwill. I’m not one hundred percent certain where their money goes, but I am confident that NFCC serves the community, because I have volunteered there. They provide food, backpacks, coats, job training, and much more. They are a Godsend to the community.

But I’m chasing a rabbit, let me (try to) stay on task, at North Fulton Community Charity.

Steering the vehicle into the designated drop-off site, I spied the loveliest bench ever. It looked like something straight out of my home church, only painted.

I wanted it.

In a bad way

But I didn’t have a pickup truck.

What I wouldn’t give for a 15 year old pickup truck. (nothing new, perish THAT thought). A truck is on my list, and I do mean at the tip-top of my “must have” list right beside new socks and Orange Ginger Bath and Body lotion.

Any who . . . I donated my items, received my tax slip, and then left giving the bench one last look.

Then I sent my friend Kelle a text. Kelle’s husband recently gave her a pickup truck. I have joked with my husband that if he really loved me he’d buy me one.

I drive a Leaf.

Y’all stop laughing. Yes, it is impossible to save daffodils, and trees, and BENCHES in a Leaf. (Yes I know, I should buy my own truck and not ask my husband. I’m an author, we can’t afford trucks. We rent our vehicles).

But the bench, well, I really, really coveted this worldly possession. Alas, no truck= No bench.

Today, while picking up my daughter’s friend, I said, “We’re swinging by to check on my bench, if it’s there. I’m getting it.”

But Mom, you don’t have a truck? Daughter said, not needing to state the obvious fact that it would not fit in the Leaf (which she insists is “her vehicle” since mine was destroyed in the car accident) (she’s right).

“If it’s still there it’s meant for me to get,” I replied.

Praise the Lord, it was still there.

I paid for the bench then left my daughter sitting on it (yes, literally), while I called Good Ole Reliable Farmer Billy, who – thankfully – had just unloaded a truckload of “come-post.”

We loaded my precious bench into Billy’s truck and the kids sat in the back as I drove her home.

Look at her. Isn’t she lovely? I am so happy. Truly, I envision a spring writing workshop, with papers, and laptops, and creative minds settled down on this bench. I would love to know the story of this bench. It had a broken piece, and I am sure that is why it was donated, discarded, not good enough for one of the many fancy homes in this area. Fortunately, I don’t do fancy. I do recycled, hand-me-down, well-loved items, and Dear Friends I am in love with this one.

Sigh.... this corner bench makes me so happy.

Sigh…. this corner bench makes me so happy.

Knowing that I couldn’t hide my treasure, I put her beside the garage then parked the vehicle beside it, so “no one can see her.”

The Beloved came home from work. Kissed me and said, “Just where are you putting the bench?”

Busted.

“But Honey, don’t ya just love it.”

Eye roll.

“I hope you put it far, far in the woods so I never have to look at it again,” he replied.

Hahaha, that Beloved. He’s never gonna get me a truck, is he?

Then I broke into song: I love it, I love it. I really, really love it.

Perhaps it belongs on the front porch. What do you think?

Thank you for reading, and for sharing my joy.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna SandwichesMountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination.  BOOK HER to speak to your garden club, book club, or church function, by mailing her here, or visiting her website at www.reneawinchester.com

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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