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The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

“Showing Respect”

By Stephanie Williams Dean

I’ve learned over my lifetime to show respect for things larger than I am, like horses, for instance.

I know firsthand what it feels like to be thrown from a horse. I’m smart enough to respect a large animal and potential dangers.

I’ve learned to respect the massive rains and stormy weather. I’m smart enough to heed the warnings and seek shelter. The winds are bigger than I am.

I know to respect what’s physically stronger than me – like the COVID virus.  I’m smart enough to know that blatant disregard of masks is putting at risk my health and the health of others.

Also, I know to show respect for those more powerful – authority – and those to whom I’m submissive.  I have no personal experience with a gunshot wound to my chest. But I’m smart enough to know it won’t have a positive outcome.

I’ve learned to respect all that’s bigger than me – like the big picture – and how we are brothers and sisters on this planet. Being respectful to one another in all situations is fundamental to living peacefully – and even more importantly, don’t step on what’s smaller than you – or those less strong – the oppressed, poor, or downtrodden.

Don’t be a bully.

Above all, I’ve matured with great respect for my Father – my God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. And, I need not worry when living in accordance to the will of an ever-loving God.

Humble yourself. Be kind. Be respectful.

“The Sheriff’s Badge”

By David R. Moore

It was high noon when I stepped into the dry, dirt street.  As I walked slowly down the thoroughfare, horses neighed wildly as freighters and farmers hurried to get their wagons and carts off the main road. Cowboys, young and old, reeled their horses around in swirls of dust and galloped out of sight down alleyways. Women wearing bonnets and pretty cotton dresses, swooped up their children and quickly herded them into the safety of stores or homes. Merchants dropped their brooms as they closed the doors to their establishments. The street quickly became eerily silent and the only sound heard was the whispering jingles of my spurs.

I wetted my parched lips as a hot gust of wind blew a lone tumbleweed across the street. I felt the weight of my pearl-handled, silver Colt 45 in the holster strapped to my side. He was waiting for me by the livery at the end of the block. His black, worn cowboy hat could not contain his dark, tangled, greasy hair. I was ten feet from him when I stopped. Black Bart was the worse desperado this side of the Pecos. He took one last drag on his hand rolled cigarette and flipped it aside. He casually smoothed his moustache. Although his clothes were old and worn, his black holster and gun were polished and glimmered in the sun.

“I didn’t think you had enough guts to show up,” he chuckled.

“I am here, ain’t I?”

“Then let’s get this done.  I have a date with a little senorita over at the café.”

My blood boiled. He knew I was sweet on Maria with her long flowing hair and eyes, as dark and shiny as obsidian.

Black Bart stretched out his fingers and then let them relax as they hovered over his gun. I did the same. I stared into his eyes, daring him to blink. Then, faster than a rattlesnake strike, guns were drawn and shots were fired.

“I got you!”

“No, I got you!”

“Billy, who was faster?”

“I dunno. I wasn’t really watching.”

“Come on, Billy!”

“Oh, okay.  Bobby was faster.”

I rolled my eyes. Bobby still had caps with his gun.  I had used up all my caps long ago, and it was doubtful that my folks would buy me anymore. Billy probably only heard Bobby’s cap going off. I decided right then that I would speak to my father about this injustice, and new rolls of caps would set things right.

A couple of days later and a few blocks from home, I found a sheriff’s badge in the gutter of the street. There was nothing wrong with it, and it looked brand new. I pinned it to my shirt, raced home, and put on my holster and gun. I soon found Bobby and Billy.

“Come on Bobby.  Let’s have another quick draw.”

Bobby turned me down because he and I both knew that you can’t outdraw a sheriff.  So I made them my deputies, and we chased down bank robbers all afternoon.

That evening I swaggered into the mom’s kitchen with my chest sticking out as far as I could, so she could see the sheriff’s badge.  Instead of a “Howdy do.  And how was the sheriff’s day of running down outlaws and desperados?” she asked me where I got the badge and if I had pilfered it. I didn’t know what the word ‘pilfered’ meant, but it sounded bad. So I said no and told her I found it in the street. She told me that didn’t matter and that I should take it right back to where I got it.

I went back to spot where I found the badge. It didn’t feel right to lay it directly on the street, so I finally placed it on top of a bottle cap. With reluctance, I left it. Two days later, I went back to check on the badge, thinking my mother would let me keep it, if no had claimed it. The bottle cap was there, but the badge was gone. Someone, in another neighborhood, was now sheriff.

“What I would do with a billion dollars”

By Linda H. Barnette

If I were to wake up one morning, check my bank statement, and find a billion dollars in my account, I would be shocked and would check to be sure it was legitimate.  Then if it were, the first thing I would do upon getting up off the floor would be to go to Winston and get a new BMW X5 in case I ever get to go anywhere.

After that, I would set up a trust fund for my kids so that they would never have to worry about money.

Then I would find the appropriate people to help me set up the Linda H. Barnette Foundation, which would be devoted to the causes that I support, and I would choose the ones that most needed help.  The ones that are listed below are my passions:

1. Homelessness—this is one of the worst problems of our time, so I would go about using my money to build tiny homes and villages in areas where people sleep without shelter. Each little village would have its own cafeteria, physician, and others on site to help those who live there. Family Promise is a great start in the right direction!!

2. Domestic and child abuse: This is a difficult problem to solve. Here we have Dragonfly House for abused children and the Advocacy Center for women who are victims of domestic abuse.  However, much more needs to be done. I would use my money to build a safe house in our area.

3. As an animal lover, I would have strict rules with enforcement against people who mistreat dogs and other animals. Perhaps I would purchase a large area such as a ranch for animals to live in peacefully with people who would love and care for them.

4. Environmental and climate issues are of great concern also.  I realize that many of the world’s problems, including our present pandemic, are caused by man’s greed and disregard for both animal and human life. I would give generously to that work and also to the North Carolina Land Conservancy because those involved with that cause work to preserve what undeveloped land we have left.  Once everything is used up, it will be gone for good.

There are many other groups and charities that would receive help from my money.  After all, Jesus says in Luke 12:48, “From everyone to whom much is given, much is required.”

Finally, if God were to give me back my voice, I would love to get into public service.  There is where real differences can and should be made.

“Same Trail – Different Path”

By Kevin F. Wishon

Once, not so long ago, an older man was hiking a mountain trail, much like those that wind along the Appalachian Mountains. He was making good progress, but appeared to be lost. At least, it seemed that way to the two fast hiking young men that caught up with him along the trail. Figuring he could use some company and the aid of two spritely young men, they approached and invited him to join them.

     “Thank you kindly, but I’m taking a different path,” he assured them.

     Surprised by the rejection, one of the young men removed a trail map from his vest and inspected it for a moment. Shaking his head, he looked at the fellow with compassion.

     “Sir, there is no path branching off this trail for miles, maybe more. I think you’re mistaking about where you are on this trail. Join us, and we will help you reach the next trail shelter. We have already traveled through two states and plan to finish this section of the trail by tomorrow evening,” the young man boasted.

     “No, thank you,” the old man replied. “You two ambitious fellows are eager to finish this trail and celebrate. However, that’s not my path.”

     Baffled by his retort, the two young men turned and hiked away as they whispered to each other, convinced that the fellow must be eccentric. Smiling, the elderly fellow watched as they vanish into the descending terrain. Inhaling the fresh morning air and gazing at the surrounding scenery, he muttered a reminder to himself.

     “I’ve been down the path they’re traveling. I know precisely how it ends. The real joy is found in exploring the pathway, not at the trail’s completion.”

RWG Literary Corner

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