Showing posts from November, 2009

Precious Memories, How They Linger

Thankful for a loving mother and father...

Every morning in the dead of winter, Papa slogged to the woodpile, brought in two or three armloads of wood and made a blazing fire in the open-hearth fireplace. The old farmhouse had cracks that let the cold in, and you could scrape enough frost off the window sills for a snowball fight before the warmth of the fire melted it.

The house had two sides with a dogtrot running through the middle. The sleeping rooms were on one side; and in the winter at night the howling wind would sing you to sleep. My grandmother piled on quilts—quilts she had made, forbidding much movement during the night. If you had to go to the bathroom—well, the slopjar in the cold hallway between the bedrooms would have to suffice until morning.

The front room and kitchen were on the other side of the dogtrot. That's where Papa made the fire. One cold, wintry morning, my mother left the warmth of her bed and trekked across the dogtrot without my grandmother. She venture…

A Full Heart

Thoughts based on House Not Made With Hands

...the cupboard is empty, but the heart is full, written on a napkin and placed on a shelf in the empty refrigerator reminded me that day there is something extraordinary to a believing child of God as it concerns his daily provision.

Back in the early sixties, everything was not coming up roses for everyone. And for me to just pick up and move from the comfort of home and family to a place I'd never seen was a bit disconcerting. Yet, knowing from the start God would provide, we made our plans based on his promises.

There've been times in my life when I had no idea how God would meet a need. I've thought, this one is too big even for God. Then like the rain on a hot summer day kisses the parched earth beneath my feet and gives hope to the tiny lily bulbs stored below the surface of the soil, my Heavenly Father meets a specific need of mine in the same miraculous way.

I don't catch him off guard and unable to come through for me. …

Faithful Sons

Veterans Day, November 2009.
In honor of my great-great grandfather, T.G. Clark and his sons, Jonathan and Albert Henry, who died at Gettysburg. In this chapter, Jonathan has just buried his father and Henry in a shallow grave on the wheat field and two days later fights in Pickett's Charge.

To his dear friend and brother in combat, he gathers his wits and calmly asks, "Andrew, what do you dream about?"

"I dream about the river behind my house. About naked trees in the winter. About my Mama when she was young and I was a boy. And I dream about walking to meetinghouse on Sundays in the spring."

"You don't dream about blood or cannons or dead family members in the cut?"

Andrew looked away, tears filling his eyes.

Jonathan wiped the tears and sweat from his own face and continued. "I wish I could dream about riding to work with Pa and Henry, talking and laughing. About fishing down on Big Creek. Frogs croaking on a hollow log. An eagle in flight. And …

Honor Answering Honor

A Northern Officer Describes the Final Parade of
Lee's Army of Northern Virginia
Appomattox Courthouse

Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve, standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond...

Instructions had been given; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left, regiment by regiment in succession, gives the soldier's salutation, from the "order arms" to the old "carry" —the marching salute. General John B. Gordon at the head of the column, riding with heavy spirit and downcast face, catches the sound of shifting arms, looks up, and, taking the meaning, wheels superbly, making with himself and his horse one …

Through Eyes of Faith

Excerpts from Prologue, The Mississippi Boys, published 2008

... I spent fourteen years with my journals and memories from the old plantation to get House Not Made With Hands, and letting it go was like saying good-bye to an old friend. I dared believe this was my meaningful contribution and kindred spirits out there would take the journey with me. After all was said and done, I couldn't bid farewell to certain characters in my story, so I opened a new one from a chapter so deep-rooted in my history that I had to peer through a glass darkly to get images of those about whom I wanted to write. Their heroic story consumed me, and I wrote, realizing my page was not yet full.

And this is it. Though historical fiction, I hope its dynamic will touch you in a way you never thought possible, for we each have an investment here. Our forefathers—yours, mine, Blue and Gray—left DNA on battlefields all over the South. Their blood was sprinkled—yea, freely poured out—from Shiloh to Fredericksbur…