A heart-shaped box of chocolates on Dyer hill

What could possibly become of a cold winter’s day, one impossibly large hill and a frozen box of chocolates?

When you’re 13 years old and you stare down Dyer hill, the snow still falling, your gloved hands wrapped around the sharp metal blades of your wooden sled, your heart is going to race.

Five slippery steps on the thin white powder, the ice-covered blacktop lurking below, then throwing the Western Auto Flexible Flyer out before you, the thump of your chest landing on the wood and then speeding head-first into a cold wall of winter.

Before you leap, you sneak a peek.

The girl with the freckles, the one who can throw a football farther than any boy and run just as fast, is watching. You begged your mother for the $5 bill and then read card after card until finding the Valentine that was just right – not too mushy, not too dorky – and the heart-shaped box of chocolates that you plan to leave in her mailbox when darkness descends.

Her blue eyes sparkle, the red scarf dotted with flakes of white to warm her lips, and your heart races and you run and you run and then you leap.

Editor’s Note: “A Heart-Shaped Box of Chocolates” stems from a writing prompt during the most recent Pen to Paper Live session hosted by the Charlotte Lit organization. You can register here. We were challenged to write a bit of flash fiction, no longer than six sentences, detailing a season and a moment during that season.

My love of grass

Fat Tuesday has me hungry for fine fescue

The lawn at Woodbend on a late April afternoon. Photo by Michael Banks

Most just shake their head and walk away. “No, no, no.”In fact, they are so adverse they’ll suddenly stop and turn, telling me their disdain is so great “I pay $50 every two weeks just so I don’t have to do it.”

They cannot comprehend my love of mowing my grass.

There’s something about sitting astride the bright green John Deere and hearing the motor catch when you turn the ignition. The slight shudder as the sharpened steel blade engages, in its wake the spring smell of fresh-cut fescue.

Maybe it’s about being in control. I follow the same path, a geometric pattern created some 15 summers past, only altered when the red buds grew tall and the azaleas wide and heavy with their showy whites and strawberry reds. My blade sweeps once and then again, shearing the blades to within 4 inches of the brown soil. Not 3 inches. Not 3 ½. But 4.

As with any love, there are tests. In the late summer heat, the sweat runs from your brow and you taste it on your lips. A cloud of red clay dust often blows, my Deere now brown, and the shards of crabgrass cling to my exposed ankles.

Yet, I sit and mow. Horizontal then diagonal. Always staying within the lines.

And on a Mardi Gras Tuesday, a day after thunder rumbled, lightning cracked and the rains fell, there is a ray of sun dancing upon my window frame. Beyond I see the clover and chickweed green and spreading, the fescue tall and waving in a cold wind.

I think of spring and my Deere.

And there is comfort in that.  

Editor’s Note: “My Love of Grass” stems from a writing prompt during the most recent Pen to Paper Live session hosted by the Charlotte Lit organization. You can register here. We were challenged to write of a love that is often neglected, a quieter love we all crave for comfort. We were told to focus on the concrete, grounded in actions and sensations, to bring the reader right there so they can feel the love first-hand.

Beanee Weenees in the parking lot

They’ve met for a year in the vacant parking lot. He’s always brought Beanee Weenees. She’s so tired of Beanee Weenees.

Editor’s Note: The following is an example of flash fiction stemming from a writing prompt during the most recent Pen to Paper Live session hosted by the Charlotte Lit organization. You can register here. We were given an example of flash fiction and encouraged to write from what inspires us.

The car door creaked and groaned as a 15-year-old Buick tends to do when he opened and closed the door. From the yellow plastic bag, he pulled forth a dented cup of Beanee Weanies. He smiled as if he was handing her a handful of sapphires. 

Sure, she likes the taste of hot dog chunks and gravy and beans. Her mistake was in telling him. Since that first time they agreed to meet in the back corner of the vacant Food Lion parking lot, it’s always been Beanee Weenees. For 30 minutes, they’ll sit in the Buick and hold hands. She’ll slurp and listen as he talks of tomorrow.

She’s so tired of Beanee Weenees. 

Today is exactly one year after their first lunch date. The box holding the ring holding the quarter carat feels heavy in his pocket. When, he wonders. He decides definitely after she’s had her Beanee Weenees.

Tripping with death high above the Barren River

Ride along on a trip to the “locks” with a pocketful of ‘shrooms.

The following is a short piece of fiction stemming from a writing prompt during the most recent Pen to Paper Live session hosted by the Charlotte Lit organization. You can register here. We writers were asked to recall a “near death” experience of our own––or imagine one for a fictional character––and describe the setting with as much sensory detail as possible

Tripping with death above the Barren River

The Barren River runs fast here, slicing through the forested green gorge, its metallic blue waters dotted with white outcroppings of rock, like a lost field of mushrooms dropped down among the foothills of western Kentucky.

College students come here where the river plunges 20 feet over the falls, the mist from where the waters splash off the limestone below creating cool wet clouds that rise and hover, leaving tiny wet droplets on your tanned skin. 

Seeking space from exams and empty wallets, 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds come to the Locks to sip cherry hooch mixed with pure grain alcohol and trip on shrooms. Those wise know to keep one in your group moderately sober as a trip to the Locks requires traversing a one-car-wide path that splits a sheer grey wall of granite and a dizzying drop of some 40 feet to the river below.

And it is here, 45 degrees vertical on that thin ribbon of road, where JD has decided to stop his hand-me-down hatchback. He needs to piss and it won’t wait until we reach level ground. 

I sit in the back seat alongside Adelphi and we tip our beer cans together. “Cheers, mate.” He giggles. I’m quite certain he gobbled most of the pocketful of shrooms JD carried and in his altered mind he’s anywhere but perched in a Pinto on the side of a cliff waiting on his driver, who is still visible through the front window, a yellow stream now snaking its way between JD’s legs, carving a path in the dry, dusty gravel. 

I glance out the open window and look down. It’s a straight shot, save for a few stubborn scraggly pines, to where the river runs clear below. I can smell the mist and hear the river hissing as it starts to run fast near the lip of the falls. I’ve never been one for heights. A boyhood trip up the St. Louis Arch left me light-headed and queasy and my back pressed against a carpeted wall, the people below a speck of tiny black dots moving hastily like worker ants serving a queen. 

Adelphi giggles some more and takes a long sip from his beer.

“Fuck it,” he says, leaning forward and over the front seat. As if in slow motion, I watch Adelphi as he shifts the gear stick into neutral and, giggling again, flops back, landing partly atop me, his beer spilling onto my jeans. There’s the smell of warm hops and a sudden lurch in my stomach as I feel gravity grab hold of the Pinto and we start to slowly move downhill.

Hearing the crunch of tires on gravel, JD has turned around, his hand still around his pecker and a look of curiosity upon his face as he tries to ponder how his one piece of tangible party has slipped into gear and is steadily moving backwards toward where the road bends, a literal dropping-off point.

“We’re moving, man, we’re moving!” Adelphi shouts out, reaching up to the top of the brown felt roof, his hands rhythmically smacking again and again, seeking out whatever unicorns or demons are filling his head space.

“We’re moving, man, we’re moving.”

Adelphi

I feel my own fingers digging in between the cushions, thinking a seat belt strapped around my waist is going to do me some good when that Pinto plummets backward off the cliff, smacks three pines on its way down and ends up, roof down, wedged between two big boulders, water streaming in and me stuck in place with my seat belt. Instead, my hands pull out a months-old peppermint and three years’ worth of brown, sticky lint.

My eyes remain on the front window, focused on JD, who has now taken on the form of a hermit crab, his legs askew, jeans still unzipped, pecker flopping, as his pudgy arms try to keep pace with his even fatter legs. He runs for his Pinto, its back bumper bouncing us off the wall of granite like the shiny silver ball ricocheting off the bumpers on the pinball machine I used to pump quarters into on Sunday mornings between Sunday school and worship service. Seems like years ago.

Game literally over, I think, surprising myself in the clarity and calmness of how one accepts one’s demise. My hands grip the headrest in front of me and I push my spine farther into the back seat cushion, readying for the free flight, bracing for the bone-jarring impact. 

“It’s beautiful,” Adelphi says, linking his arm around my bicep, pulling himself close. He leans his head back and lets loose with some Skynyrd in the sweetest harmony I’ve heard. And there, in that moment, I realize I’ve never known Adelphi to sing. 

“If I leave here tomorrow

Would you still remember me”

I’m fine with dying, I say to myself, and close my eyes. If it must be like this, then it’s gonna be.

“For I must be traveling on, now

‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see”

I savor the air that enters my mouth and fills my lungs, counting each breath. One… two…. I can taste the river on my tongue now, the wetness and cold awaiting. I hear the spring breeze whistling through the pines and I think of dead doves.

One breath. Exhale. Two breaths. Exhale.

“My father, who art in heaven,” I mumble, my mind in a jumble, trying to remember the words.

Adelphi now in full chorus.

“Cause I’m as free as a bird now

And this bird you cannot chaaaannnngggggeeeeeee”

The car lurches and our heads snap back and then forward, my forehead smacking the head rest, my fingers white, clenched in the foam.

I later come to find out that JD, that sweet, plump, slow-moving snail, had somehow managed to catch up with the Pinto and then wedged himself inside the open door and thrown his body into the driver’s side floorboard, his hands slamming down on the brake pedal, the Pinto’s back bumper hanging off the edge.

For a few moments we sit there in silence. The river still hisses below, almost like it’s angry, mad that it’s missed out on its allotment of drunk, foolhardy, teenagers. The spring breeze still blows and I feel it enter the open window, cool on my face that’s wet with sweat.

Adelphi breaks the silence. “Glorious day, dude.”

JD sits upright, closes the door and turns the ignition. The Pinto finally catches, slips into gear and then climbs, in its wake just dust and the river waters that run through the rocks and cascade down.

The last toast

A man chooses to stop drinking. What gets left behind, what is lost?

The following is a short piece of fiction stemming from a writing prompt during the most recent Pen to Paper Live session hosted by the Charlotte Lit organization. You can register here. On the eve of the presidential inauguration, the prompt was to examine what ends when something new begins? What gets lost, what gets left behind?

The Last Toast

Today is the day I stop drinking.

Seven words skewered in pencil on the back of an overdue electric bill from the City of Decatur.

The words a promise I’d made to myself some six hours earlier. Now the empty fifth of Kentucky Tavern on its side, a small pool of the brown elixir lingering in the glass on the nightstand, a remnant of the night before.

There’s a momentary urge to bring the cool glass to my lips to feel the burn of the whiskey as it hits my tongue, that sensory overload only topped by the feeling of warmth that spreads through my torso.

I’ll miss it. 

We had our falling outs, particularly that DWI three years back and those hungover mornings where I lay curled in bed instead of cutting wood. And, of course, there’s Rebecca. She said I loved the drink more than her.

For a while now, it’s been just me and the whiskey. And, for a while now, that’s been just fine.

Oh, we had our fun. 

That first sip when I was 14, the bottle passed from my daddy as we sat on the tailgate of the pickup truck waiting for the doves to rise from the brush. My welcome to manhood moment.

That late summer night down in the back woods of the Chattahoochee, three dates in with Rebecca, sharing the pint in the back seat of my Pinto, that hot spice sticking to my tongue, my lips numb.

Plenty of graduation celebrations, keg parties, afterwork socials, snips on lunch breaks, morning pick-me-ups, afternoon get-me-throughs.

We became good friends. Maybe too good of friends.

Comes a time when a man’s got to do what he thinks is best for him. And for me, that’s leaving you, whiskey.

Don’t you come knocking again on my door.

Please. 

William Sutcliffe Heaton, Jr. (1925-2018)

CLARKSDALE, MS – The man who had a hand in forming the first public cotton ginning operation in the Mississippi Delta and literally planted the idea for a farming enterprise that would become known nationwide passed away peacefully Saturday, July 7, 2018, at the age of 92.

And while Bill Heaton may be known for the Bobo Moseley Gin and Heaton Pecans, it was his love of life and family that sticks in the minds of his son and daughter.

“He loved life so much,” said his son, Cliff Heaton. “He loved to hunt, to fish. I can’t tell you how much time he spent with me and my sisters. It was us first, work second. That’s just the way he was. We were a very close family.”

Heaton said “that love of life” was exemplified in the days he spent quail hunting with his father or the hours Bill Heaton spent watching his daughters play tennis, the trip to Europe he and his wife took, or the time his father simply sat alone hunting for turkey.

“We were a very close-knit family,” said his daughter, Darrah Pierce. “Summertime, Daddy would come home for lunch every day and we’d have those wonderful lunches with the vegetables we grew in the garden and the catfish we caught. It was family.”

Born in Chicago, the son of the late William Sutcliffe Heaton, Sr., and Louise Bobo Moseley Heaton, William Sutcliffe Heaton, Jr., attended Clarksdale High School, where he excelled in academics and athletics.

Upon graduation from high school, he attended the University of Louisville under the Naval V-12 program and was assigned to the United States Naval Forces in the Pacific Fleet, where he briefly served as an officer during World War II. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Louisville in 1946

He continued his education at the University of Texas, majoring in cotton marketing. He then returned home to enter the family business with his grandfather, A.J. Moseley, and his great uncle, Charles G. Bobo.

Bill Heaton was a visionary. That was shown during his 20s when he and his great-uncle transformed Bobo Moseley Gin into the first public ginning operation in north Mississippi. During a time in which cotton farmers were transitioning from mule labor to tractor labor, Bill Heaton saw the growth potential in expanding cotton ginning services from nearby sharecroppers to farmers five, 10, 15 miles away.

“He basically transformed our little family gin from a 2- to 3-mile radius to a full-service gin that prided itself on service and taking care of our customers,” Cliff Heaton said.

Through the use of upgraded equipment, the Bobo Moseley Gin was able to process a farmer’s cotton better and faster than before.

“We would turn trailers around two or three times as fast as anyone else,” Cliff Heaton said. “That’s how we grew into the public ginning and we’ve just continued to grow since then. It’s a big business, there’s no question about it.”

During his business years, Bill Heaton not only ran Bobo Moseley Gin and Heaton Farms, but also served as a director of Delta Council, was an active member of the Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce, and was on the board and served as vice president of Delta Oil Mill and North Delta Compress for many years. He served on the executive committee of the Bank of Clarksdale and Union Planters Bank for over 25 years and was an active member of the National Cotton Council Bale Packaging Committee. He also enjoyed his membership in the Cotton Carnival, Osiris, the Clarksdale VFW and the Clarksdale Elks Club.

Pierce said one of the most important things he father valued was an education.

“Daddy always pushed the value of a good education, saying it can’t be measured,” said Pierce, who would gain a love of business from her father.

She recalled her teenage years, working in the accounting office at the cotton gin, learning calculations and numbers. It was where, she said, she got “fascinated by business.” At her father’s urging, Pierce would go on to graduate from Ole Miss with a business degree and later earn a master’s degree in business administration.

“We learned that farming is a business,” said Pierce, who is now the marketing manager for Farm Press. She called her father a pioneer in farming techniques.

“He researched, he did his homework and he was extremely smart,” she said.

While Heaton Pecans are now widely known, it was peaches that Bill Heaton first grew on 250 acres surrounding Lyon. The land was known then as the Bubba Moseley Peach Orchard and there was a peach stand right where Heaton Pecans is located now on Highway 61 North.

“Over time, Daddy began to realize he could buy peaches cheaper in Arkansas that he could grow them,” Cliff Heaton said.

Around 1961, Bill Heaton planted the first orchard of pecan trees that would grow to include 180 acres. Heaton Pecans has only continued to blossom through the years and the pecans are now sold at retail stands and via mail order and the business has expanded to include candied and cooked pecans.

“It all started with his idea and his vision to plant the pecan orchard,” said Cliff Heaton, who now oversees the Heaton Farms operation in addition to Bobo Moseley Gin.

It was also during his first years of farming when Bill Heaton met the love of his life, Elsie Darrah Wilsford, and they were married in 1952, making their home in Lyon, where Bill Heaton resided until his death.

Bill Heaton is survived by his son, William Cliff Heaton, and his wife, Chris; a daughter, Darrah Heaton Pierce, and her husband, Buddy; six grandchildren, Lyndsey Parker Sims, Preston Parker, Whitney Harrington Young, Cadey Heaton True, Ann Granville Heaton and Lucy Heaton; and eight great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Elsie Wilsford Heaton; his daughter, Betsy Heaton Harrington; and his grandson, William Cliff Heaton, Jr.

Funeral services were held Sunday, July 8, 2018, at the First United Methodist Church in Clarksdale. Interment was in Oakridge Cemetery.

Pierce said one lasting memory she’ll have of her father’s visitation and service was discovering the sheer number of people who had hand-written letters from her father offering congratulations, condolences or a simple thank you.

“They were so personal and everybody saved them. Everybody in this town has one of Daddy’s letters, some even two. How special is that? They keep them in their Bibles, in treasured places so that they’ll never get thrown away,” Pierce said.

“He was one of those men that come along every once in a while who garners respect from everyone,” she said. “He enjoyed people and helping any which way he could and he didn’t need to shout it to the world.”

Bill Heaton was involved in numerous civic and business organizations. He was an original founder of Lee Academy and served on its board of directors for many years. He was active in First Presbyterian Church for many years, serving several terms on the Board of Elders and the Board of Sessions. He later joined Lyon Methodist Church, where he was an active participant until his death.

Lyon mayor Woody Sawyer said Bill Heaton was “a steward for the town of Lyon.”

“His relatives were basically the founders of Lyon. He loved the town and would do anything that we needed help with. I can’t tell you how many things he’s done over the years, and he never asked for anything in return,” Sawyer said.

“He was just a Southern gentleman that everyone is going to miss,” Sawyer said. “He was a very, very smart, intelligent man. Every summer he provided jobs for high school kids, black and white. He didn’t see any color. He was very fair.”

Cliff Heaton said his father was one of the smartest men he’s ever known.

“He was a master of it all. He taught me virtually everything I know. He taught me how to handle good times and how to handle adversity. Those are the things I’ll always remember him for.”

Fred M. Hite (1943-2016)

Fred M. Hite

MORGANFIELD, Ky. – In a life that took him from the streets of Uniontown, Ky., to the jungles of Vietnam to towering construction projects along the Ohio River, and retirement days spent on the golf courses across the Southeastern United States, Fred Hite was as solid a man as the massive power plants he helped build, devoted as his love of family and favorite sports teams, and as strong as his legendary grip.

Frederick Maurice Hite, 72, of Morganfield, died Sunday, April 24, 2016, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville, Ind.

Born Oct. 6, 1943, in Uniontown, the fifth child of Parvin and Bernadette Hite, he was named Frederick by the nuns of nearby St. Agnes Church in honor of Saint Frederick.

A 1961 graduate of St. Vincent Academy, Fred spent part of his early years working at his father’s gas station in Morganfield and later worked as a carry out/stock boy at the Sureway in Morganfield before a local judge offered the option of “go to jail or go into the Army.” As a member of the U.S. Army, Fred would spend part of the next four years along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border as part of the military’s communications surveillance team.  

Soon after returning from Vietnam, Fred was initiated in September 1967 into the Local Iron Workers 103, based in Evansville. During his time with the iron workers through the 1970s and ’80s, Fred worked on the construction of the St. Louis Arch and spent nine years as the assistant to the business manager. With a membership totaling 700 to 800 in a 40-county area over three states, Fred was involved in such construction projects as the Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Paradise, Ky.; dams along the Ohio River in Uniontown, Newburgh, Ind., and Cannelton, Ind.; the Alcoa plant in Warrick County, Ind.; and the Anaconda smelter in Sebree, Ky.; as well as 18 power plants, including those in Sebree, Rockport, Ind., and Petersburg, Ind.

Fred was known as a master welder and one who “could weld anything but a broken heart and the crack of dawn.”

Fred also worked as a regional sales manager for CompuChem Laboratories.

He truly “bled blue” during basketball and football season, cheering on his beloved Kentucky Wildcats. That love was only rivaled in the spring by his devotion to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. A history and military buff, he was also a fan of TV westerns and “true” country musicians like Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams.

In addition to his parents, Fred was also preceded in death by two brothers, Jerry and Ronald “Rock” Hite.

Survivors include two sons, Robbie Hite and wife Amy of Jackson, Tenn., and Ryan Hite of Dallas, Texas; two grandchildren, Tyler and Nathan Hite of Jackson; a brother Jim Hite and his wife Pat of Bullard, Texas; a sister Beverly Baczewski and her husband Victor of Summerfield, Fla.; and his companion of the past 15 years, Linda R. Banks of Morganfield, and her children Michael Banks, of Belmont, N.C., and Stacie Banks of Henderson, Ky.

A celebration of life service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at Whitsell Funeral Home in Morganfield. The Rev. Jerry Manning will officiate. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be in the West Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Ky. Memorials can be made to the American Heart Association.

H. Shane Jones (1944-2020)

Shane Jones

DENVER, NC – Born on the side of a West Virginia mountain on a cold November day just before the end of World War II, Shane Jones spent the next 75 years overcoming obstacles. He did this through an overwhelming desire to succeed in all he did – exemplified by a loving family that eventually included four grandchildren, a career that carried him from a Blue Ridge coal mining town to across the globe, and in the hundreds of friends and associates who simply knew him as Shane. 

He carried that can-do spirit, coupled with his generosity, quick wit and knowledge of numbers and people, with him until his final breath on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. 

Born Nov. 17, 1944, in Jenkinjones, amidst the rolling hills and coal fields near Bluefield, W.Va., Shane was the fifth of six children born to Clyde and Verda Jones. He was named Harry S. Jones by his father, a coal miner, in honor of Harry S. Truman, the U.S. senator who became president six months later. When asked what the “S” stood for, Clyde chose “Shane” in honor of the title character from the western novel, one of the few books in their small West Virginia home. It’s fitting that Shane was the name people called him as he and the gunslinger shared similar beliefs in loyalty, hard work, fearlessness and never shirking one’s responsibilities.

After graduating from Bramwell (W.Va.) High School in 1962, Shane, over the next five years, hitchhiked each way from his West Virginia home to Bowling Green, Ky., where he attended Bowling Green College of Commerce and Western Kentucky University. Balancing a full schedule of classes and working “every job known on campus,” Shane graduated from WKU in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management.

It was during his time at WKU that Shane met Janice “Jan” White, a co-ed from the corn fields of western Kentucky. The two married on Aug. 4, 1968, and Shane and Jan remained devoted to one another for the next 51 years.

After graduating, Shane started his career in Louisville, Ky., with the accounting firm of Humphrey-Robinson. At the same time, he spent six years serving with the Kentucky Army National Guard.

After receiving his CPA certification, Shane joined Vermont American Corporation in 1970 where he served as manager of internal audits in their Louisville office. In 1986, he was named general manager of the Vermont American Tool Company Distribution Center in Lincolnton, NC, and he moved his family to their present home on Lake Norman. After Vermont American was purchased by the Bosch Group in 1989, Shane served as the director of distribution/packaging for the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation in Lincolnton. 

In his position, Shane traveled the globe. He was generous with his advice and with his mentoring. He recognized talents in people and invested in their career advancement and educational programs.

A longtime member of Denver United Methodist Church, Shane served on several leadership teams at the church over the past 35 years. He enjoyed boating, golfing, collecting and restoring classic cars, and University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball. He loved his Diet Pepsi, Lance Toasty peanut butter crackers, deviled eggs and Keebler Pecan Sandies cookies.

Yet, his real passion was in caring for his family, longtime friends, neighbors in the Westport Peninsula community and business associates. One of his most generous gifts was donating a kidney to his brother, Jerry.

Shane is survived by his wife, Janice “Jan” White Jones; a son, Darrell Shane Jones and his wife, Sandy, of Mooresville, NC, and their four children, Loralei, Micah, Tasman and Mireille Jones.

When Darrell was born in 1978, the song “You Light Up My Life” was popular and, ever since that day, Darrell was always the light in his father’s eyes. That light and love grew with the birth of each of his four grandchildren, who lovingly called Shane “Grumpy, but not in the grumpy sort of way.”

Other survivors include a sister, Columbia McDonough and her husband, Tom, of Tazewell, Va.; a brother, Allen Jones and his wife, Nancy, of Atlanta; a sister-in-law, Donna Jones, of Asheboro, NC; two brothers-in-law, David Baker, of Falls Mills, Va., and Jerry White and his wife, Elizabeth, of Morganfield, Ky.; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his mother and father, Shane was preceded in death by two brothers, Denver and Jerry Jones; a sister, Jane Baker; and his father- and mother-in-law, Barbee and Marie White.

A celebration of life service will be held at a later date.

Due to Shane’s condition in recent years, Jan and Darrell wish to bring awareness to the brain disorder Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) through the Shane Jones NPH Memorial Fund.

Memorial donations can also be made to Helping Funds, c/o: Denver United Methodist Church, 3910 Highway 16 North, P.O. Box 661, Denver, NC 28037.

Warlick Funeral Home in Lincolnton, NC, is in charge of the arrangements.

Corner of Elm and Second

He sees her every day at the corner of Elm and Second.

The following is the result of a writing prompt as part of the Pen to Paper Live sessions hosted each week by the Charlotte Lit organization. The sessions are free and held Tuesday mornings. You can register here.

Corner of Elm and Second

She never disappoints. She’s always there.

The U.S. Postal Service may well splash the words “through rain, sleet, hell or high water” the mail must go through. But in my world, it’s the lady on the porch who is as constant as the sun rising and the sun setting.

She’s there at the corner of Elm and Second streets, her house sitting perpendicular to the stop light that always seems to catch me, a road block to my morning rush.

I usually curse, looking at the dash, the clock showing me I’ve got 3 minutes to get somewhere that’s going to take me at least 15. And I sit. One hand fast-tapping a rhythmic beat on the steering wheel, keeping time with the wasted seconds, the other pushing the buttons on the radio, pulsing, rock music filling the cab of my 15-year-old Honda. 

I glance over and she’s there, often in a faded aqua blue house dress, her hair pulled tight in a severe bun, her gaze forward, where to I have no idea. In her wooden rocker, she methodically rises and falls, her feet flexing, hands and fingers still, except for a slight startle when a horn from the impatient driver of the black Suburban behind me sounds. 

It’s funny that I think of her when my boss hands me my pink slip later that day. “I warned you,” she says, watching as I clear my desk, tossing a calendar from the year before into a small box of my meager belongings. “You’ve got to show up to work on time.”

I think of the woman on the porch. And of time.

And I know that tonight when I inevitably stop at that intersection, there at the corner of Elm and Second, she’ll be there.  And I wonder if I will raise my hand and wave.

For there will be time.