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Showing posts from December, 2018

The Major's Wife

The Major’s Wife pgallaher copyright@2018             The road north of Wilmot is a treacherous two-lane that climbs and dips through miles of tree farms. I remember how it was before the tree farms, each season more flamboyant than the last. In summer the rhododendrons bloomed and it looked like the woods were festooned with huge pink bows. In fall the hills and valleys shimmered in the sunlight, ablaze with red and orange. That was before the paper company bought up the timberland, leveled the hardwoods, and planted fast-growing pines. Then construction started on the new highway. It all happened about the time the major and his wife came to Wilmot, winding down the two-lane in their blue Mustang.             The road frames my memories of it all.             I was a straight-B student and cheerleader, in love with Joel Rayburn. Joel’s brother left for Vietnam that spring. Joel and I still talked on the phone when he came in from spring practice, but he’d started cutting


Storyteller pgallaher copyright@2018 In the years before he died  (one month short of ninety-nine) Grandaddy used to comment how   “the world has changed too awful much.” Born in the nineteenth century  he had uncles who fought for the South dragged their mangled bodies home,  haunted by Shiloh , they lived to tell.    Grandaddy recalled their tales to us,  Uncle Eli saved by an Indian, Grandaddy’s mother was Cherokee, h e liked stories where the Indians prevailed. Blind for decades, he knew  our voices, knew our faces, our hands. With crippled fingers, he dialed the phone, talked  with a young friend, eighty. Long bare of teeth, his sunken mouth  etched in permanent contentment, he recalled the snake bite when he was five,  showed his stick leg, his gnarled foot. Told how an aeroplane traversed the skies  ‘long about nineteen ten , and Riley, the little-bit-crazy brother, cried,  “Go back, Jesus!   Don’t take me yet!” Grandaddy listened to


                My dreams are troubled by death and dying at Tellico Lake.   I dream of Jill Moscone’s spirit hovering above the waters and of the bones of my ancestors that the waters cover.  I dream about the contaminated fish.  The lake has lived up to its name.  The Cherokee call it the Lake of Tears.                               Roger Beaumont brought me his newspaper.  “Hey, Danny, you need to see this piece on Jill Moscone,” he said, slapping the paper on the counter in front of me.  The Messenger is one of those weeklies that is so thin on real news, a fiddling contest makes the front page.  It’s big on advice from the agricultural extension agents, and wedding photos and fillers that remind readers to Go to church Sunday or Read a book!!   Roger was surprised I didn’t subscribe.  “It’s how I keep up with everybody from high school,” he said.  Like I  The  Loudon County Messenger  ran a piece about Jill Moscone last week.     Fifteen years ago the sevente