Big Canoe Writers Words and Wit for the Ages
Browsing all posts in: Non-fiction

Full Circle

February 29
by Jim Smith

There are few of us for whom a particular plant does not evoke special memories. My memory was so touched recently as I sorted through a box of old forgotten books. There in that treasure trove was the first acquisition in my early library of nature and wild plants books. It was a U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin published in 1930 – American Medicinal Plants of Commercial Importance.

Tucked insiindian turnip root for bcwgde was a 1939 price list from Elliot Richard, a wholesale botanical druggist of my youthful acquaintance. Among the prices of “…roots, barks, herbs in clean whole sacks delivered…” was listed Indian turnip root at $0.40 per pound. By any other name, this is Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum.)

At the end of the depression, earning 40 cents per pound for anything sounded like a windfall. For a kid who knew where the Indian turnip grew in some abundance, it seemed like nothing less than Read the rest of this entry »

I believe in music

November 18
by Anita Rosen

I believe music lends beauty and solemnity to otherwise mundane occasions. I believe music has the power to unify diverse populations: Observe the effect of the 1812 Overture every Fourth of July on the Boston Esplanade or the singing of our national anthem anywhere, anytime. One need experience only once the swell and passion of Handel’s Messiah to understand the power of music.

Music always has been here. Well before Guttenberg tinkered with his printing press, humans were telling their stories through cadenced chanting. Read the rest of this entry »

College Days Part Two: Hospital 101

March 11
by Bill Booth


In the spring of 1960, getting out of bed at 4 AM became routine and somehow didn’t even feel unusual.  The clatter of a Big Ben by my bedside startled me daily from deep sleep, and I learned not to use the snooze control. I had a job as an assistant laboratory technician at the newly opened CharityHospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Starting my second-semester as a Pre-Vet major at McNeese State College, my early morning responsibility was to collect blood samples for lab tests on all the wards in the Hospital..

Entering the multi-bed wards before daylight, I routinely announced at the doors, “Hello, your morning sunshine is here,” to arouse the patients before I checked names on their arm bracelets. “Time to rise and shine.” Read the rest of this entry »

Clayton Fain’s Last Ride

March 5
by Travis H. McDaniel
Clayton Fain's grave marker

The author at Clayton Fain’s grave marker in the Hiwassee Cemetery, Ducktown, Tennessee.

My eyes strain to locate the marker as I pick my way through an overgrown thicket of briers, vines and saplings. An earthy odor fills my nostrils, and I begin to wonder if I have correctly followed directions. Finally, I make out what appears to be the object of my quest.

Scrambling on my hands and knees through the final 20 yards of tangled vegetation, I reach a gravestone well-camouflaged by vines and privet. A feeling of melancholy settles over me as I realize in all probability nobody has visited this gravesite since placement of the military marker here in 1974. Read the rest of this entry »

Jayne Beske

April 11
by admin

Jayne Beske

Members of the Big Canoe Writers are saddened by the loss of  Jayne Beske. Since 2002 she has been a steadfast member the Writers Group and keeper of our scrapbook.  Jayne wrote sensitive nature poetry and enthusiastic narratives of her travels.

Jayne died at age 72, after a long and heroic battle with cancer on March 24, 2013.  She was born  and raised in Minnesota and received a B.S. in nursing from the University of Minnesota.  She and Alan met at the university and she worked as a nurse while he completed graduate school.  Jayne and Alan lived in numerous states due to corporate transfers, and relocated to Roswell, Georgia, in 1984.  They moved to Big Canoe in 2002. Read the rest of this entry »

A Step Back In Time

March 5
by Ken Reynolds

Atlanta Book Exchange

The exterior of the Atlanta Book Exchange belies the treasure waiting inside. From a cramped parking area barely visible steps lead to an enclosed porch that functions as storage and display of a few-less-than valuable books. But, passing into the main shop reveals something akin to paradise.
Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas at Nana’s

June 12
by Vivian Sheperis

Christmas at Nana’s in the South Bronx was no Currier and Ives holiday print. Driving a drafty Ford over the Triborough Bridge was not a jingle bell experience. Mother tried to warm up Dad and me, singing her rendition of Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go. It was 1951. I was seven and old enough to know the song was meant for a sleigh ride. Below us, the East River raced through the narrows to dump its load into the mouth of the Hudson.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dining In

May 5
by Max Beardslee

The United States Air Force has a policy of offering a formal dining engagement for all of its officers on a periodic basis. Not alone here, all branches of the service have a similar policy. The Navy also calls theirs Dining In, the Army refers to the occasion as Regimental Dinner, the Marines and Coast Guard, Mess Night.
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As the Mist Resembles Rain

February 1
by admin

by Fred Shaw

In this collection of stories we find the world’s smartest dog that has senses not understood—he’s also a killer. We find a mother who carries a seventy year grudge against her son to her grave, a beating that takes more than twelve years to revenge, a one-legged Vietnam vet intent on murder and an eight year old boy frightened by a thunderstorm and…a memoir on the author’s survival from a rare cancer.

This varied mix of short stories contains pieces of the author’s life. The pieces, however, are not portraits but snapshots. Fred Shaw tells these in a style that is straightforward with little adornment, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks where needed.

There is truth and there is fiction. Fred seeks truth in the reaction of the characters to guilt, greed and the many pitfalls of the human condition created by his fictional settings. Several of the stories are memoirs whose truth is blurred by time but nonetheless still seek the actual, true response to a situation.

Order As the Mist Resembles Rain Online »»
Read about Fred on the Writer’s Bios Page