Poetry ~ Shine

as a child born to the low country 
of South Carolina,

it was a well known fact
that the swelter of summer
caused women to glow,
men to sweat,
and a scant few
we’re said to shine

efforts to ward off
glowing, sweating, or
shining we’re met in earnest 

seasoning was discouraged 

retreat into the cold 
conditioned air
was remedy enough

the cure conjured
~ brain freeze

now, as an elder of the
northern highlands, 
in the dry heat of late summer, 

i prefer to season
and conjure up
my shine

Poetry ~ The Summit

one day, i will summit the mountain
after i finish climbing this hill
i will traverse the river valley
where the waters run still

one day, i will summit the mountain
on a full sturgeon moon at Lamas
and cast shadows in the high grass
knowing i have fulfilled my promise

one day, i will summit the mountain
with a new perspective and a clear view
when my life below the mountain has passed
on the summit my life begins anew
This poem is dedicated to my brother. Todd, who left this world too soon. I will see you on the mountain, Bubba

	

Memoir: Chaney

In 1950, Chaney arrived at the
grand-old house on Hampton Street,
deep in the low-country of South Carolina,
to work for my great-grandmother.

In 1960, when my twin sister and I arrived,
our great-grandmother sent Chaney
next door to our grandparent's
home to care for us. 

And there Chaney remained,
year after year.  She cooked
and cleaned and fussed over us as
if we were her own.

She was family and we loved her.

Chaney hummed when she ironed
and starched the sheets.
She made a savory macaroni pie
and perfectly sweet iced tea.

She called me "Miss Suzy."
I simply knew her as "Chaney."
I never knew her last name.
No one did.
Mama said, "No one thought to ask."

And therein lies the pickle of my Southern roots. 
Chaney M. Gruber 1903 – 1975
Digital Art by Sue Viseth
In memory of Chaney, I found her last name by searching the cemetery directory of my hometown. She passed when I was a teenager, but I never knew her age. She will forever be timeless to me.