Our Readers Write

ince this column first made its appearance in The Almanack decades ago, our readers have never let us down and have always provided us with a wealth of original poetry, along with some pretty good jokes, personal anecdotes, and quotes of inspiration. We continue to encourage everyone to consider submitting and we stand by our commitment to publish each and every one of them!

No doubt, our most prolific contributor over the years is Ruby Braithwaite from Hagerstown, Maryland. is with heavy heart that we write of the passing of long-time contributor and dear, dear friend, Ruby Braithwaite, of Hagerstown, Maryland. After suffering many health issues and a recent fall, Ruby died peacefully in her sleep on December 28, 2020. For decades, since OUR READERS WRITE column first made its appearance in the 70s, Ruby was there, offering some of her most vividly descriptive, original poetry. and stories of her childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains  Even when dealing with her health issues, she made sure that her daughter, Shelia Boyer, sent us something for the upcoming issue. She wrote The Almanack often, not only sharing her poems, but also telling stories from her childhood, many of which were simply hilarious.

   Ruby encouraged her equally-talented sister, Gwendolyn Ridenour from Sabillasville, Maryland to contribute some of her poetry to the column and it was always a special pleasure to include the two sisters’ wotk together side-by-side! Sadly, when Sheila wrote to tell of us of Ruby’s passing, she also told us of Grwendolyn’s passing on January 9, 2021 of COVID-19. 

     We will sorely miss these two talented sisters and their many contributions over the many years. This page is dedicated to some of Ruby’s and Gwendolyn’s best works. 

Who is this winter fairy who designs my window pane,
With fern leaves, veins and dainty etchings,
In frosty ink so delicate and fine,
That to my young eyes are so fetching.

Mother Nature draws these icy designs,
Then in the summer days, in by-gone days,
She will bring to life her frosty etchings
In emerald, rose and azure under the sun’s golden rays.

On the warm hillside, after the snow,
There do the beautiful violets grow.
Hiding their modest, enchanting heads,
In the dry grass on soft mossy beds.
Sweet as the roses, blue as sky,
There do they nestle, timid anf shy.
Yet their sweet, they do not keep quiet,
Their odor reveals where they hide from our sight.
Winter is coming
Soon will be here
Now don’t get weepy
Or shed a big tear
If the snow is light
We’ll breathe a sigh of relief
If heavier than ten inches
We will probably all weep
But keep this in mind
As the days come and go
The sun has the power to melt all the snow
Then up through the ground
Come the beautiful buds
To bring us gorgeous flowers
From out of the mud
To brighten our lives
Through Spring and Summer
Instead of it being a bummer
This Winter it’s been snows, snows, snows,
We wonder why when only God knows
It’s beautiful to look at,
But so hard to push
It’s everywhere this year
So the people rush and rush
To try and get where they are going,
Whether it’s nearby or far
Going by bus, cab, or maybe by car!
We have to be patient
Don’t worry or fret.
There’s more Winter to come
It’s not over yet.
But glad will be the day
When the sun shines bright
Melts all the snow,
Much to our delight!
Then the flowers will come,
Peeping through the snow.
Much to our delight.
Not a snowflake in sight.
Then our heads bowed in prayer
Know our Lord is always there. 

When the purple lilac blooms by my cabin,
And the perfume of honeysuckle filled the air,
God has then touched the earth with His glory,
its beauty is seen everywhere.
The trailing arbutus by a fast rushing stream,
The white May apple so graceful and tall.
pink larkspur, purple violets, and shy yellow buttercups,
Little Dutchman breeches, the prize of them all.
Under the flowering branch of the spicewood,
As children through the fiddler-head ferns we would run,
Our toes printing in the mud by the mill stream,
Laughing in the joy of childhood fun.
These scenes live now only in memory,
The streaked pages of time has now turned,
My life as a child in the Blue Ridge Mountain
Now in old age, I so often yean. 

In heaven, God waits patiently
For the people of the world
To end their wickedness and strife
And lead a much better life
To help the poor and needy people
Who need food and clothing each day
Some too ill to get a job
And then no money to pay.
They go from home to home
Borrowing what they really need
Knowing they have no way to repay
At the close of each and every day
Others have food they throw away
What a terrible waste
When the hungry and sick cold use the food
They then do without with Grace. 


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