“A Needy Reign” by Calvin Dark (North Carolina Folklore Journal)

In the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the North Carolina Folklore Journal, Calvin Dark’s historical fiction short story about his Aunt Janie was published.

An excerpt from the short story and the link to the full story are below:

“On that summer day when Aunt Janie was born Great-Grandma Maggie said we got a needy rain. Needy for the tomatoes and beans that were frightfully dry. Needy for the grazing creatures whose parched throats were not satisfied by the water we provided. We, who toiled in the life-giving ground of the old home place, rejoiced because such a rain was needy.

As Aunt Janie grew, she did exactly for the old home place what the needy rain did for the dry ground and parched throats. She had a way of bringing new life and new hope to folks who felt the toil of the years heavy on their shoulders. So, you know that it hit us mighty hard when Aunt Janie (who was “just a handful of fortnights a woman,” according to Great-Grandma Maggie) said that she wanted to leave the old home place and live in New York City.

Well, the old folks threw up their hands and bombarded Aunt Janie with the Gospel Truth about New York City, or, as the Prophet Ezekiel more aptly referred to it, the valley of dry bones. They said that the air reeked of ashes and sulfur and its wide boulevards were paved with sin and laden with strife. And its poor inhabitants, whose lot it was to travel that hopeless highway, were pitiful, sinful creatures who grazed ignorantly on a dead, desolate hill.”

Click the link for the full short story -> ncfj_wcvrcdark_mar2019.pdf