Williamsburg Hill

Williamsburg Hill

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Boxing Day

(The following source is credited to the Farmers' Almanac.)
"Each year, on December 26th, several countries around the world celebrate a holiday known as Boxing Day. It is officially recognized in Commonwealth countries (places like the United Kingdom, Australia, and our neighbors to the north, Canada). Americans see this holiday on the calendars, but few know what Boxing Day represents.
In fact, even though this holiday has been officially recognized in the UK and Canada since 1871, many of the people who celebrate it each year are unclear on what it means or how it came about. 

Good King Wenceslas

The traditional Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” tells the story of one of the possible origins of Boxing Day. The events of this carol take place on December 26th, which also happens to be the Feast of St. Stephen. In the song, Wenceslas, a 10th century Duke of Bohemia, sees a poor man and he decides to help this man. The Duke enlists the help of his page in gathering food, wine, and firewood, boxing it all up so that they can take it to the peasant. Then, Wenceslas and his page brave a blizzard to deliver the boxes of goods.
Legend holds that Wenceslas’ actions started a tradition in which churchgoers would donate money during the Advent. Then, on the day after Christmas, the boxes of money would be broken open and distributed among the poor. After decades of carrying out this (un)boxing tradition, December 26 became known as Boxing Day.

Employee Bonus Day?

Another tradition says that it originates from the practice of the aristocracy giving their employees bonuses and presents on the day after Christmas. As the stories go, employees would take their boxes home and open them up with their families, hence Boxing Day.

What We Do Know About Boxing Day

We may not know precisely how this holiday came to be, but we do know one thing: The first recorded mention of Boxing Day comes from a 1830s version of the Oxford English Dictionary. The definition given is “The first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box.
In other words, according to this definition, Boxing Day is a day to recognize all the service people in your life by leaving them Christmas presents. This year, if you want to celebrate Boxing Day the right way, make sure to leave a box of goodies for delivery people, the sanitation worker, and all the other people that make life easier for everyone."

(Per the Farmers' Almanac)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Fourth Annual Mid-South Arts Against Hunger Food Drive

It's that time of year again. The fourth annual Mid-South Arts Against Hunger Food Drive (benefiting the Mid-South Food Bank) will begin November 18 and run until December 13, 2019.  Last year, over 4,600 pounds of food was donated.

This event is close to my heart and I'm very proud of how well it has been received in the Memphis area. Some of the arts organizations participating this year include the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Brooks Museum, Ballet Memphis, Opera Memphis, Arts Memphis, Theatre Memphis, Playhouse on the Square, Blues Foundation & Blues Hall of Fame, and the Orpheum Theatre & Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts & Education. 

Collection boxes will be at all of the locations, so if you're in the mid-south area and attend an event at one of these organizations please consider donating some non-perishable food items. Many of the groups offer free admission for donations, as well.

Many thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

End of October

Much has happened in the last month.  The biggest being that my first grandchild was born, and I’m experiencing apartment living in Colorado for a few months so that I might help my daughter and bond some with her new little girl.  I haven’t lived in an apartment in, well, a very long time.  Fortunately, my dog is with me, which has been the greatest adjustment.  I should write a blog post about that one, which I probably will at some point…try using a Gentle Lead/halter on an eleven-year-old dog that’s never had the need for one. It hasn’t been easy but it’s working. 
It’s also snowing.  Having moved to Memphis nearly four years ago from Chicago, I’ve missed the snow, so I’ve gotten my fill of it through four separate snow events in the last month.  But it’s been cold, as well.  Too cold.  Come on back, autumn temps…I’m ready!
Research on the Suffrage Movement
The stay has allowed me to focus on writing a play that I’ve been working on for a while.  In celebration of the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment being ratified, it’s a play about how women earned the right to vote.  One Act, Two Scenes, Four Characters (three historical/one fictional).  I’ve been promised a staged reading, which has been the best motivation for completing it.  It’s coming along.
Also, when you have a new grandchild, fires tend to get lit under your feet and things happen that you’ve been planning for years.  My husband and I are in the process of buying a second home here in Colorado.  Will share more when the closing happens. 
New work on Fine Art America 
Finally, worth repeating, please visit my website www.veronicabatterson.com, my photography site www.veronica-batterson.pixels.com (Fine Art America), and this blog for new work and updates. Looking for fall reads?  Williamsburg Hill is waiting for you to check it out on Amazon. 
I’ll end this blog post and month with the lyrics to one of Dan Fogelberg’s songs, Old Tennessee…appropriate and kind of where I took the title of this post, even if it is actually the end of October. 

Old Tennessee
By Dan Fogelberg

End of October
The sleepy brown woods seem to
Nod down their heads to the Winter
Yellows and grays
Paint the sad skies today
And I wonder when
You're coming home

Woke up one morning
The wind through the window
Reminded me Winter
Was just 'round the bend
Somehow I just didn't
See it was coming
It took me by surprise again

And I hear you're in San Francisco
Living with your sister who's a mother to be
And her husband's way down in Georgia
And I'm still in old Tennessee...
Wishing you'd come home to me

Life here is easy
I'm sure you recall
How it's so warm and breezy
In the Summer and the Fall
But Winter's upon me
And I've got no heat here
And I miss your fire so sweet, Dear
I miss your fire so sweet

And I hear you're in San Francisco
Living with your sister who's a mother to be
And her husband's way down in Georgia
And I'm still in old Tennessee...
Wishing you'd come home to me

End of October
The sleepy brown woods seem to
Nod down their heads to the Winter
Yellows and gray
Paint the sad skies today
And I wonder when
You're coming home
I wonder when you're coming home

Monday, September 30, 2019


Baraboo, Wisconsin
This is the closest I've been to missing my deadline. I've maintained this blog for several years and have always made at least one post per month, which has been a goal I set for myself. But here I am, the last day of September 2019, sliding in with a big sigh of "that was close."

Tomorrow starts October, which I've always viewed as the beginning of autumn even though the calendar states otherwise. Some areas of the country are still battling summer heat, but I'm currently in Colorado and hope to enjoy some cooler temperatures and pretty color for a bit.

Below are some quotes and poems referencing my favorite season. I included one of my own from a short story called Precipice which I shared here recently.

Baraboo, Wisconsin
Here's to apple orchards, pumpkin patches, seeing your breath on the air, hearing the crisp crunch of fallen leaves under your feet, and of course to glorious color everywhere. Happy harvest, all!

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." - Stanley Horowitz

"October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter." - Nova Bair

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus

"Summer ends, and autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night." - Hal Borland

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." - Elizabeth Lawrence

"Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow."
(Author Unknown)

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." - George Eliot

"Come said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o're the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold."
(A Children's Song of the 1880s)

"The meadow opened before her like welcoming arms ready to embrace, its colors beginning to alter as autumn waits patiently to paint the landscape with rich hues of yellows and reds. Wildflowers and wheat fields swayed on the horizon, defying the inevitable change as if crying, 'not yet, not yet' but gradually all would bow and sleep; the palette of fall would insure it." - Veronica Randolph Batterson (Precipice)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

New Photos and Updates

I've added some new photographs from a recent vacation in California to my Fine Art America and Pixels sites, and will continue to do so as I go through all of them. Below are screenshots of some of the images, while the higher resolution ones can be viewed at www.veronica-batterson.pixels.com.

If you're in the Memphis area, stop by Palladio Interiors where a number of my prints are on display and you'll find all of them for sale. Also, a reminder that if you're looking for a late summer read, my book, Williamsburg Hill is available via Amazon and select bookstores (in paperback and Kindle versions).

Writing updates: the play that I've been working on is about the Suffragist movement in the United States, tentatively titled Silent Sentinels and is a three character piece of work thus far. Since the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment being ratified is next summer, finishing in a timely manner is key.  I've been promised a staged reading of it, so it would be nice to coordinate that around the anniversary.

Also, research on the next book has rooted itself in (where else?) a cemetery.  Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis provided a light bulb moment for me when visiting a few months ago.  I can only add at this point it will center around the Yellow Fever epidemic that hit Memphis in 1878 and Martyrs Park.  Writing will begin once I finish the play.  I shared a story that I was working on some time ago about a Scottish singer finding a long lost love...that book is on the back burner right now.  It's good to have ideas for future projects though, and it will definitely get finished at some point.

A new travel blog post will be coming in the next week or two. Thanks to all who continue to support my work, and don't forget to check out my website at www.veronicabatterson.com.

Lake Tahoe, CA
Inverness, CA

San Francisco

Sea Otter - Monterey Bay, California 

Morro Rock- Morro Bay, California

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


I haven't shared a short story in quite some time, and I'm happy I finally finished this one, entitled Precipice. Thanks to all who take the time to read things I post here. As always, copyright applies.

By Veronica Randolph Batterson
©Veronica Randolph Batterson

She ran.  The meadow opened before her like welcoming arms ready to embrace, its colors beginning to alter as autumn waited patiently to paint the landscape with rich hues of yellows and reds.  Wildflowers and wheat fields swayed on the horizon, defying the inevitable change as if crying, “not yet, not yet” but gradually all would bow and sleep; the palette of fall would insure it.  The air was clean and she breathed deeply; she heard nothing but her own breaths and the inner turmoil that raged inside her head.
The image of her daughter strapped to a gurney and being rushed down a hospital corridor replayed, as it had done repeatedly for the last year.  Had it been a year?  The rawness of it made it seem like yesterday, and she wondered if it would ever ease.  The helplessness, anger and hopelessness vying to take over her life consumed her days.  Sleep had become her only release, yet even that small amount of deliverance was slipping from her grasp.  Her daily actions were no longer dictated by the hours on a clock, as somehow time slipped past without her knowing how.  Forgetfulness.
A dance of leaves just to her right made her turn, and she watched a hawk take flight from the branch of a nearby tree, soaring upward then dipping low in search of unsuspecting prey.  Its wings spread wide against the sky made her think of freedom for some reason; she envied and wished for that feeling within herself, of simply letting go and gliding, feeling nothing but peace.
“I can do it,” her daughter had beamed, when at age five she pedaled off on the tiny bicycle, minus the training wheels, wobbling down the driveway. 
“You did, you did!” she had exclaimed in response, clapping her hands with encouragement, yet fearful her little girl would crash before stopping.
“Mommy, why are you crying?” the child turned, looking over her shoulder after braking beautifully, with one foot balanced on the ground.
“Oh, just happy tears,” she replied, wiping one from her face with the back of hand.
“That’s silly,” her daughter laughed as she took off again, racing along the front sidewalk.
She’d give anything to shed those silly tears again.  Twenty years later, the tears were gut-wrenching and unrestrained, inevitably evolving into sobs at the slightest thing, smell, sound or memory.  Happiness wasn’t the source. 
“Mom,” the whine came followed by six sets of giggles underneath multi-colored sleeping bags strewn across the family room floor.
“That’s my name,” she’d replied in an attempt to sound cool to her newly-minted teenaged daughter, rather than reflecting her annoyance that the sleepover party wouldn’t settle for the night.
“You don’t have to be in here with us,” her daughter said, followed by the eye roll that came with turning thirteen.  A habit that nearly drove her crazy for years.
“I do as long as you don’t sleep. Early morning for the rest of the house,” she had said, hunkering down and crossing her arms.
And she had stayed until each rebellious little body gave itself up to the night.
The wind picked up, drawing her from the memories.  All she had to do was walk a few yards and let go, removing the pain of no one else understanding.  Time doesn’t ease anything; this too does not pass.  Forget closure and healing.  The door of unanswered questions remains open, bearing down and squeezing your heart and brain so tightly that reason and logic disappear; the ability to simply function is too great to handle because the only person with the answers is gone.
“Here, I made this for you,” her daughter had said, as she slipped the mixed compact disc into the car CD player for the two-hour drive.
“Who is it?” she had asked, hands on the steering wheel.  Empty nester, freshman college drop-off and an SUV packed to the gills with things her daughter had to have for the new dorm room vied to make her into an emotional mess, but determination to stay strong was winning the battle.
“Taylor Swift,” came her daughter’s reply, with the slightest lilt to a voice betraying her youngest child’s struggle to remain strong as well.
“What’s it called?”
“Just listen.”

I'm five years old
It's getting cold
I've got my big coat on

I hear your laugh
And look up smiling at you
I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch
And the tractor rides
Look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs
And fall asleep on the way home

I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you're not scared of anything at all
Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today

I'm thirteen now
And don't know how
My friends could be so mean
I come home crying
And you hold me tight
And grab the keys

And we drive and drive
Until we find a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop
'Till I’ve forgotten all their names

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
But I know I'm laughing
On the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today

I have an excellent father
His strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
Inside and out he's better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house
And I've got space to run and hide
And I had the best days with you

There is a video I found
From back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen
And you're talking to me
It's the age of princesses and pirate ships
And the seven dwarfs
And Daddy's smart
And you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

And now I know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side
Even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
Staying back and watching me shine

And, I didn't know if you knew
So I'm taking this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today.

They had driven in silence when the song ended, and suddenly her daughter said, “I love you, Mom.”
“I love you, too,” she replied.  With that sweet, wonderful song called ‘The Best Day’ the daughter had confirmed her mom had done it right.  With all the imperfections and even despite them, perhaps she had done okay.
She looked over her shoulder and there the car waited, ready to take her back to life without a daughter.  But standing before her release beckoned, beyond the precipice a wide-open space offered flight and quick relief; the turmoil within would be over and freedom would be hers.  Peace.
A gust of wind, a shadow across the rocks from the trees as the leaves rustled, then she heard it.  Faint but clear, meant for her ears only.
“I love you, Mom.”
“I love you, too,” she replied, the words a breath, carried away from her lips toward the memory that was now her daughter.
She sighed and looked up one last time, then turned her back on the precipice that offered no answers.  The car was waiting.

©Veronica Randolph Batterson