It’s An Enchanting October… and I Need a Little Archibald Rutledge!

Hampton Plantation

Dear Reader:

When Archibald Rutledge returned home ( August-1937) to Hampton after a forty-four year absence… he was fifty-six… but driving up to his childhood home… he knew Something or Someone Bigger than himself was guiding him back to the land of hyacinth, camellias, and pine trees… his family plantation built by his Huguenot ancestors in the 1600’s.

Archibald Rutledge-First South Carolina Poet Laureate ( 1934-1973) Author of over 50 books and articles

By 1937 old southern deserted plantations were being gobbled up by northern millionaires. All Archie’s friends warned him against even attempting to retire and restore his beloved Hampton -he would go bankrupt. After all it was the Great Depression era. Archie knew they were probably right since he and the tenants willing to help him would be the rebuilders.. but he had always loved the expression… ” The difficult is what can be done now; the impossible, what can be done soon.”

What draws me to Archibald Rutledge is the beautiful simplistic spirituality he ingested as a youth in the pine tree woods of home… that he never lost until he drew his last breath, at 90, in the bed in which he was born.

” It takes solitude under the stars, for us to be reminded of our eternal origin and our fore-told destiny.”

Rutledge never forgot one experience, as a youth, driving a buggy home to the plantation around dusk.

” Suddenly inky darkness shrouded the world. I could not see the road ahead or behind. The thunder and lightning were appalling. Then it happened. A bolt struck a pine less than twenty feet from my buggy. My horse made a sudden dash and broke away through the forest. Running between two close pine trees … the terrified horse smashed both shafts and vanished in the howling darkness.”

Alone I was , defenseless, in profound darkness. I knew in a way where I was, and to locate myself the better I looked toward what I believed to be the West.”

” To my amazement I saw a small break in the storm, hardly bigger than my hand, in the very heart of which the evening star gleamed in a desert-silver solitude. In all the abrupt stillness-it shone serenely… telling my heart… ” This storm is an imposter. It is momentary. The sky is still here, and all the stars; all shall be well.”

Taking heart, Archie found his horse, mounted it and rode home reaching the house in full, calm starlight.

So until tomorrow… Archibald never forgot that celestial message and for the rest of his long life… stars filled him with a sense of God’s permanent presence in his life… never temporary …like a storm. Keep the faith… God is always with you behind every transitory storm encountered in life.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

My garden refuge from my storms

All my grandchildren’s maples are showing off this year!

Rutledge and Eva Cate’s gorgeous maples
Jake and Lachlan’s maples
Eloise’s maple might be small but her few leaves this season are beautiful!

The Turners are back from a long weekend at Disney World!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to It’s An Enchanting October… and I Need a Little Archibald Rutledge!

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love God’s messages…cute picture of John and kids…


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