Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blog-o-versary History Day

by Anita Mae Draper

Another Blog-o-versary! Yeehaaaaaaaawwwwwwww!!!

Three years ago I was invited to join a group of women who wanted to blog about two things we had in common - our faith and our writing journey. After much prayer, I joined Inkwell Inspirations and I've been blessed every day since.

Three weeks after Inktropolis went live, many of the Inkies met at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference at Denver 2009. That truly made the conference special since I hadn't met any of the Inkies prior to that point. All of our contact had been in a virtual world.

However, something else happened at the time which brings us back to today's post since it has to do with history. As Debra said yesterday, Tuesday will remain History days here at Inktropolis and Lisa has spent time designing a brand new blog header to introduce the day. Ready for the unveiling? Drum roll please...

And here's where the history part comes in... after Denver 2009 ended, I spent several days on a research trip while I meandered back to Saskatchewan. Several sights are still vivid in my memory, but nothing can equal the emotions I felt atop a windswept hill as I stood between the historic wheel ruts on the Oregon Trail. The experience triggered my creative side and before I reached home, the following poem had practically written itself. I originally posted it here on Sep 25, 2009, and now as we walk side-by-side into another year together, I want to take you back in time...

You Were By My Side

by Anita Mae Draper,  September 21st, 2009
based on the Oregon Trail Ruts, Guernsey, Wyoming

On a cold, windy September day
I climbed upon a hill
An aura of expectation filled me
yet time stood still
I usually don’t stray off the path
but this wasn’t a usual day
I couldn’t see from where I stood
so I walked the rest of the way
And peering over the weathered ledge
down where the wagons rolled
The trail was there for all to see
the pioneers of old
The limestone had been worn down
five feet deep in spots
From wagons loaded up with treasures
food and cooking pots
Just standing there wasn’t enough
I needed to feel it too
So I stepped down between the ruts
and you stepped down there, too

My eyes filled with tears that day
and like a babe I cried
But I was not alone up there
for you were by my side
Did you hear the grunt of straining men
who pulled upon the ropes?
Or pushed the wagons up the hill,
the incentive was their hopes?
Mothers and sisters trod along
making their own path
Wearing smooth the limestone rocks
and wishing for a bath

The laughter of children running about
as children often do
Not realizing history was being made
upon the hilltop, too
The wagon master cracks his whip
urges the team to go
No stopping ‘til the crest is reached
and then he hollers ‘Whoa!’
I hear it all like it was then,
I smell the sweat drift by
The harness brass is clinking,
a baby starts to cry
And as the sounds fade away
my tears begin to dry
The moment’s passed and I’m still here
atop the hill so high

So many years have passed since
the Oregon Trail was used
No hint of vandalism here
no proof it’s been abused
I thank the men in government
who let us wander here
Without the chains to cordon off
not even threat of deer
I wandered much upon that hill,
I even sat and sighed
But I wasn’t lonely there that day
for you were by my side.


To celebrate our Blog-o-versary,
we are giving away five prizes!
If you'd like to be in our drawing, please tell us in your comment and leave your email address (safely - that means don't use your full address with the @ sign, but be sneaky about it).

Giveaways include:
1. Winner's choice of any one Inky Ebook available on Amazon for Kindle
2. Winner's choice of one of these three: Letters in the Attic, A Key in the Attic, or In Honor Bound by DeAnna Julie Dodson
3. A $10.00 Starbucks gift card to one winner
4. A $10.00 Amazon gift card to one winner.
5. A copy of Cascades Christmas, Gina Welborn's newest release

That's FIVE winners!
Winners' names will be drawn at random from those entering by comment. Winners will be "first drawn equals first choice" and will be contacted after names are drawn Sunday, September 9th 2012.

Please remember - you can't win if you don't leave your email address.


  1. Very nice, Anita. Thank you for sharing again. :-)

  2. Happy Blogoversary, Inkies : )

    Wonderful poem, Anita Mae!

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  3. I'm glad you chose to resurrect your poem, Anita. Hard to believe it's been 3 years already!

  4. Very cool. Even better the second time!

  5. I admit I was and still am a bit envious of your opportunity to stand where history is so obvious AND to visit your book setting in such a way.

    Thanks for the lovely poem. It is wonderful!

    That Denver conference was unforgettable for me and meeting you was a very special part of it.

  6. That truly is a wonderful poem, Anita. It captures all your love of history and enthrallment of the area. Wow.

  7. Oh, Anita, I'm so glad you shared the poem again. Reading it this time I felt a deeper connection to the poem because I have a deeper connection with you now than I did three years ago. Love that!!! Your passion for history is contagious.

    And you're so right about meeting each other in person.

    Golly, Deb, how long did we know each other before we finally met in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this year? More than three years because we'd corresponded for more than that through me helping coordinate FHL-TBL contest and us both being in His Writers.

    Virginia, thanks for joining us in celebration!

  8. Such wonderful words, Anita! And I have to agree with Gina... I like it even more this time around because I can hear your heart in it now!

    One of these days I will get to meet you all in person, although at the rate things are going I might just have to get in the car and drive to each individual Inkie's house to do so! Hey. That might be fun.

  9. Wow! Got up at 7 and found 7 comments already.

    Thanks Suzie, and you're welcome. :)

  10. Hey thanks, Virginia. Glad you popped in today. And left your email address, too. :)

  11. Lisa, I know! It seems like I've known you all forever. And then I wonder what I did before Queen Cleopatra invited us to her court.

    Thanks for the nice words about my poem. :)

  12. Thanks, Dina - as a poet yourself, you'd know. And I have to agree with you because I changed two words that were out of sync with the rest. :D

  13. Ha ha. Maybe that's it. The rhythm seemed even stronger than I remembered.

  14. Debra, you know I was thinking about you when I was up there, eh. And if we're talking about envy... I sure would've liked to accompany you this past summer when you went to all the War of 1812 recreations and saw the tall ships, etc.

    About those Oregon Trail ruts... this past summer I posted about the Carlton Trail ruts made by all the Red River carts, and although the tracks are still noticeable, they're on the ground which has reverted back to prairie. (See 3rd photo from the bottom at Pushing My Limits.) You have to look real close to see them - even in the Touchwood Hills Park where the grass is mowed regularly to see them at all.

    But none of the Canadian trails challenge the aura and magnitude of those Oregon Trail pioneers.

  15. Thank you, Barb. I love how you phrased that.

    And although you weren't here for our 1st Blogoversary, I'm very glad you found your way to be with us for this one. :)

  16. Awh, that's sweet, Gina. Thank you.

    The ACFW conference holds a special place in my heart mostly because of the people. Writing conferences abound regionally, but only at ACFW can I meet and reconnect with so many who share my passions on the grand scale.

    And yes, Debra, that includes Denver 2009 since it's the only time I've seen you in the non-virtual world. Hopefully, I'll be blessed to see you again soon.

  17. Niki, your words are inspiring.

    Considering that I live closer to you than all the other Inkies, it's amazing that we haven't met. But then, can we count the Rockies as a barrier? I'm only a 2-3 day drive from you otherwise.

    We were so close in Denver!


  18. That was it, Dina. Every time I read or thought of it, I wished I had changed it. I didn't have to think twice this time so the words must've been in my subconscious all these years.

    I find that way with stories I've written, too. It may seem good at first, but over time, little things come back and I realize I should have written it differently.

    I thought to compare it to a house settling over time, but if you leave it, it falls apart.

    Better to compare it to a fine wine that ages, but gets better every year.

  19. Congrats ladies on three years.

    I've been here for each post (though not always commenting). I followed Anita Mae when she posted elsewhere about the Inkwell. Three years gone by in a blink - and a lifetime (i was pregnant with my little guy at the time y'all began this blog - he'll be three in oct)

    the poem is awesome Anita. so you too. you never cease to surprise me with your talent and how you share your love of history.

    i've thoroughly been blessed by the ladies of the Inkwell these past three years. one of these times I'll meet up with one of you. (probably Dina, since we both live in the same town/city)

    nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

  20. Great post, Anita. You know, this is one of your posts which stuck with me through the years--I was so struck by the photos and the poem when you first posted them, I never forgot them.

    I'm so glad I got to spend time with you and Suzie at RWA. And I saw Jen this summer, too! What a blessing!

  21. DebH, I've also been blessed by knowing you - even before you were pregnant when you were pondering your wedding plans. So long ago, eh.

    I hope I don't sound arrogant when I say I've always considered you in the front line of my fan club. One thing is sure - I count you as a valuable member of my team.

    So with Guppy being 3, is he going to Pre-School this year? I remember with Jess, she didn't like going to a sitter's when I worked day shift, but she didn't mind pre-school and even acted as if she was going someplace important, too. LOL She was so cute.

    Thank you for being here today. :)

  22. Thank you, Susie. Your words really touch me. And when you mentioned the pics, you reminded me that I never added them to Pinterest because there was no such thing back then. I think I'll head over right now and put them up. Maybe get some more promo bites for our Blogoversary week.

    I really enjoyed my time at RWA, too. Getting to meet you two was something I'd dreamed of for a long time. Getting to spend time with your fun-loving family was special, too. What a treat! And that reminds me that I must get some info together for your little guy while he's receptive to it. Ha!

  23. Although I've never seen the Oregon Trail itself, I often get that same feeling when I visit a historic place. My favorite family vacation was visiting PEI and walking the areas where Lucy Maude Montgomery lived...Rereading her books on that journey became so much richer.
    Thanks for the insights, Anita Mae. My email is dsks88 gmail dot com.


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.