By Nona Kelley Carver
Many years ago, when my husband and I owned and operated a dairy farm, I had been assisting him with field work. I jumped down from the high diesel tractor I was driving and twisted an ankle, tearing ligaments and doing damage that would plague me throughout my life. When the cast and crutches were finally put aside, it was back to business as usual. However, the weakened ankle would occasionally fail to hold in some unguarded moment, with the result being six weeks of crutches and pain.
In 1994, I stepped on an uneven place in a sidewalk and found myself in a rumpled lump on the cement. I was alone, four steps from my car. Somehow, I managed to get myself into the car and drive the twenty-five miles home. I pushed the button that activated the garage door opener and drove into the garage. I could not get out of the car. I had ruptured a small artery in the fall, and my ankle was already purple and twice the normal size. My faithful husband appeared and helped me to my bed. There he elevated and iced the injury and called my doctor. Examination showed no broken bones, but I must lie with the leg elevated for six weeks for the blood clots to dissolve. The level of pain was more than I could bear if I put my foot down. My husband brought food to the bed. My parents came and heated dinners I had previously prepared for their use and shared them with me at lunch time. My eldest son and daughter-in-law brought grandchildren to visit. My Pastor called. Friends brought gifts of cheer, food and encouragement. I prayed for strength and wisdom.
It was during this time that little bits of poetry began forming in my mind. I was in too much pain to sleep, and unable to do anything else, so I began writing the poems down as I received inspiration. I truly believe it was God's gift to me to help me through a difficult time. I had written a few pieces of poetry prior to this, but very little. I had no professional training, and had never been instructed on "How to Write Poetry." It just came, and I wrote it down. By the time I could sit up comfortably again, I began drawing cartoons to illustrate my work. I had enough material for two small books. I went to the local library and began study of current copyright law, and laid the ground work for Carver Country Poetry. Mr. Jack Hart of PrintMasters in Grand Jct. CO assisted me in choosing a format and printing my books. The Tarnish on the Golden years, a spoof on Wrinkles, Retirement and Rotten Memory was my first book. Cowboy Poetry, Cowboys Cookstoves and Catastrophies and Carver Country Cowboys came later. My CarverCards, poems in greeting card form, helped pay for publishing the books, and gave me an outlet for the material written to share my faith with family and friends. Writing and reciting Cowboy poetry added to the variety of subjects and opened new doors. I continue to be amazed by the volume of work that has proved to be both a blessing and a challenge.
Questions remain unanswered in my mind. Why did God choose to wait until I was a grandmother before letting me know I could write? Had I just been too caught up in the busyness of everyday life to listen to His instruction? Truly, I needed time to learn from a lifetime of experience. Would I have the physical strength to carry out the plans He let form in my mind? Would my lack of formal education undermine my confidence? Would laughter and tears come at the appropriate places? Could my work find a place in the hearts of my readers? Would God use it to lift the load of others and lighten their days with laughter? I believe He can. It is because of this belief that I share my poetry with you.