Photo by Beverly Guthrie Lougher '58  2001

REFLECTIONS ON R.G.N.S.

The eternal beauty of the Blue Ridge hills 
Surrounds and enhances Hodgson Hall. 
Oak-shadowed grass slopes away 
Toward rooms that have sheltered 
Young lives of varied backgrounds. 
Outlying farm buildings speak of 
Hard times past when 
Having food meant being rich. 
Tracts of the good earth, 
Small white homes, 
Classroom studies, 
Field-hand work ethics, 
All a part of the vision of 
Andrew Jackson Ritchie. 

The reality of need: 
Young minds and bodies 
Withering from lack of nourishment, 
Families gripped in poverty's bonds, 
Family remnants shattered by cruelty, 
Drunkenness, meanness, apathy, 
Selfishness, disaster, death. 
Boys and girls desperately searching 
For someone to care. 
Proud men and women desperately searching 
For an opportunity. 


Photo by J. Harold Thrumond '60  2001

The vision progresses: 
Mountain-folk reading, writing, dreaming. 
Outsiders joining in, earning their keep, 
Learning their hearts and minds. 
Some loving it all, 
Some hating it all.
People falling in love with a way of life, 
People falling in love with other people. 
People making a living, 
People making friends. 
People never met before, 
People never met again. 
People seldom seen, 
People always seen, 
Students, Teachers, 
Farmers, Presidents. 
All a part of the vision. 

The vision endures: 
A vision of lives shaped 
By hard work and prayer. 
Useful, fruitful lives, 
Dedicated, happy lives. 
Many have made the vision a reality, 
Some have not. 
Perfect? 
No. 
Effective? 
Yes. 
Still the needs exist, 
Opportunities are sought, 
Lives cry out, 
And the vision endures. 


Photo by Dale Denham Shaffield '59  2001
 
 

Copyright 2001 
J. Harold Thurmond 

 


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