A few years ago while attending a writer’s conference in Calhoun, Georgia, I met the ever-so-vivacious, Renea Winchester. I quickly learned that Renea is a writing dynamo, composing stories and books that appeal to me on a very personal level. I devoured her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes, and upon reading the last page, jumped up from the comfort of my recliner and blurted out, “Bravo, Renea, Bravo!”
So, when I began my journey of collecting keepsake stories from my small network of friends, family members, and other writers, I called on her. I knew that if Renea could find time in her busy schedule to contribute a story to the project, that her story would wow me. And as expected, I was wowed.
Renea’s story is Project Keepsake perfection. Her words embody the essence of the project—that the items we keep hold deep, powerful memories. We keep things to help us remember.
She wrote about a pocket knife—an heirloom from her uncle. Renea revealed the origin, the history, and the memories associated with the blade. Renea’s story titled, “Uncle James’ Pocket Knife,” begins on page 10 of the book. Here’s a short excerpt from her masterpiece.
Most recently, Renea released Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches (Mercer University Press), another rollicking read brimming with stories of life, love, and connections. Like her first literary work, the beloved Billy Albertson is front and center. Renea shares bits and pieces of her days spent with Billy and the interesting parade of friends, family, and neighbors who frequent Billy’s urban farm.
She also fuses dozens of Southern-inspired recipes into her stories. Readers learn the magic of pouring a small bag of Lance peanuts into a bottle of ice-cold Coca-Cola—a delicacy that took me back in time to my childhood. Cream-style corn. Microwaved Moon Pies. Buttermilk biscuits. She included so many Southern favorites and all are meticulously woven into her narratives.
Thank you, Renea! Thank you for contributing your keepsake story to Project Keepsake. Thank you for being the voice of encouragement during the low points of my publishing journey—your friendship and candor sustained me. Most of all, thank you for your books that are as radiant as you are—shining a light on the things in life that are most important.
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