One Night While I was in Wales...
a ghost story
gan/by Merch Llinos
One night while I was in Wales, I was staying at my aunt's farm out in the country, and she and my cousins were reminiscing and enjoying a cup of tea. We had eaten an excellent dinner, and were relaxing now. As we were discussing whether to have yet another cuppa, the door burst open and my 15 year old cousin Arfon came hurling in. He was very pale and agitated, and was obviosly extremely scared of something. He collapsed into a chair, while my aunt tried to calm him down and find out what happened to him. When he had recovered sufficently he told us his story. Apparently, on his way home from visiting his pal, who lived on a neighboring farm, he had to pass an old quarry. He didn't care for this place at all, but it was a real short cut to his home, so he did travel this way now and again. As he went by, curiosity made him look over, and on a low ledge he saw a sight that made his heart sink within him AND HIS WHOLE BODY SHAKE WITH FEAR...There stood a ghost, mirroring the whiteness of Arfon's face. He couldn't move, So he just stood still, watching the figure on the ledge. Suddenly in the dim light, he saw that it was dividing itself into three parts!!! He unfroze and with a loud scream, he ran like a racehorse from the spot. As he ran he could hear a loud harsh call coming from the ghost. He didn't stop running 'til he reached the house!
While we all fussed over him, we tried to convince him that he must have imagined the whole thing. And the eerie scream he heard could easily been that of a rabit or another wild animal caught in a trap. He vehemently protested that his story was true. His sister, Gwenda< a down to earth country girl, was already half way out the doorto go and see for herself what it was all about. She proclaimed loudly she did not believe in ghosts! We persuaded her to wait for all of us, minus Arfon of course, while we put on some warm jackets and join her bravely on the expedition. As we came fearfully opposite the quarry and peered inyo it...sure enough...there was the ghost on the ledge exactly as he had described to us. Gwenda crept closer, with the rest of us following her very closely indeed as one body! We could barely see in the dim light, but it was obviously dividing itself into three parts again as Arfon had said. I know I almost ceased breathing; then the figure seemed to change its mind and came together as one whole body once more. Then it gave out the same wild harsh eerie bloodcurling scream that Arfon had described. Our feet hardly touched the ground as we fled away from this horrible place! Then Gwenda stopped us in our tracks as the cry spent itself out. "Look up into the sky above you," she said, and there in the gathering darkness, we could just see and hear three wild geese flying away from a group of four terrified, shamefaced women!!
Merch Llinos is the pen name for Sally Evans Funderburk. We hope to carry more of her stories in the future.
FESTIVAL OF WALES
BY SALLY EVANS FUNDERBURK
SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, THE FIRST GYMANFA GANU WAS HELD AT GOAT'S ISLAND, NIAGARA FALLS, NY, A FEW MILES FROM BUFFALO. THE DIAMOND ANNIVERSARY WAS CELEBRATED ON SEPTEMBER 4TH, 2004, WITH A SERVICE AND PLACING OF A PLAQUE TO COMMEMORATE THE OCCASION AT THE ORIGINAL SITE. VISITORSS TO THE FESTIVAL WERE BUSSED OUT FROM THE ADAMS MARK HOTEL, BUFFALO, WHERE THE FESTIVAL WAS HELD THIS YEAR.
AS I WORKING AT THE (FESTIVAL) REGISTRATION DESK AT THE HOTELON THURSDAY, I MET MANY OLD FRIENDS & NEW ONES TOO, FROM THE USA, CANADA & QUITE A FEW FROM WALES. ONE OF THE FIRST ONES I SPIED WAS BECKY CROWNOVER'S MOTHER, WHO GREETED ME WITH A BIG SMILE ON HER FACE.
THERE WERE A HOST OF ACTIVITIES FOR EVERYONE TO CHOOSE FROM: MANY WELSH RELATED SEMINARS, TOURS OF BUFFALO AND NIAGARA FALLS, A MARKET PLACE & TEA ROOM (WELSH CAKES WERE FOR SALE OF COURSE!), CONCERTS, SUCH AS ONE IN WHICH THE TORONTO MALE VOICE CHOIR SANG, ANOTHER WITH GWYN HUGHES JONES (A WONDERFUL TENOR FROM WALES), A WELSH ROCK GROUP CALLED CRASDANT & WORLD-RENOWNED HARPIST ROBIN HUW BOWEN. ACTIVITIES FOR THE CHILDREN WERE ORGANIZED & LED BY HEFINA PHILLIPS.
THE ANNUAL BANQUET WAS SPONSORED BY THE WNGGA & THE NWAF. A VERY SUCCESSFUL EISTEDDFOD WAS HELD ON SATURDAY, AND THE WINNER OF THE SENIOR SOLO COMPETITION SANG AT THE BILINGUAL CHURCH SERVICE ON SUNDAY MORNING. THIS SERVICE (ALSO) INCLUDED THE READING OF THE ROLL OF DEPARTED MEMBERS FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR & PLACING MEMORIAL RED ROSES IN VASES ON THE ALTAR.
AN ADDITION THIS YEAR WAS "TWRIO", A WELSH ANTIGUES & COLLECTIBLES SHOW. WE HAD BEEN ENCOURAGED TO BRING OUR WELSH HEIRLOOMS & OTHER COLLECTIBLES TO BE VALUED AND EXPLAINED BY EXPERTS FROM WALES. THE PROGRAMME WAS AIRED ON WELSH TV WITH THE STUDIO AUDIENCE IN BUFFALO! DURING A BREAK, AT THE ANNUAL BANQUET, THESE SAME EXPERTS AUCTIONED SOME VALUABLE ITEMS THAT THEY HAD BROUGHT OVER FROM WALES. "TWRIO" WAS A VERY EXCITING AND POPULAR PROGRAMME ENJOYED BY ALL.
SUNDAY WAS THE BIG GYMANFA DAY, THERE WAS A 2 1/2 HOUR SINGING SESSION IN THE AFTERNOON AND ANOTHER 2 1/2 HOURS IN THE EVENING. THE NATIONALLY KNOWN CONDUCTOR MEIRWYN WALTERS MADE US SING LIKE A HEAVENLY CHOIR!! THOSE OF US FROM THE SDWSGA REMEMBER HIM FROM HIS APPEARANCE AS THE SPEAKER AT OUR ST. DAVID'S DAY BANQUET IN ATLANTA IN 2001.
THE CLOSING CEREMONY WAS AN IMPRESSIVE AND HIGHLY EMOTIONAL AFFAIR. THE BADGES OF OFFICE WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE PLANNING COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSONS OF THE 2005 NORTH AMERICAN FESTIVAL OF WALES, TO BE HELD IN ORLANDO FLORIDA, WITH THE SINGING OF " GOD BE WITH YOU TILL WE MEET AGAIN". IT WAS A PERFECT ENDING TO A PERFECT FESTIVAL.
SUBMITTED BY SALLY EVANS FUNDERBURK,
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, WNGGA
© 2004The St. David's Welsh Society of Ga.
The Presidental Interview
Ellen, would you give us a little of your personal history?
I was born and raised in Columbia, SC. I lived and worked there until February 1988 when I moved to Atlanta, and I've been here ever since. I work for the nation's second largest wireless communications company in its software quality control group. I'm single but still hopeful of finding that elusive gentleman who's worthy of me! In the meantime, I lavish my affection, spare time and extra change on my two cats, Rusty and Emmitt.
Recently, I moved from Stone Mountain to Cumming. I have a larger house and a much larger yard in Cumming, so you can spot me driving my riding lawn mower around the yard. I actually prefer mowing to vacuuming, so bear that in mind when you come visit me!
Do you know much about your Welsh roots? Where in Wales did your family come from and do you know where they first settled in the US?
My knowledge of my Welsh heritage is courtesy of two of my cousins who have done extensive genealogical research. It's my mother's side of the family which is Welsh and the family name is "David". No one is sure where exactly in Wales they came from, although it's mentioned in an old S.C. county history book that they were originally from Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. My cousins traced our ancestors back to May 1701, when they sailed from Milford Haven to New York and Philadelphia. Due to time and money, neither my cousins nor I have done any further research on that side of The Pond. All we know is what happened once they got to the USA.
Anyway, after landing in 1701, my ancestors spent a few years in "Yankee Land". They had the good sense to move south in 1725 to South Carolina and they've been there ever since. They settled in northeastern S.C. where they found good farm land on a bend in the Pee Dee River. As you know, we Americans call a bend in the river "the neck" of the river. The area where my ancestors settled is still called "Welsh Neck" to this day. They also founded a small community, still in existence today, called Salem. This area is between modern-day Florence and Myrtle Beach.
How long have you been a member of the St. David's Welsh Society of GA?
I joined the SDWSGA in September 1999, so I'm starting my 4th year this fall.
What was it about the Society that made you want to join?
I was searching for Welsh language lessons. None of the colleges and universities around Atlanta offer Welsh studies of any kind. I finally located the Society through the interactive yellow pages on the internet and called and talked to Richard Carter. He got me in touch with Glyn Davies for language lessons, and here I am!
What special gifts or talents do you bring to the Society?
(1) I have a strong interest in maintaining the Society. It serves a vital function in educting the general public about Welsh history and its contributions to America's history, promoting Welsh culture and providing lessons in the Language of Heaven.
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(2) I like to think that I have strong organizational skills which will hopefully serve me and the Society well while I'm president. Check back with various Society members in 2 years to see if they agree! (3) I have a strong interest in Welsh history, both of the nation and of my personal family history, but little time to study and/or research either.
What plans do you have for the coming year for the Society?
I have several goals for the Society while I'm president. (1) Increase awareness of the Society in Atlanta and the S. E. Region. (2) Increase and retain membership, and (3) make the Society financially self-sustaining.
2004 is the 20th Anniversary for the Society, are there any big plans or hopes for the Anniversary Year?
Absolutely! For the March 2004 St. David's Day banquet, we hope to have all previous Society presidents in attendance. Between now and then, I plan to "showcase" various members of the Society in order to show the depth of our commitment to preserving Welsh culture. We have an historian who maintains our scrapbooks and photos, and these will be available at various meetings.
© 2002 The St. David's Welsh Society of Ga.