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Boone Woman, Linda Shoemake, Publishes Book of Poetry, “Rhymes for My Reasons”

By Sherrie Norris

Linda Shoemake of Boone has released her first book of poetry — “Rhymes for My Reasons,” which includes not only a lifetime of heartfelt, inspired poems, but also photo illustrations that help to tell her story.

With a hidden talent for writing that has just recently surfaced in the public eye, Shoemake is perhaps best known for having spent 40 years locally in the banking industry, retiring from Wells Fargo Bank in 2014.

: Watauga native, Linda Shoemake, has recently released a compilation of inspirational poems near and dear to her heart that have been written over a lifetime, some of which, until now, were put away in a drawer for safe keeping.

For more than 30 years, Shoemake also taught the Senior Adult Women’s Sunday School class at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, which she referred to as one of her life’s greatest delights.

Her love for poetry goes back many years, she shared, recalling how, as a child, she began writing poems and tucking them away in a drawer.

“Now and then my heart is filled with a sweet yearning and tender memories, which pour out in rhyming, rhythmic words,” she described. “There have been times when I feel God is stirring in my heart and I just grab a pencil and the words spill onto the page.”

Those are the poems that she holds especially dear, she said.

“I have been encouraged by family and friends through the years to take these poems out of the drawer and publish them. One precious 90-year old exclaimed that if I didn’t do this, it would be a sin! “

And so the journey to publishing began, Shoemake explained.

“I have included in the book 33 poems, along with photos as illustrations that a friend described as ‘picture poems.’”

Shoemake was assisted in design and layout by the expertise of local author, Judith Geary.

Shoemake said her main desire is that these poems “will call the readers back to a simpler time in life and cause them to yearn for Jesus.”

Lucky for us, she still has a few more poems “tucked away” that might result in a second edition in the future.

“The title for the book came about because I have three main reason that seem to inspire my writing,” she said. “Those reasons are Jesus and the events surrounding His life and ministry; my beloved sister, Judy, who I loved better than life and has already made her entrance into heaven, and my journey as a mountain girl,” Shoemake said.

She described the process of becoming a published author/poet as having been a learning and sometimes difficult process. “But, I would encourage budding authors to forge ahead. It’s exciting to see your words in print — and it’s very rewarding just to think others might enjoy them.”

At the same time, Shoemake said, she discovered, (like most of us writers!) that she can get so caught up in the story that she can overlook glaring mistakes.

“This has taught me that we can rarely see our own faults, and in life, we need those we love and trust to correct us.”

Shoemake is described by those who know her best as a lovely, quiet woman who draws no attention to herself; she is also one of wisdom who is very knowledgeable and gifted in many ways.
She’s blessed, she said, to have lived in these mountains her entire life. She and her husband, Jim Shoemake, have two children, Ben and Sarah, “and five amazing grandchildren.”

The book was written in memory of Shoemake’s late sister, Judy Hodges. “Her gentle whispers fill my heart and they become these little rhymes,” she wrote, describing the poems specifically about her sister and their years together.

With titles and themes depicting life in simpler times, to those of life’s trials, journeys and joys, “Rhymes for My Reasons” will surely pull upon the reader’s heartstrings and will make a lovely keepsake or gift for others.

“These poems speak to my heart and bring back precious memories,” said Lillian E. Swift. “It is a record of life experiences that invites reading, over and over. It is a treasure,”

It is currently available through Amazon as a paperback or in Kindle format for $20 and will be available at local venues in the near future.

On August 10, beginning at 5:30 p.m., Shoemake will be participating in an artists reception hosted by the Watauga County Arts Council at the Blue Ridge Artspace, located at the corner of State Farm Road and Shadowline Drive in Boone. She will have autographed books that can be purchased at that time.

For more information, contact the author by email at linda14shoemake@gmail.com.


The following is a poem Shoemake wrote about her mother and offers a glimpse into the gems found within the pages of her book.




My mother had no heirlooms

That stood in stately halls

Nor those of pristine crystal

Nor gowns she wore to balls

Her treasures were so simple

The kind of humble fare

An old white comb with broken teeth

She used to dress her hair

A skillet blackened by the heat

Of often baking bread

A wooden spoon she stirred the pot

Of apple butter red

An apron blue, stained by the toil

Of many summer hours

Spent canning in the kitchen

And working in the flowers

A little basket laden

With brightly colored threads

She used to stitch the lovely quilts

She lay upon her beds

A collection of old dishes

That held the best of things

Like fried potatoes, corn bread

And don’t forget the beans

A rolling pin, an ironing board

A clock that was her friend

And kept her time so faithfully

Right up until the end

How sad you say that this was all

A life time could achieve

But heirlooms of this sort you see

Are the very best indeed

For when the sum is totaled

And all is added up

We were the richest heirs of all

For we always had enough