By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
September 28, 2013
Oma Boyd had plenty of free time on her hands in 1991 when her husband was serving in Desert Storm and her youngest son was away at college. That time led her to strike up an acquaintance with an elderly woman called Mam.
“She was part of the family, but I hadn’t really known her and didn’t much like her,” said Boyd, who, nevertheless, began spending time with Mam. “She began reliving the past, so I decided to record her stories. I started taking my Mom with me because she enjoyed it, and sometimes we’d be there until midnight.”
Boyd eventually became Mam’s caregiver, spending even greater amounts of time with her and her stories.
“I fell in love with her stories and her stories changed her to me,” said Boyd.
That led Boyd to publish “Round This Mountain” in 2010, which contained the stories Mam had shared.
Boyd found the success of her first book somewhat lacking, though.
“When I got it written, I thought this is not my book, not my stories,” she said.
Now, Boyd is back with a new book, “Blue Ridge Shadows.” Although this book revolves around the mountain people of Mam’s time, it is a fictional work.
“When you read this book, you have to be open to the hardships of the area. You have to be prepared for hurt, criticism and the harshness of the people,” said Boyd.
The story’s lead character is Dandelion, who is thrown away at birth, but found by another family who take her into their fold. The story follows her life from that inauspicious beginning to the end of her life living with misunderstandings and hardships which we hope are a way of the past,” said Boyd.
If there’s one message readers gleen from the book, Boyd hopes it is “not to judge people. They may not always be as they seem, and there may be a reason for the way they are.”
Boyd was born in Ararat and grew up in Fancy Gap. Her books are available at various businesses, including Back in the Day in Fancy Gap, Chapters in Galax and Pages in Mount Airy. They can also be found on Amazon.com, at the Mount Airy History Museum and at visitors centers along the Blue Ridge Parkway.