ROCKINGHAM — The stories you don’t tell will disappear with you.
That’s the impetuous for the new book of short stories by J.A. and Azalea Bolton called “Just Passing Time Together,” a collaboration between a husband and wife in which they weave yarns from their daily life. The book came out in early October.
J.A. Bolton, 69, a retired state employee and weekly columnist for the Daily Journal, said there are 31 stories in the book, some fictional, that cover such topics as pirate treasure, life with dogs, and the experiences of soldiers; what he calls “local folklore.”
“We tell these stories because if they don’t get told, they’re going to be gone,” he said.
J.A. Bolton wrote 16 of the stories, Azalea Bolton wrote 15. His previous book was called “Just Passing Time.”
Azalea Bolton, 68, a retired county employee, says there are both humorous stories and serious ones. One pays tribute to her cousin who was in the military but died in an accident while he was on leave.
Without provocation, horses in a nearby pasture at his funeral ceremony crowded together at the fence when the soldiers were doing the traditional salute and flag folding. She said the horses weren’t paying attention until the soldiers began the ceremony.
“They stood there like they were paying tribute too,” she said.
One of J.A. Bolton’s stories is about a “war” between the juniors and seniors at his and his wife’s high school. The two classes would often have competitions to see who could catch the biggest fish at the local lake, and one day the juniors tried to play a trick on the seniors.
They gathered cherry bombs and other small explosives to throw at the seniors to scare away their fish, but instead dropped a lit cherry bomb under one of their boats, blowing a hole in the bottom of it. In retaliation for the attempted sabotage, the seniors took the juniors’ remaining boat off of its moors and tied it to a stump in the middle of the river.
“They had to wait for some friendly fisherman to come by and get it,” J.A. Bolton said.
The couple spends much of their life telling stories, writing columns and sometimes doing reading gigs. Their most eager audience might be their grandchildren. Azalea Bolton said it’s hard for them to appreciate what her life was like growing up where she would help families in the area grow peaches and tobacco six days a week to pay for her to go to school.
They periodically email stories to their daughter to read to the young ones, but, Azalea Bolton said, “They would rather hear us tell the stories.”
“I think everyone should write down their memories…so they’ll have something to pass on to future generations,” she added.
The Boltons will have a book signing at 4 p.m. Nov. 13 at Leath Memorial Library in Rockingham.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674.