Category Archives: A Pocket of Resistance

Sad and Perplexed

Southwest corner weather has been dreary and is projected to remain that way for at least a week more. For years, we would have a month of dreary weather somewhere between October and early April. Then it went away. It’s back. In spades.

The weather guessers were greatly disturbed by a relatively dry February. The word “drought” kept slipping back into their lexicon. Now, they are all estatic it’s raining damn near every day. Of course, next week, they will all be complaining how all of this rain will be increasing vegetation and making wildfires more likely and more volatile in the upcoming dry season. i shake my head in sadness. “It’s called weather,” i think. Of course, i watch as now most of the weather guessers are very pretty, voluptuous really, and weather watching has taken on a whole new meaning in the world of political correctness and women’s equality. As usual, i’m confused.

The weather fits my mood.

Today, after a very wise email from our daughter Blythe, we changed our travel plans for April from “maybe” if things get better to “nope.” i cannot adequately describe the depth of my sadness. It’s always “too long” between spending time with Blythe, Jason, and, of course, our grandson Sam, and this time has been even longer than most.

This included my extending the trip on the back end to visiting back home in Tennessee. The last significant time spent in Lebanon and Nashville has also been too long, way too long.

So the long and short of it is i ain’t going to Texas or Tennessee as planned. As i have noted to others: It’s not cancelled. It’s postponed.

This whole thing has me spinning. The medical experts seem to now be getting the platform they needed. Quite frankly, up until yesterday, i was wondering just how bad the corona stuff really is. i never have liked the beer (stories along the border can sway your opinion, but it is essentially because i don’t like the taste), but this, this is even worse. i was perplexed in the media, as it does with every thing that breathes took the news of COVID-19 with complete over reaction. In this case, it may have been the correct thing to do.

And then i thought, “big deal.” Viruses happen all the time. Don’t like ’em. But they’ve been sort of there for a long time.  And they kill people. Sad, but a fact. It sounds like this baby has a leg up on the killing stuff. Blythe forwarded two articles from NPR and the Washington Post, that put some perspective on the spread. She made me smarter. Maureen made me smarter too with her comment this morning when were considering dining out this evening. She doesn’t want to be a contributor to this being passed along to others.

That’s it. That’s the key for me. Although well beyond the classification of “elderly” (she is nowhere near as “elderly” as  i am), Maureen and i are in pretty good health and the only “precondition problem we have is i have always been pretty goofy.  BUT, we can be enablers of the spread if we don’t observe good health practice. To be blunt, i don’t wish to be responsible for someone else dying. i have many, many friends who are “elderly” with “pre-existing conditions.”

So we are hunkering down in the Southwest corner. Oh, we won’t raid the stores for toilet paper. We will go out for necessary things like groceries and health care, and we will attend medical checkups, etc. But we are pretty much hunkered down.

Of course, now i have to figure out how to play golf on Friday.

A Brief Respite for You

Well, there was this great weekend of college baseball with my scorekeeping fanatic friend, Alan Hicks. In LA. Vandy. So i’m writing this post, long post, which i can’t seem to finish. Plus, i really am working on my book again. And i installed some sunshades (it’s been cloudy and rainy, which fits my usual order of getting things done) . Also, i’m back to putting things in order (See, you are getting Murphy’s Law posts again). And i had to recover from driving: i’m old,  you know, and recovery time is one of the things where i recognize i really am old.

So i’ve been very, very quiet here. Perhaps it really has been a respite for you.

But the respite is over.

When i found the Murphy’s Law entries, one of which i posted earlier today, i also found a note i had in a pile of unfinished writing. i wonder what produced such a note?

Vituperative is “pissed off” in five syllables.

Mo Sudduth

i woke up in the middle of the night like an old man does most nights, thinking about the book i continue and continue to work on and had this name come into my head: “Maurice Sudduth.” Don’t know where it came from. From there, i realized someone like him should be called “Mo.” My good neighbor Spud’s real name is Maurice Mumby. My wife is often called “Mo.” But i’m not sure they had anything to do with this name popping into my head in the middle of the night.

Then, i sat down and began writing one of those things that is almost a poem, certainly not in keeping with the rules for poetry, not any of those rules but mine.

As i was writing, i looked at a quote of Colette from Casual Chance, a 1964 work of hers  i had saved on a small piece of paper and placed near my laptop: “Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”

So be it. i am a writer. Someday, in addition to my book of poetry, which did not fare well as far as being purchased, i may be published. But i’m not sure i will ever be an author, probably not using Colette’s definition. 

But for my friends, here is what this writer wrote one middle of the night this past week:

Mo Sudduth

Mo Sudduth,
they called him Mo
came out of the South,
huffing and steaming,
he ran away, running hard,
no stop, no governor,
running away from the people and things
he knew and loved
because
he dreamed
of far away places,
beautiful isles —
yes, it was Fiddler’s Green,
although he didn’t know the name then
but
he learned —
and
huffing and steaming,
he ran away, running hard
into a life at sea:
swells, spume, storms, doldrums,
cold bitter winds, soft warm breezes,
sultry heat, tempests in the night,
glowing sea urchins,
dolphins, giant sea turtles, whales, sharks,
gulls, albatross
and
the sea spoke to him,
captured his love
with tales of the deep
and
all things of the sea
she owned them all
and
she showed him her beauty
in all her fury,  her calm,
in the dark night sky with a blanket of stars
and
Mo Sudduth
huffed and steamed
until
the huff was more of a sigh
and
the steaming gave way to diesel and gas turbines and such
until
Mo Sudduth left the sea,
returned to the South
and
sold home-made trinkets he carved from hickory
at a roadside stand
out front of his one room cabin
out in the country
while he drank his coffee
like the brew he drank continuously at sea
with a cigarette, long ago when he still smoked:
coffee with no additions
to spoil the dark and strong aroma and taste
until
one evening deep and dark
like a cloudy sea night,
he took his nightly nip of Tennessee sour mash
and
gave one last huff,
no longer dreaming
of his far away places,
beautiful isles,
huffing and steaming
and
his sea.

Ahh!

My posts are likely to be a less frequent for a while.

Oh, i’m writing a long, long one just to sort of get myself straight with myself. And i think i remember where the rest of my “Murphy’s Law” calendar entries are and may make them a daily exercise again. And i’m sure i’ll hit on some other ideas i will want to express.

And i wonder why i put all of this stuff down on pap…er, this infernal machine. i mean i really enjoy getting complements on what i write. They energize me. i try to reply to all of them because they make me feel good, and i want you to know they make me feel good. And i would like to make a bit more money to cover all of the crazy things i do and keep this thirty-year old house operating. But i’m not asking for anyone to pay for this stuff. It would change things. This is sort of like when i became sports editor of the Watertown (NY) Daily Times in early 1972 and i announced i would not have a daily column  because i didn’t want to feel i had to write something no matter what every day as there would be days no comment would be better than some invention not worth writing.  Nope, this old goofy guy is writing because he likes to write.

But, after almost a year’s rest, i am back to working on my manuscript for Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings. For the first time, i really am putting it first in my writing efforts, and i am determined, this time, to finish it.

And since i have sworn off comments about politics again and again and again — yeh, there’s at least one more coming — there’s a whole lot less to write about.

And somehow this time of year induces travel. i spent the two weekends ago in Scottsdale. Baseball, the college kind, the feel good kind. Next weekend, i head to Los Angeles for another three days of baseball, the college kind, the feel good kind when Vandy comes out west again, this time to play UCLA, USC (the Southwest corner version) , and TCU.

Then we go to visit our daughter Blythe, our son-in-law Jason, and TA DA, our grandson Sam. i’m so excited my britches are bursting (or something like that). To add icing to the  cake, i’ll head east from Austin, not west and go home again (take that, the real Thomas Wolfe) for about ten days. Perfect weather to catch up with home folks.

But to be honest, there is another reason. You see, i played golf today. The high was seventy-seven. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. i actually, for a change played well. Riverwalk. Mission Valley, about the only thing left that’s green on what used to be about eight miles long and about two miles of farm land along the San Diego River, now pretty much taken over by the development men and concrete, lots and lots of concrete, and lots and lots of cars, more than required to make it a really crappy place to to.

But i braved it today. Good friends, good weather. Oh yeh, did i mention good weather?

So just so folks will understand why i choose to live here and why i ain’t gonna leave, the photo below was at home after the round.

It’s February 26.

i plan to do this a bit more frequently now.

And i ain’t leaving.

Valentine’s Not

i am not a big fan of nearly all mandated holidays. Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving. That’s about it for me. i do pay respects to deserving military folks on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

i loved Halloween when i was growing up when the only decorations on all the houses were carved pumpkins, one, and good-hearted pranks were treats as good as the candy. i enjoyed the holiday when i could share it with my two daughters and grandson, but it was their joy i enjoyed, not mine. Halloween has gone overboard (so has Christmas) with the decorations, and when i see them i think how much better it would be if half the money spent went to help someone, some cause, or the national debt.

i have the same problem with Valentine’s Day when the price of roses goes out of sight, candy and cutesy card ads are pitched as a necessity, and you are shamed if you fail to buy several hundred of each. But with this past holiday and all of the preceding ones, i have always felt pressure. How to show my affection for those i love appropriately, tastefully. What if they don’t like what i offer? And now, Maureen has beautiful roses around our yard. Why would i or should i give her red ones? And i want to tell the folks i love with words or gifts when i get the notion, and i get the notion quite often, but i don’t like someone mandating i express that on a certain day.

So this year, i left. i mean Vandy baseball in the desert with life long friends is a strong draw for me. Not Maureen. She ain’t into desert. Now i feel guilty…just a little, but still guilty.

But as i went through the weekend, i was distracted.

First there was the drive: i enjoy long, alone drives. Don’t know why. i think my father enjoyed them, but nearly all of his was with my mother. Since Maureen has sworn off riding with me on long rides (due to some differences of opinion about what a road trip is supposed to look like and the cleanliness of out of the way gas station bathrooms. But that’s another story), my long ones are nearly always alone. Just me, the car, and the road.

This one began, as usual, in a time judged appropriate to miss most of the morning commute. For some reason, i did not resort to my iPod tunes or the radio. The entire trip. Just me and the car. After escaping the web of freeways, i headed east on Interstate 8 with the long gradual drive turned steep and winding over the the mountains adjacent to Pine Valley and Mount Laguna and Boulder Oaks — someday, i’m going to take the time to head out on CA 94, not I-8, to experience road travel through the mountains in the Southwest corner the way it used to be; Maureen and i partially did that about a million years ago when dating someone was a proper description of a relationship (another story).

It is a beautiful drive and an engineering marvel. Bridges approaching a half-mile long hundreds of feet above the canyons below. Grandeurs amazing in their rocky vastness. Sometimes on this high, i feel like i could touch the heavens, even at seventy miles an hour.

Outposts, mostly on Indian Reservations (Sorry if someone takes offense at the terms), of homes designed for working the land, such as it is with rocks and almost no level place for planting, yards filled with equipment some operating, some obviously long silent, but who is going to get those mechanical, metal behemoths off the mountain. A lonely life? Hmm, i don’t know. Sometimes, sometimes i think they live a simple life and don’t concern themselves with everybody in the world trying to fix everybody and everything their way and opposing all who wish to change them or their views. No, they rise early, gather the eggs, milk the cows, slop the pigs, and don’t think too much about indoor pets. Everyone works. And then the breakfast, homemade, hearty. And then to work again, tending fields, at least what there is, clearing land, checking the herds, perhaps even rounding them up from the rocky crevasses; home for noontime dinner, another big one, probably tortillas rather than buttermilk biscuits; perhaps a nap; then back at it until the cows come home to milk and feed again, supper; rocking on the porch for a while, perhaps reading a bit; but likely the Farmer’s Gazette and not a novel; hitting the rack early after a shower.

There is some beauty in that. i know i would have problems with the remoteness, the aloneness, but i dream.

i contemplate as i coast down the switchbacks to the desert valley. Looking southward, mountains and hills remain cloudy from the mountain mists, gray and three dimensional in their ethereal aloofness from any country’s claim of their property; Zane Gray stuff but Mexican, not the vastness which also resides in Utah, the location of Riders of the Purple Sage, the first western novel to capture my heart, but beauty untouched, unlike at the peak of the mountains down to the valley floor of sand and dirt and scrub brush and not much more now disrupted by the giant fans, windmills of the now for electric power, not water from wells and aquifers as before and when whirling, slaying the unsuspecting fowl; followed by the miles, square miles of solar panels and the attendant machine-looking plants to harness the power of the wind things and the panels; and then fields of plants; not a farmer’s garden next to his small home, but fields, seas of plants, neatly planted in rows, and tended, plucked by many men bussed in with port-a-potties scattered across the landscape and irrigation that would blow the minds of my Tennessee farming brethren, and the men, perhaps with family, in row houses with no shade from the desert heat and dirt yards and worse, the barracks-like quarters for these laborers who are paid disproportionately low for their effort, which none of high and mighty folks who wish to include them in their eviction to even greater poverty because the truck farmer owners and the corporate men know “the Jolly Green Giant pees in the valley;” but we don’t think about that; sad; we condemn like we once did the Irish and Italians and Germans and anyone who came after us because we were high and mighty and disdainful of folks who are now part of our heritage; but we just can’t seem to learn from history.

And then there is El Centro, the town in the middle of the desert, housing a large number of the folks from Mexico who work so hard and the Mexican restaurants abound; and once when the winds forbade my western passage over the mountains, i stayed in the cheap, roadside hotel, and walked a block to a Thai restaurant to find the owners were the Mexican family gathered inside, and sat by myself and found the Thai cuisine really prepared well, tasty, and suspecting some jalapeño might have spiced it up a bit, and on through more fields until reaching the dunes. Miles and miles of rolling mounds of sand as far as the eye could see except where hundreds, literally hundreds of RV’s of every shape and size sat in the forlornness while the owners and their kin and friends rode dune buggies recklessly across those dunes up and down sometimes in caravans, leaping into the air and landing with humongous shock absorbers softening the landing while the drivers and riders swallowed the sand and have it encase them so they could use the precious desert water to shower off the sand and grit and grime so they could grill burgers and sit around in the evening and brag of their exploits while drinking light beer or perhaps tequila. And i am amazed and wonder why every time i see them while passing.

And then Yuma, continuation of the desert but the flora and fauna change but to be frank, there ain’t much change to Gila Bend, once home of the Astro Hotel, long gone to shabbier environs but replaced by the Best Western Space Age Lodge, a little bit cleaner version than the locally owned breed where we once stayed with the cold shower running about 95 degrees at ten in the evening (but that’s another story); but i cut through on Arizona 85 to Interstate 10, the promenade to and from LA and trucks and trucks and trucks to the outskirts of Phoenix and Peoria and Glendale and Surprise and Scottsdale and Goodyear and Mesa and i see…concrete.

It is a complex some fifty miles east west and the same north south. Concrete. A big city just like the other big cities with the same corporate shopping, the same strip malls, the same artsy fartsy shops, or at least in keeping with the idea of the other big cities and roads and cars, lots and lots of cars and continuing expansion of houses, people, road construction.

But then i am there: Scottsdale; Air BnB house; and my friends from almost sixty years ago and still laughing and still enjoying each other’s company and baseball. Yeah, baseball. Sitting in a ballpark with a hot dog, later peanuts, and a beer, watching the game, kibitzing, cheering good plays of either side. College kids playing ball, quite a bit different than the factory mindset of college football and basketball. Eleven and half scholarships maximum, even though some Mississippi State fans believe Vandy gets 35. Huh? And we lose two out of three. But you know what, that is not what is most important. It’s a game. We are friends.

We enjoy each other’s company and the game:

Goofy guy in left foreground, Jim Hicks behind, Cy Fraser, and special attendee Kyla Huberland. And the guy with his nose hairs (just kidding, but he is a close up, isn’t he?) in the camera is Alan Hicks.

And the world was right. We also enjoy good eats and we did, and we enjoy exploring and we did. Our favorite this trip was the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West with great and expansive art, surprisingly including some wonderful photography by Barry Goldwater, and relics of the old west, too many to mention and then there was Alan and i  becoming a part of western art:

And then it was over. The ride back was just fine except for all of those RV’s with dune buggy tows over the mountain.

And i learned my recovery time for long drives i love has extended into days.

But i’ll do it again at the next opportunity.

Go Vandy. i think they will do just fine this season. i know i will.

Return to Another Day

Growing up, i enjoyed the Looney Tunes cartoons prior to the oater Saturday matinee at the Capitol and Princess Theaters in Lebanon.

i enjoyed the feature with the white hatted good guys triumphing by fighting fair against the black hat bad guys who cheated and shot people in the back. i enjoyed Lash Larue, Rocket Man, and Buck Jones escaping from yet another death peril in the short serials preceding the main event only to face another sure fatal ending until the next Saturday.

i thought the quarter for my ticket, the dime for my popcorn, and the nickel for my coke (did i reverse the prices?) were well worth those serials and Roy and Gene, Bob (Steele), and The Three Mesquiteers.

But ahh, the Looney Tunes cartoon: i laughed and laughed and laughed, sometimes so hard i snorted my coke and popcorn.

Then came that magical moment when, several years after 1954 when we acquired our own television, the prominent thirteen-inch console job that sat in the corner of the living room thus becoming the center focus of all things living room, they would occasionally run a Looney Tunes cartoon on the “small” screen.

The only adult who laughed as hard as my sister, brother, and myself was my father. He loved Daffy, Sylvester, Bugs, Porky, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Pepé Le Pew,  and especially the Road Runner and Wiley Coyote and the Tasmanian Devil (“Why for you bury me in de cold, cold, ground?” remains one of my watchwords).

In my father’s later years, there were several gifts to him on Christmas centering around Looney Tunes. First there were the VHS tapes with collections of the various characters. In the latter stages of VHS gifts, i stumbled upon some car floor mats, which i thought was perfect for Daddy: The Tasmanian Devil going fishing. My father loved them and immediately put them in his Ford Escape. When he decided my mother had too much difficulty getting into the Escape, he sold it to Blythe, my older daughter and moved the mats to the Buick. When he passed away, i inherited the mats, now which proudly adorn my Mazda 3 hatchback and bring memories every time i get behind the wheel.

As with all things electronic, the VHS world ceded its place to the DVD world. So Daddy got his share of those as gifts. His grandson (earlier i wrote “nephew” but Tommy is my nephew and one of the best around)  Tommy Duff gave him a slew of westerns. i gave him a large portion of his Looney Tunes DVD library. When both of my parents left us, i drove a U-Haul across country with things for my daughters and us. The boxes of music cassettes and CD’s and the VHS and DVD videos were stored in garage attic. This late autumn as we began to consider Christmas gifts, it occurred to me there were some perfect hand-me-downs for the little ones. i considered giving them to my grandson Sam, but he is a pre-teen and not likely to be that amused. Two specific little ones were also on my mind.

So this Christmas on Signal Mountain, when Max and Culley Duff, the four-year old identical twin grand nephews opened their gifts, one was a Looney Tune DVD. i don’t think they really had a clue about this treasure. But their father did. You see, Tommy was as big of a Looney Tune fan as his grandfather and his uncle.

Several weeks ago, he shared a photo of the two boys enjoying their gift. Then Monday, he sent me these photos. It moved me. i laughed. i thought about my father. i thought about growing up in a world quite a bit simpler for youngsters. i thought about how lucky i was to grow up where i did and how i did. i was glad the young boys had a chance to share laughter with their father as the three generations of Jewell shared their laughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?

 

Andrew Maraniss’ article on ESPN’s “The Undefeated” Web Site

i have just shared this on my Facebook page. i wanted those who are receiving my posts here to have a chance to read this as well. In my introduction to sharing the article, i noted,

“Andrew Maraniss just keeps on telling us like it really was. This is not only a moving piece like the book from which it was initiated, it should be a reality check for those of us who seem bent on playing the hate game. Thank you,  Andrew.

Jesse Owens vs. Hitler wasn’t the only story at the 1936 Olympics

Birthday

She is my niece. She is a wonder.

Stefanie Lynn Johnson has a birthday today.

She is a trooper. She is a Christian Soldier. She has taken on problems and won.

She has two remarkable children.

She has love.

She has a husband who is as remarkable as she is. So much, in fact, i feel compelled to include a photo of the two of them rather a single of her or one of their family.

They go together well, and they have faced their problems with resolution. The result should be a lesson for us all.

Happy Birthday, Stefanie. i am proud to be kin to you.

 

Winter Again

Family in Tennessee have  been sending me photos of the recent snow there.

In my usual smart ass curmudgeon manner, i reported it was cold here in the Southwest corner as well, and then added our highs barely got into the sixties and we almost had frost one morning. i did not point out yesterday was 72 and just about perfect. Today, i was glad i had not been that much of a…well, you know (someone reading this might take offense at my sailor language) because it turned Southwest corner winter again: highs bordering around sixty, cloudy with an ocean wind to make it seem chillier, and goodness knows (and i cleaned that up), it rained.

As i was dealing with all of this terrible weather, i remembered our Thursday and Friday respite. On Thursday morning i took my exercise walk along one of my routes. A section is a walking path along the edge of Bonita Canyon, a large open space area with hiking and riding trails (no off-road bikes, please) surrounded by development homes of which one is ours. Looking eastward from the path, i remembered my father being so amazed at the weirdness of Southwest corner winters and summers compared to back home. Here, the summers are brown and dry. Winters are…well, they are green.

i refrained from adding in my  response to my family we also have white in the winter too. i’m not talking about an hour or so east of here where they do have snow, enough for skiing. i’m talking about right here in the heart of the Southwest corner. They are Japanese pear trees. The streets around us are surrounded by this winter whiteness. Each time i see one, i think of my Aunt Evelyn Orr, who in her last trip out here this time of year in 1990 was effusive about how beautiful they were.

We are in California, you know. Lots of folks not living in California and quite a few who do live in California throw darts at the state for many reasons. i have sworn off politics and i won’t go there. But there are really some people out here who are like a lot of people elsewhere not quite in the mainstream of the way we go about living. This one, on that Southwest corner winter wonderland day caught my eye.

i guess what i’m trying to say here is there are good people here and there are good people there, wherever you are Mrs. Calabash. The weather can be good or it can be bad wherever you are. It truly is (one of my best buddies of the curmudgeon golfing troupe likes to explain with “it truly is” and i like it) up to you.

Don’t throw rocks. Enjoy.

After all, i remember a magic place where winter was magical.

 

A Love Story

i have to figure out how to be a little less impacted by loss of friends. This sad occurrence is becoming more frequent. The last several left me…well, they left me sort of lost.

The most recent one took a bit of my soul away.

When we were growing up, Beverly Hughes lived with her parents and her younger sister Patsy on Pennsylvania Avenue almost exactly one block east of our home on Castle Heights Avenue.

Back then, the entire neighborhood, roughly three square miles, was filled with children. Almost every house was occupied by a family with one to four children. There were no mobile phones, there was no internet. For the first decade of my life, there was no television except in a few homes of the well-to-do. There also were many less restrictions and far less concern about safety. We played outside, we wandered around, spending time with neighborhood friends in our yards or in each other’s home. Everybody seemed to know everybody else.

Sometime around the fourth or fifth grade, i discovered Beverly. She was beautiful to me even then.  i would duck under the top and only wire of the hole in our backyard fence and walk through Pennsylvania Annex to her house. We were just children playing. By junior high, we had become close friends. We never had a date, which in retrospect, i find unusual. But we were friends, close friends, always with someone else, but always close.

In junior high, it became a big deal to walk from Lebanon Junior High at the intersection of North Cumberland and East High west to North Greenwood and then to Hill Street, cutting over to West Main and then to Pennsylvania, roughly just over a mile. There were usually four to eight of us who would stop at Beverly’s home. A number of the boys and girls had paired off. “Going steady” was a big thing. My steady didn’t live in the neighborhood. But it did not matter. Beverly pulled out her 45 RPM record player. Sometimes we would play board games in the den, but most of the time, we just listened to the latest rock ‘n roll on Beverly’s record player. And talked of course, after all, we were in the early stages of teenage.

It was at Lebanon Junior High where i met Buddy Phillips. We played football together and did a lot of the goofy things seventh and eighth graders do together. Buddy was one of the friendliest and nicest guys, and funny. Yes, Buddy could be a riot. We ran around together. But Buddy wasn’t one of those who gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue. He lived in another direction.

Still it was soon evident to most of us boys, Buddy had a crush on Beverly.

I don’t know all of the particulars of their relationship. i soon went to Castle Heights and lost touch of all but a few of the goings on at the high school. But eventually, Beverly married someone else. After several years, the marriage fell apart.

Buddy was waiting.

The two married and every time i was privileged to see them, they were obviously very much in love. For forty-five years, they both were in love. Buddy was rewarded for his love that has lasted 64 years by my count.

They had an incredible life together. It was one of the best love stories i have ever heard. It was not motion picture stuff. It was real. And it was the way it should be.

Last Monday, Beverly passed away with Buddy and her children at her side. The ugly “C” word had taken yet another beautiful soul away from us.

I cannot imagine the grief Buddy is experiencing, just as i could not grasp when Betty Jane’s husband and my high school buddy, Jim Gamble, passed away almost a month before. Jimbo, by the way, was one of those constant attendees at the record playing afternoons at Beverly’s home.

It hurts losing friends that close. It hurts to see such loved ones taken from their life long loves.

Then, i read Eddie Callis’ emails about the arrangements after Beverly left us.

You see, they had Beverly’s memorial service yesterday. She was laid to rest. Yet the arrangements revealed a back story, another love story.

Beverly’s obituary gave the usual details one finds in such news items. At the end, it turned a bit different. The honorary pallbearers was simply listed as “Lebanon High School Class of 1962.”

Previously, i have written of this bunch. The couple who are the drivers of this cohesive group, Eddie and Brenda Callis, have no doubt been a big factor in keeping the group so close with reunions, class birthday parties, and other excuses to keep us all in contact. Eddie provides updates to all of the class on the significant events of all of the classmates.

i have been part of it. The LHS 62 class adopted me, even though i was a goober, a town boy at the military prep school across town. i consider being included one of the best honors i’ve received.

As Beverly’s notice signified, they are a love story, all of them.

Now, we, our class are 74, 75, and 76 in age. Our numbers are declining at a faster rate. i know, even though i am half almost a continent’s breadth away, all of them, like me, take such partings as Beverly’s hard.

For my part, i must get better with dealing with such losses. After all, it is a deep and forlorn feeling to lose those you love.