Mourning too many more friends

Published 6:44pm Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lost another good neighbor and friend in December.

Ed Keogh and I had much in common: we both served in the Air Force during the Korean War; we both learned to fly in the post-WWII companion to the Piper Cub, the Aeronca Champion; we both had flown a sailplane (he more often than I): and we shared strong opinions about everything.

Our only contact was chance meetings in front of my house as Ed and Grace walked every morning, rain or shine, hot or cold.

We did a lot of “hangar flying” and also covered the sorry (always) state of affairs both locally and nationally. Ed had served on his village council up North and had few kind words for those responsible for governing us at any level. At least he had also been on the receiving end of the requisite slings and arrows suffered by all who dare to hold public office.

Ed also enjoyed a good tale and laughed as heartily as he pontificated. He trapped squirrels in his yard and hauled them several miles away before setting them free among someone else’s trees. He was sure that some of them re-appeared in his yard that same afternoon!

I always tried to get my flag out in time for Ed to see it, for we also shared a love of our country.

I am missing Ed’s good head above his skinny frame, for he always had a smile and a chuckle for me in passing.

When delightful little teller Donna at the Columbus Bank of America said she was sad because she had recently lost her father, I learned that he was Monte Dedman Jr.

I met him at the Lynn Reunion years ago but had only shared with him stories about his father.

Monte Sr., known to all as ‘Doc,” was the linotype operator and printer of the Bulletin almost from its inception.

Doc was also a stringer for several of the neighboring big city newspapers, and wrote a column he called “As I See It” for the old Polk County News weekly, also published by Seth Vining Sr. when I worked there in the 40s.

Reverend John James Powell has left us bereft at age 96. J.J. and I go back some 20 years to when he and I were both active in the Polk County Historical Association. I marveled that he was still an active minister of his church then, let alone now! I have also had the pleasure of installing him as president of the Tryon Lions Club for several years!

The man had boundless energy and enthusiasm and has always been an inspiration to us all. He also had a winning way with words, as befits a minister of the Gospel, and comes in handy for storytelling, another of his callings at which he excelled. We shall surely miss him, but give thanks that we had him as long as we did.

I used to see Lucy Christopher taking her walk around town when I went to the Columbus Post Office. She had been a Postmaster for 30 years and she would always talk with me before heading back home.

One blustery cold morning when I commented on her dedication, she said she was the town’s “street walker.” I just had to ask her “So how’s business?” Never did find out.

We have lost another Korean War veteran. Fred Earl Foster served 20 years in the Air Force and had also served as a county commissioner. He always greeted me warmly, often at gatherings honoring veterans. Too bad his life was ended by the action of another rather than living out his days enjoying his loving family.

I used to visit three or four friends at White Oak; now there are more than a dozen. I am also losing about three or four friends per month, as these columns attest. I am thankful for all of them and their contributions to our world while here.

See ya later, y’all!

Editor's Picks