Remembering a great American: Seth Jr.

Published 11:08 am Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Polk County has lost another of its favorite sons, a big guy in every way, Seth M. Vining, Jr. His father, Seth Sr., was like a father to me, and Seth Jr. thus became a big brother. In his case, the acorn did not fall far from the tree, as he readily filled his fathers big shoes when the Tryon Daily Bulletin was turned over to him.
I always called them Mr. Vining and Seth Jr. Mr. Vining took me under his wing at the Bulletin office when I was about ten years old (my father died when I was eight) and taught me a lot more than newspapering and the printing trade. They always made me feel like one of the family, and both happily reported every milestone in my career and family. Long before I retired here, Seth Jr. wrote that Mr. Goodwin considers Tryon his home. He was right, of course, for I do have a lot of family here!
Seth Jr. was part of what I like to call Tryon High Schools Golden Age. I was still in grade school, but I admired the achievers like him who were continuing the standard of excellence set by the previous generation. Even the football team was made up of man-sized players like Seth Jr. and Tryon High was often in the win column against the bigger schools of our region. He went on to play for Duke, and he reminded me in a sidewalk chat one day that the Rose Bowl game was moved to Durham right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, because the authorities did not want to make such an inviting target on the West coast.
While serving as chief file clerk in the U.S. House of Representatives, he met and later married Marjorie Boswell, to everyones delight when he brought her home to Tryon. When I visited them some years later in their new home in Gillette Woods, I found a delightful little girl holding her own among her four very male brothers. Sadly, Marty died not long after that, but I have never forgotten her.
Gladys Vining (Mrs. Seth Sr.) took care of all the paper work and other Bulletin office chores when I worked there, and she even cheerfully made the coffee. I did not drink coffee then, but I loved the aroma of its brewing. Seth Jr. would call out to his mom when it ran out that Garland has not smelled any coffee lately!
Bos filled Mrs. Vinings shoes ably when Seth Jr. took over publishing the Bulletin.
I cannot imagine how they managed to put out a paper every day while bringing up four boys to become the outstanding citizens they are today. Seth Jr. was a scoutmaster as well as a County Commissioner! He did the latter as a public service, commenting that, as for the President of the United States, two terms are enough!
Over the years I have observed that whenever a person excels enough to stand taller than the rest of us, some little people start chipping away at his/her feet as if looking for the clay or trying to cut them down to size.
These critics seem to delight in exposing the sins and faults of people who by their greater deeds have made our world a significantly better place.
If you think this column is too glowing, too bad. I did not do any chipping, for I know that the Vinings really stand as tall as they look.
I never heard them speak ill of anyone, nor anyone speak ill of them. Through their lives and the pages of their Tryon Daily Bulletin, they played a big part in making Tryon the great place to live that it is. Let us all give thanks for the Vinings and their progeny, who are continuing their legacy.

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