Remembering Edna Leonard

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 26, 2014

I met Edna Leonard after I retired in 1988, probably when I started writing for the Bulletin. She invited me to speak at a meeting of retired teachers. Then she came on the Board of Directors of the Polk County Historical Association during my Presidency of that body. She always had something to do or to contribute.
She was the matriarch of a clan of contributors, apparently. I only know some of them, and only a wee part of her and their participation in our community. Son Mike was our compleat waiter at the Tea House and helped me turn my extensive workshop into cash before we “downsized.” Son Alan was sometimes the bugler and/or the speaker at our Memorial Day and Veterans Day services. I met his son Will when he gave a paper on Houdini to graduate from Middle School, and his younger sisters when they came to our Christmas Party.
Will is an accomplished fiddle player as well as magician and public speaker. He accompanied his re-enactor father Alan to Gettysburg one year, and asked if he could go over to the commissary. There he took off his hat and began to play tunes of the era on his violin. Pretty soon his hat was full of folding money and he was able to dine well.
On one of my last visits with Edna at Ridgerest, she could not see or hear well enough for us to visit much. She enumerated all of the faults of her room in detail until I convinced her that I was not her building manager. Without my tools I could not make some of the repairs she wanted. She was still very much “in charge” and was determined to “Git-R-done,” as always.
I met Don Iaffaldano when he was a member of our Columbus Lions Club briefly. He was a good Lion until his natural dislike for meetings and meetings led him to resign. He commented in leaving that we don’t do our work at meetings anyway!
The late Louise Henson hosted a fine dinner for my brother Bill and me and our wives shortly after I retired and looked up my contemporary, her husband John Earl. Their home was somewhere south of Landrum, called Disisit. John Earl was pretty unhappy that his pond would not hold water even though he had lined it carefully with clay. He showed me the “Pout House” where he could go to think it over. Louise is no doubt best remembered as a nurse, who retired from St. Luke’s as its Director of Nursing.
Roberta Kellerman was one of our knitters and weavers when we had the yarn shop in Columbus. Her creations always won blue ribbons at the State Fair in Asheville, and their beauty and complexity confirmed the wisdom of the judges. She was an upbeat, happy lady that we always enjoyed meeting in our travels.
I would like to get back to writing the kind of “fun stories” that used to fill my space—about the people who helped me to “amount to something” as I was growing up here among them. However, it is my contemporaries and newer friends now who keep moving to our cemeteries each month . . .
One of them, the late, great Charlie Hearon, wrote a final book he called “The Sun’s Gonna Set Pretty Soon.” We all agree that sunsets are beautiful (amazing what our Creator can do with only light and water, isn’t it?) and I for one cannot let my friends go without a few kind words from me. Some create their own “blaze of glory” in which to depart this life, but most just slip away quietly . . . the lucky ones with family all around them, but too many, alone, in a tiny room. Sob.

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