Remembering Dorothy

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

I had known Dorothy Durham longer than any other living person other than my cousin Sylvia. She was a few years older than we, but would often come over to play with us during the summer before we started to school. Dorothy’s older brother, the late Fred Cochran, also visited, but he was usually helping Uncle Pete with the farm chores.

Dorothy was one of my friends living at White Oak that I visit most Sunday afternoons. Some, like Lila Corpening, are there temporarily on the mend from surgery. My “permanent” resident friends include Lucy King; Robert Mischler; Christine Glover, my Tryon High School classmate; Eloise Thwing, who is usually outside taking in the fresh air; Pete Gibson, Columbus barber who had a fine collection of tools in his shop; Lula Burrell, who was the Tryon School secretary when I started there in 1936; Irene Hopper, mother of fellow Lion Lisa Epley; Ray Foster, who played baseball with my late brother Bill and was head of Tryon Federal when I retired; Virginia Graves, mother of Claude of Little Mountain Pottery; Ruth Day Taylor, widow of Harold; Artie Hamilton; Joe Wray; and Elizabeth Landrum, widow of John G. Jr. and mother of Rita.

My next-door neighbor, Mike Crisp, entertains by singing and playing his guitar at White Oak one Sunday a month. I have to kid him about my having to make a second round of the hallways after the more mobile of my friends go back to their rooms after packing the rec room where Mike performs. It is a labor of love for Mike, and many residents respond in kind.

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Our Columbus Lions Club was visiting our Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs) early in December, taking our brand of Christmas cheer to them. Fran could not make her traditional cross-stitched ornaments for them this year because she could not find the plastic frames for them anywhere. We did take Poinsettias, large print calendars, greeting cards, and various other things as appropriate to their circumstances—but they seem to appreciate our visit more than the tangible gifts. We also try to see them during their birthday month.

TubaChristmas! I hope my earlier exuberance in this space persuaded you to attend if you were not already a devoted fan. We missed Dr. Howell and Jean, but the show went on as it must. PCHS Band Director Cindy Gilbert filled in for Dr. Howell and Karen Killough filled in at the piano for Jean Howell. The ensemble was rehearsed and conducted once again by the inimitable Professor Jamie Hafner, distinguished tubist and renowned conductor of bands.

The honor of playing the solo performance of “O Holy Night” went to young Malik Rowland, junior at Western Carolina University, who played a euphonium—the tenor member of the tuba family.

My “friend of long standing,” Jim North of Newport News, accompanied me to his first TubaChristmas. From his enthusiastic applause and lusty singing of the carols in a very high tenor, soaring above the band and the audience chorus, I’d say we have another convert.

We took our friends out US 74 to see the Equestrian Center and on to Forest City to see their Christmas lights one night last week. Thousands of little lights on the tree trunks turned the town into a winter wonderland to showcase the colored light displays. Another night we were happy to see that our town of Columbus has added colorful new light displays in Stearns Park.

The annual Toy Run was even bigger and better this year. I was the only one at the Courthouse to photograph the first one. Now it has become famous! And rightly so. Christmas is a magic time that seems to bring out the child in us. Fitting, since we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of the Christ Child.