Remembering Katherine and Walter

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 12, 2017

With the passing of Katherine McKaig Garrett we have lost another of the “original” McKaig clan. When I was going to Tryon School it seemed that there was a McKaig in every grade . . . and when one graduated another entered first grade. That is an exaggeration, of course, but McKaigs still figure large in our community.

I remember when little Barbara was born and soon became the apple of everybody’s eye. I’m sure her siblings fell over themselves making sure they had a part in her upbringing. I did not say “spoil” because she seems to have survived all that attention with a personality of her own.

I remember when Fred came a-courtin’ Edith Roach in the Western Union office. Fred later met my Uncle Wallace in the Navy Chiefs organization near Raleigh. I also remember Bill as “Fireball”. . . since I did not play football, I don’t know whether he got that nickname because he was fast—or wasn’t. There were the twin boys, Lloyd and Floyd, the older girls, Edna and Katherine, and I don’t remember where James or Franklin fit in.

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When I went recently to tune Karen Vollmer Killough’s piano, Walter was sitting in a chair by the fireplace. He promptly got up and disappeared—I had no idea that would be the last time I’d see him. I know that he was an Army Vietnam vet, but that’s about all. Glad to see that the Honor Squad gave him a proper send off.

Our son Thomas won a big flat screen TV in a Christmas drawing and since he already had one, he brought it to us!  Now we have entered the 21st Century—but not as millennials, I assure you. That big billboard dominates our little den, but does not overwhelm us because its picture is sharp even up closer.

We enjoyed the New Year’s program by the Vienna Philharmonic as we “always” have, but we have had too many places to go and things to do to watch the Rose Parade. It is stored in the recorder so we will get to see it in all its splendor in due time.

As an aeronautical engineer I had enough training to comprehend the technology of the 50s. I was able to keep current through continuing education, by my work experience, by classes conducted by my company and local colleges, and by reading technical journals during my lunch hour. I left that world in the early 90s and took up other pursuits. I have realized of late that I could not work at my leadership level in the aircraft industry today, nor do I have any inkling of how the newest stuff works in other fields.

The technology blows my mind, so I don’t think about it at any length, except to marvel. There are many who revel in it and thrive on it; for them I am grateful. It is they who keep moving technology forward.

It is in the realm of human relations that I see no progress at all! There are some who understand its workings in intimate detail, but it seems to me that every generation starts over at square one. Even in that first little family in the beginning, there was soap opera. Mom and Pop did not appreciate the wonderful world created for them to enjoy, for they were not angels: they were given the power to reason rather than merely to obey. And love was replaced by such jealousy and hatred in their offspring that it led to murder! Throughout our recorded history, people have loved and killed with equal enthusiasm. Lord, help me to do the loving thing every time, because I want neither to kill nor to be killed!