Remember When: Remembering Jack & Isabel

Published 5:01 pm Thursday, September 7, 2017

I can’t remember when I first met Jack Campbell . . . it seems as if I have “always” known him and his wife Linda, separately at first, only connected later.

I suppose I first met Linda as Mrs. Hudson, preparing the sumptuous breakfast at the Congregational Church for the Sherlock Holmes Festival. Learned that scones are delicious; at least hers were, as was everything else that was served that day. And I must thank Joy Soderquist for making sure I was invited to subsequent festivals—er, breakfasts!

I can still see Jack perched atop a big tractor in the Columbus Christmas Parade. It was only when we went to Mimosa Carpet to talk about floorcoverings for our house in The Woods that I saw them together. Jack helped immensely with our selections. I suppose that when they sold Mimosa Carpet they were preparing to downsize and “retire.”

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We last saw Jack and Linda at the Strawberry Hill restaurant on SC Hwy 11. They had finished their lunch and were working on big ice cream cones. They accepted our invitation to join us and we enjoyed a pleasant visit.

Also lost a lady friend from White Oak. I helped Isabel Child select a book in their library one Sunday afternoon and visited with her ever after that. She seemed to be glad to see me, and it was a pleasure to share small talk with her. I missed her the last time I was there; now I know why.   

I wonder how many of you have thought about our good fortune to live here in the shadow of Tryon Peak . . . Growing up here gave me an early insight into the benefits of the highly touted “Thermal Belt,” and I got the idea that yes, it was colder in Asheville and hotter in Spartanburg.

Before I went into the Air Force I had never been beyond Durham, Kitty Hawk, and Wilmington in North Carolina, and Spartanburg and Wateree in South Carolina. Then the Air Force and later the aircraft industry sent me all over the country, so that when I retired, I returned here to God’s country.

God’s country? Of course! I was always comparing wherever I was to Our Area, one of the “Witty-cisms” of my late friend, Bulletin columnist Bob Witty. Everywhere else always seemed to fall short in some way of my memories of Tryon and its environs.

Texas brought summer temps well over 100 degrees and the Waco tornado, Wyoming brought the blizzard of Christmas 1948, L.A. introduced me to smog, San Diego to the monotony of no seasons and rain only in the “winter” months, Seattle to perpetual rain and cloudy days, and Hampton, Virginia, to worrying about hurricanes. OK, so we had a memorable blizzard in 1993, but by and large we seem to have an abundance of agreeable weather here, appropriate to our four seasons!

It seems that we are continually worrying about our friends who still live in other places who have to deal with forest fires (the only disaster I fear here!), floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. Right now it is a Texas relative with a second home in Rockport.

I have just published a second edition of my first book of these columns. It is a second edition rather than a second printing because I have added many photos in an Appendix and a History of Stearns School in another Appendix. Every time I finish another hundred columns, I publish them in a book: A Boy in the Amen Corner, Fat Fenders and Reflections, and Still More Remembering. I also wrote for a monthly newspaper formerly published in Henderson County for senior citizens, distributed free all over Western North Carolina. Those sixty columns are also in a book called The Prime Time; they are mostly humorous essays on the joys (?!) of retirement. All of these books are available at the Book Shelf in Tryon.