Remember When: Remembering Roger

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Have to bid au revoir to another friend, Roger Traxler. An acquaintance really, but we always greeted one another warmly, as friends do. I ran into Roger often, usually at concerts. We would have a somewhat learned discussion of the music we had just heard.

I could not attend Roger’s services because I was in the Veterans Day Parade in Columbus. We found a way to honor Frank Smith’s service in the Army in WWII: I picked him up and drove in the Parade. I made signs identifying Frank and me as veterans and taped them onto my car. Wife Fran rode in back, identified as President of the Columbus Lions Club, of which I am secretary and Frank is our only charter member still with us. On seeing Fran, Alan Leonard commented that he was glad to see that Frank and I had “adult supervision.”

I am with friend Karl Kachadoorian about all that surveying along NC108. “What’s up, doc?” (does Bugs Bunny still ask that, while chomping on a carrot?) I see Karl often at PRO gym, and he has started calling me the “Grim Reaper” of late because I write so many tributes to the dear departed. I am losing two or three friends a month now; I asked for two columns so I’d get to write more of the fun stuff we all enjoy!

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I was happy to see Alan Leonard’s long article about the African American doughboys. It would have thrilled the late Beryl Dade, I am sure. When I was President of the Polk County Historical Association, she brought me one of those long photographs (I am in two of them: one of my flight in USAF basic training, the other of the 300th year celebration of my church in Hampton. The tripod-mounted special camera is aimed initially at the left side of the formation, then it rotates thru an arc to the right side of the group) of the WWI Machine Gun Group that had several Tryon men in it. She had their IDs and wanted me to put it in our collection at the PCHA Museum. I scanned the smaller sections of the photo, added the IDs, put it all into my computer, then printed out the enlarged details for display. Ask to see them when you visit the museum.

By the way, I wrote a column some time ago about the integration of the Air Force when I was at Scott AFB as a ”non-event.” One night we came in to find the General’s driver and his gardener in our barracks. Of course we knew them and began to enjoy the camaraderie right away. Alan mentions that most of them were assigned to the more menial tasks required by the services.

Glad to see the improvements to the Veterans Park in Columbus. Yes, the white gravel looks better than mulch, and invites walking rather than discouraging it. However, gravel is not wheelchair friendly, so we’ll get to buy some more bricks to honor some more veterans. With all these “wars,” it appears that there will be a continuing supply of veterans.

Well, I promised “fun stuff,” but I did not deliver much fun, did I? Mustn’t be too funny, because that is colleague Pam Stone’s shtick. My late brother Bill was the comedian in our family; I was expected to be his “straight man.” If I managed to get off a funny, Bill would give me a “look.” I love to read Pam’s columns, and she says she enjoys mine. She apparently has not noticed any competition from me. Right on!