Remember When: Remembering Ann, Paul, Beauford and Allaja

Published 3:59 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

A very sad Christmas for the families who lost loved ones during the holidays! Long term friend Scott Camp now has to deal with the passing of his beloved Ann. Scott suffered a stroke that put him in assisted living after presiding over the Memorial Day services provided by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion for so many years. He even asked me to be their speaker one year!

I met Paul E. Nelson when he was briefly a fellow columnist for the TDB several years ago. He and I, and Carroll Rogers, were selected to appear as “storytellers” at some kind of celebration at Harmon Field, also several years ago. Whatever it was, they haven’t done it anymore; I hope our performances did not lead to the demise!   

Beauford Arledge used to show us around the Silver Creek Baptist cemetery when my cousin Ann came from Charlotte to look for our ancestors’ graves. Seems that nearly every cemetery in Polk County has some! Beauford later wrote a book of reminiscences about the Green River Cove community. I traded one of mine for one of his, and then wrote a review of his for the TDB. When I visited him at White Oak a few months ago, he said he had sold nearly all of his.

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I used to see Allaja Newman and her husband at McDonald’s regularly, but not in recent years. She was always a happy person, and we would often engage in a little “shop talk” about playing and singing church music. I realized that she had piano pupils and played for a church, but did not know of her widespread travels until I read her obit. As with so many, we don’t know the half of it until they are gone!

Our son Thomas works nights, so he sleeps during the day. We therefore had time to visit places like the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Folk Art Center on the Parkway and Barnes & Noble’s huge bookstore in the Asheville Mall. I enjoy seeing the bright colors of the handwoven and dyed fabrics as well as all the new stuff the creative craftspersons have devised since my last visit. This time I spent half of my visit time talking with Tom Wolfe, a wood carver who has some 60 books he’s penned about his work! He likes to paint his quaint characters with oils because he does not like the look of acrylics.

We went into Barnes & Noble to browse, to find me something to read, and to get a Mary Engelbreit calendar for daughter Sharon. I met Mary in her little store in Saint Louis before she went viral . . . she really did look like her self-portraits in her work. She draws in the style of the picture books I had as a boy, and never runs out of ideas. Fran has a large framed “ME” (that’s what we call Mary) poster, “The Queen of Everything” in our den.

I am unhappy to report that we saw several books on the tables that had the naughtiest of the naughty words that used to get our mouth washed with soap (my Mother rubbed Octagon soap on my TEETH! It does not go away readily, either!) right on their covers as titles! Certain letters were replaced by hearts or asterisks, but the word was plenty obvious. These words no longer have shock value now that “everybody” uses them—everybody? Certainly not the people we associate with! We have not seen a movie in years because of the bad language. Not to mention the senseless violence. But that’s another story . . .