Remembering Pete & Bernice 

Published 10:32 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

Remember When column 

Two more friends are now gone from this life. I had known Bernice Wilson Culbreth nearly all of my life, but only met Pete Gibson after I retired. Therefore I never knew that he was known as “Cherokee Pete”—I hope someone will explain that to me.   

I have been visiting Pete for several years, first in White Oaks Benson Hall and more recently in Ridge Rest. He would always offer his hand to shake, then start to squeeze. I would match him until he gave up, and then remind him that I milked a Jersey cow for some 8 years when I was a teenager. 

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We had a lot of fun bantering back and forth . . . He told me about playing in the Courthouse when a youngster, even relating that he took a cow up the stairs once. When I asked him how he got her back down (cows just do not go down stairs!) he said he couldnt remember. Right.  

I will certainly miss Pete’s good humor and happy grin! But I know that he is reunited with Myrtle, his wife of so many years. I also met her after I retired, enjoying many visits with her at G&K Furniture & Appliance in Columbus. I learned a lot about my home county, some of which I could print . . .      

I have known Bernice since she was about 2 or 3 years old because I met her and Virginia when I was 4 or 5 years old, all of us then living on Rippy Hill. Virginia was one of my early sweethearts, and I reconnected with her at IGA after I retired. 

I saw Bernice at the bank often when I came home to visit Aunt Mildred; my brother Bill and I would walk around Tryon visiting friends together. Bill always called her Tootsie, and she would smile even as she tried to shush him; I guess she thought she had outgrown that nickname . . . 

I have been visiting her at White Oak of late, and when she was not there recently, they told me she had been taken to the hospital. Now her medical problems are over and she dwells in God’s house, free from the pain that had often dampened her enthusiasm for life of late. 

Au revoir, Bernice.  

And now for another kind of au revoir: Tammy Waldrop has retired. This means that we will not see her face among the other lovely ones at the bank. I shake the money tree (ATM) outside only when the bank is not open, for I much prefer to interface with those ladies! 

Tammy always has a friendly smile and could carry on a conversation without missing a beat on the transaction. She told me about the wonderful breakfasts served at Another Broken Egg, so we met our son there one morning and verified that.   

I wrote about waiting at the bank while Tammy comforted Leon Case when he stood at her window soon after he lost his wife and home in the mudslides along Highway 176. I did not want to shorten their time together, as Tammy was offering comforting words to one who needed to hear them. 

However, have not written about always seeing her at the Memorial Day service at Polk Memorial Gardens cemetery. I look forward to seeing her and other friends there again this year. I do not understand why those services are so sparsely attended, when everyone owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to those lying beneath the sod, there and all around the world.