Tryon’s Jockey Fire Hydrants

Published 11:23 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

Remember When column 

Back in the late 90s, when I was President of the Polk County Historical Association and Richard Cannon was its Curator, I was made aware that Tryon’s fire hydrants were being repainted. They were painted red and white, with black caps, to resemble jockeysbeing an expression of Tryon’s equestrian bent, of course . . .  

Richard told me that his wife Janet was doing the paintingand that she sat on the ground facing the hydrant rather than leaning over itHe made sure that she had the enamel, but did not help otherwise. 

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When I noticed recently that some of them are still little jockeys, but many are not, I asked fellow White Oak resident Janet Cannon about her part in the tradition. She brought me a photo, and said that Peggy Wyllie also painted them, and her husband Chuck also brought enamel to her, too. Period.  

Neither Janet nor Peggy is interested in repainting the hydrants! Is anyone interested in continuing the tradition? Would anyone care to address this subject, maybe our Mayor and the Fire Chief? (There may be a regulation now, y’know.) 

Brad Foster used to call me whenever something in one of my columns interested him. He would either add something, or tell me about the memories that it brought back. I did not know until I read his obituary that he had married Earlene McGraw and that Emily Dona was their daughter!  

Earlene’s mother was a friend of my mother’s when they both worked at Adams Millis. I remember Earlene climbing into the school bus when we went by her home on Warrior Drive. I thought she was a quite pretty little girl then. 

Emily Foster married Paquito Dona, who used to stay with Aunt Mildred. I believe her friend, the late Louise Hodgson, brought him here from Colombia. Paquito had a little bedroom next to the bath upstairs, so he was pretty isolated up there. 

Aunt Mildred had a lot to say about her young roomer back then when we were visiting her annually. The young man seems to have turned out very well; maybe some of her upbringing “took!” Right, Emily? 

Mary Greene has now joined her husband of many years, Howard Greene, in their Father’s house. They were His faithful followers throughout their lives, as well as dedicated contributors to the well-being of most of us who live here. I believe that Howard never did understand why Polk County would name a building after him!  

I was happy to read in a recent Bulletin of my late friend Joe Wray’s large part in bringing Super Saturday to life. I knew that Joe had ideas about everything; he definitely thought “outside the box.” He was always “running stuff up the flagpole” to see whether it would fly: if it did, fine, but if not, that was OK too—then how about this? 

A true “Renaissance man,” I have fond memories of Joe, as I think of happy times at his delightful home near Lake Lanier and a frequent lunch companion at Ronnie Mosseller’s aviation gatherings. He must have inspired many of his students to become “all they could be,” as the Army recruiters now offer.  

How can American public schools be so bad, when all the teachers I know and have known, are/were in my opinion outstanding in their creativity and dedication to their students? My teachers at Tryon School certainly were . . . in fact, college was downright easy for me after having been in their classes here!