Remembering Max and Howard

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Lost another great friend this month: Max Jolley. Ms. Ann had brought me a jar of her apple butter for my birthday, so thanking her was the first thing I said when she called us to tell us that Max had died. Her bad news really hurts, as Max was a dear and close friend.


Too many physical problems kept him and Ann from joining us for breakfast lately. I’ve been to their home, and enjoyed Max’s wry humor, many times over the years.


I think there were at least eight “bicycles under the porch,” according to one of his sisters. Sometimes their youngest brother Donnie would come by McDonald’s on Saturday mornings on his way to work at IGA. Willard, Jack, and other older siblings used to kid Donnie that he was not a real Jolley. Guess there is some truth to that: the others all drive Fords; Donnie has a Buick.


I was a woodworker with a complete shop; Max was a metal worker with a complete shop. I don’t remember making anything for Max, but he repaired several things for me. I took him some of my metal working tools (mostly things that wear out and have to be replaced, like hack saw blades and drill bits).


I learned to solder, but never learned to weld. My cousin Bryant tried to teach me arc welding, but I could not manage to strike an arc without welding the rod to the work! I never tried welding with an acetylene torch. Max was an accomplished welder, of course!


Ms. Ann told me she had asked Max if he’d had a little talk with God, and Max told her that he had. This assured her that he was ready to go; as Christians, we know that Max has joined his sister Lois and brothers Willard, Glenn and Paul (Jack is in an apt in Anderson). They left Paul in a cemetery in Europe when the others returned from WWII.


And now another one: Howard Williams! When I visited him last Sunday in White Oak Medical, he seemed fine. I always expect to see them again next Sunday afternoon. Howard had told me that his doctors did not know why he was still alive; I told him that it was because he was “too ornery to die.” Fortunately, he laughed . . .


Howard was a direct descendent of “Old Bill Williams,” celebrated on a North Carolina Historical marker now at the courthouse. I had waded through a foot of snow in Arizona to photograph the statue of Old Bill to show Howard. He said he had seen it when he was out there.


Howard told us many tales over the years, starting with his enlisting in the Marine Corps. He regularly met with Marines in Hendersonville. I copied his family tree into my computer, so I could print copies for him whenever he wanted.


Howard’s sister Myrtle was one of “the Girls”—Aunt Mildred’s group of women friends that Fran and I joined at Hardee’s when I retired in 1988. My brother Bill and family joined us here in October each year. I gave Howard a copy of the “porch picture,” of all of us on Myrtle’s porch. All are deceased except for Fran and me, so it is a good memento of times past.


Both Max and Howard used to join the rest of us “geezers,” first at Hardees, then McDonalds, and now Bojangles. We voted to move to Bo’s when McDonald’s remodeled their building to include a kiosk just inside the door. 


Two guys who tried it could not deal with the kiosk; the rest of us never tried it. We prefer giving our order to a live young woman, who greets us with a smile and relays our order accurately to the kitchen crew.    


Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or email