Remembering Josef Weiss and Agnes Jolley

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2022

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Josef Weiss and his wife Vi were usually present for breakfast at McDonald’s. They continued to go to McDonald’s after it was remodeled and the breakfast bunch all moved up to the new Bojangles. They came up to Bo’s once; that was the last time I saw them.

Josef had been an Air Force officer and also had earned a Doctorate at Vi’s urging. They regularly had parties in their home near Ridge Rest outside Columbus. His race car was housed in a building behind their home, and his museum of artifacts from his long and storied career occupied the upper floor. 

Fran and I visited them often and were always welcomed. We enjoyed seeing many of our Polk County friends there at their parties. I understand that Vi is not doing well these days, so an era is ending.

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When we retired, we joined Aunt Mildred Rippy and her friends on the right side of Hardees on Tuesday mornings. Since they were all more than 70 years old, Fran dubbed them “The Girls.” The late Willard Jolley was the unofficial “chairman” of the group of men who met on the other side. Once upon our return from a vacation trip, Willard suggested that I should appoint one of them to look after my “widder women” in my absence. When several volunteered, I said that maybe I should put the job out for bids . . .

When Hardees closed abruptly, we men moved to McDonald’s. Aunt Mildred and her friends moved to TJ’s in Tryon; all of them have since died. Jack and the late Max Jolley often visited at McDonalds, as did Donnie.

I have been visiting the folks in White Oak Medical on Sunday afternoons for more than 25 years. Once I found Jack in Wilma’s room, sitting calmly in a chair. Wilma, recovering from hip replacement, was rolling her wheelchair all over the room! Since her passing, Jack now lives in a senior apartment in Anderson, South Carolina; Fran sends him a box of her homemade cookies periodically.

I used to visit Wilma’s sister Agnes, who married Willard. I’d find her asleep in the Train Room. When I touched her arm, she’d open her eyes, and break into the most beautiful smile! I have found her asleep in her room of late; now she has joined Willard forever with our Lord.

One of the Jolley sisters told me that the others kidded young Donnie, saying that he was not a “real Jolley.” Maybe they were right; all of the Jolleys drove Ford products; Donnie drove Buicks. I saw Donnie arrive at Bojangles in a Cadillac; his reply to my comment: “You can’t hide money!” I get distilled water for my CPAP machine from Donnie at IGA; he is very accommodating to me: he pushes the cart out to my car and puts the case of water in the back for me.

It was said of Willard that he could patch a pothole such that you’d never be aware that one had ever been there. Jack was an inspector of paving; he was present at Patrick Henry airport at Newport News when I kept an airplane there. I went often to Max’s metal working shop to have him do something for me that I could not manage with my woodworking tools.

So you see that just having breakfast away from home has paid many dividends for me. Friendships developed with guys that I might never have met otherwise. And the same thing is happening now at White Oak—new friendships are forming in our big dining rooms here!