Remembering Leah Justice and Albert

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2023

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I met Leah Justice when she became a reporter for the Tryon Daily Bulletin. I already knew her Mom and Dad and sister Missy. I took her photo one day at the TDB office; I will use it when this column goes into my newest book.

I came to love Leah as she dutifully reported nearly everything that happened in Our Area. She covered the annual coon dog day parade when my friend Charlene Pace was its Grand Marshall years ago. Leah sat in the street in front of my chair and visited with me while we waited for the parade to start.

Jeff Allison has kept her position open for her return to the reporting staff; I have also looked forward to that event. Now we know that she won’t be back. It is the end of an era for me, as I always read with appreciation her accounts. Other reporters will come and go, but there are none better than Leah. I think that Jeff, Kevin, Claire and all agree. 

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Fran and I have finally tested positive for Covid. No telling how long we have had it, since we have no symptoms. We have had two shots and two boosters, given by arrangement of White Oak. I am sorry that we took the tests, because we were quarantined immediately by White Oak. Without symptoms, we assumed we did not have Covid and went everywhere!

I have just tested negative, but Fran tested positive. Now a day later, she tested negative also. 

Albert Cochran has died; an acquaintance of many years. He is son of the late Fred and Geneva; I had known Fred longer than anyone else in Our Area. Fred was Uncle Pete Gaines’s next farm neighbor when I visited my cousin Sylvia there in the mid 30s. Fred and Geneva lived on Peak Street in Columbus for years. Geneva made the best pound cakes around; she always gave me one, fresh from her oven, when I visited them. 

Michelle Fortune, CEO of St. Luke’s, wrote about the need for blood donations. I started donating blood when I was in the Air Force in the late 40s, thereby discovering that my dog tags displayed the wrong blood type! Fortunately, that was corrected immediately!

I continued to give blood at every scheduled opportunity until I had open-heart surgery in 2005. I decided to stop then, as I was taking two handfuls of pills daily. Fran decided that after some 50 years, I had earned my rest! However, I cherish many friendships formed among my fellow donors; not to mention the ladies who escorted me to the refreshment table afterward, and the nurses who guided the needle through the knot of scar tissue in each arm!

David Crocker extolled the virtues of milk as a beverage even for adults. I was taught in school to drink lots of milk to build healthy bones and teeth. I was raised by my grandmother’s purebred Jersey cow from the Biltmore herd; I earned a half gallon of milk per day for milking her for some 8 years. I still drink a glass of milk twice daily—I tell them in our White Oak dining room that I am a growing boy (up not so much, but out maybe?)

O Happy Day! Fran found her Christmas sweatshirt in our storage room when she put away the little Christmas trees! The shirt has a painted self-portrait of her late brother Mitch as Santa; she advertised it as
“lost somewhere in Polk County.” We are both happy that it is now found.