By Betty Shearer
My apologies to Sara Champion and to Mary McCachren for my error in last week’s Town & Country Garden Club article. I began the column with Mary and Sam McCain, but in the rest of the story I had it right. Sara had it correct, don’t know what happened to my brain when I began setting this column.
I had a note from Mildred Fitzgerald with her renewal for the Herald last week. For years I’d wondered who Mrs. Fitzgerald was. Well quite by accident I found out Sunday afternoon. I was visiting with Barbara and Tommy Howard following the afternoon service of Water Valley First Baptist Church’s 150th Anniversary service. It was so good to see them. Tommy says I enjoy the paper each week, thanks to Mildred Fitzgerald sharing her paper with us.
I immediately asked, Who is Mrs. Fitzgerald?” Tommy told me she was a native of the Valley, sister of the late Johnny Crumby. Barbara says she has retired, but that Tommy will never retire. Says he just keeps getting more jobs. He’s a sale rep for Aflac Insurance, a church choir robe company, and still serves as a part-time music director. He does seem to be a busy fellow.
Since I started with Tommy, I’ll back into last week.
I only got to the afternoon service of the anniversary program, but it was wonderful. Many ministers of music and youth and education directors were back for this occasion. I got to visit with Lewis Oswalt and his wife, Lisa, for a while.
They’re still in Clinton. Lewis teaches freshman theory and is the choral director at Mississippi College, a position he’s filled for many year. Lisa is in the Clinton School System. They have three children, a 29 year-old, a 27 year-old, who was two weeks old when they left the Valley, and a 17 year-old senior in high school.
They say they enjoy their children and grandchild—can’t believe they are old enough for grandchildren. Lewis reminded me that he made our Friday night football pictures for a couple of years.
I’d forgotten that, but when I told Jim, he says, “I remember and he did a great job.” Jim often was invited to go with the First Baptist Church youth on their trips during Lewis’ time in the Valley and he did enjoy those events. Jim also went on trips with this group when Robert Goodman was Minister of Music.
Louis Criswell was also back and he’s had a multitude of health problems, but they have not hurt his singing voice.
On the program Louis, Lewis, latest former Minister of Music Keith Stevens, and present Minister of Music Eric Fearing sang as a quartette. Their number was “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” and no Southern Gospel Group (past or present) could come close to this presentation. They were fabulous.
Others on program were: Vickie Harmon, Interim Minister of Music; Paula Smith, Minister of Youth and Education; Louis Criswell, and Keith Stevens, who all sang solos. We enjoyed some kind of great music. Mr. Fearing also sang a solo later in the program.
Bro. Randy Bain, pastor of the church, brought the message. He’s one of my favorite preachers and his sermon was excellent and timely.
When I went to speak to Louis, I was not sure he’d remember me and I expressed this. He says, “Why Betty, I’d recognize that red hair anywhere.”
It has been a long time since we’d seen each other—he was here in the mid 70s.
I always enjoy seeing Paula. She’s been a dear friend for many years and just does not change. When she comes back to the Valley, she usually stops by the Herald. Paula is a North American missionary, who serves in Jackson.
I sat with the Perkins/Davis family. It was good to visit with all of them. Van from Brandon and Martha from Jackson were up and Traci, John, Jackson and Katie were here from Cleveland. And it had been a while since I’d seen Al and Betty, Kelli, Chad, Hunter, and Grayson. I was good to hear that Chad’s mother, Viola Moore, is recovering from her knee replacement surgery nicely.
I enjoyed visiting with so many out-of-town visitors and also many Vallians that I don’t get to see often. It’s always fun to chat with Tommy White. Linda was chair of this event and she and her committee did an excellent job. Tommy shared several stories from the past 50 years and he only remembers the funny stuff. He really needs to write a book. I told him I needed an Anniversary Program Book, so off he went and returned with a couple – one for home and one for the office. If you missed this wonderful event, and want to see the program, drop by and look at ours – it’s on the front counter and seeing it will bring back lots of pleasant memories.
I also had a great day on Saturday at yet another anniversary event—Larson’s 60th. A Bryan team (lovely husband and wife out of West Point) was cooking their delicious Juicy Jumbo hot dogs and smoked sausage to feed the crowd. Don generously donated this concession income to Compassion Ministries. Margie Pilcher, a member of Compassion’s Board, Bro. Ken Izzard, and I volunteered as the set up team and to man the booth for the first shift. We stayed all day—It was so much fun we just didn’t want to leave.
The food was great and the fellowship was even better. I heard lots of compliments on a great lunch. The money raised will be a welcomed addition to the treasury of Compassion. Wilbur Herring came to help and brought along daughter, Kim, whom I’d not seen in quite a while.It was so good to visit with her. Kim is working in Colorado, still with Carothers.
I needed to have been three people to have gotten to everything I would have liked to have attended over the weekend. On Saturday there was the Coffeeville Celebration and also Melissa Smith’s wedding (Melissa was one of Ed’s students for many years) and we’ve been friend with the family for a long time.
Then on Sunday the President’s own band (First Marine) was at the Ford Center. For many years Jim had a close friend who was tubist in this group. I chose the First Baptist Anniversary, (they’ll never have another 150th) but the band probably will present another concert in our area. I know I made the right selection because I would not take anything for getting to hear and visit with all the people on program and others just attending.
I was so sorry to hear that the Devil’s were defeated by Aberdeen Friday night. Don’t get discouraged boys, You’ll have another shot in them in the play-offs and I’m thinking you’ll win that one.