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Reflections

Losers Often Turn Out To Be Winners

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a good week.  The local elections are beginning and as in any campaign there has to be winners and losers. A word to the losers-– all is not lost in many cases.  I’m going to list some past so-called losers and what became of them.              Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams but came back four years later and got elected to two terms.  David Crockett lost his bid for re-election to Congress and told his constituents, “You can go to hell, I’m going to Texas,” and is remembered more for losing his life defending the Alamo than he ever was as a Congressman in an obscure Tennessee district.      

Abraham Lincoln lost his bid for the Senate but was elected president two years later. Franklin D. Roosevelt lost as a vice-president candidate in 1920 went on to become governor of New York before serving four terms as president.  

Jack Kennedy lost his bid to become vice-presidential candidate with Adlai Stevenson but went on to win the Presidency in 1960.  Richard Nixon lost to Ken-nedy and later lost  to become Governor of Cali-fornia but won the Presidency in 1968.  

In 1947 Loyd Farmer lost his bid for Yalobusha County Sheriff to Bob Jones, but went on to win the office four years later. So congratulations to the upcoming winners and you losers take heart, you might become a winner after all.  

I’ve become resigned to the fact that we’re going to be subjected to political campaigns nearly ever year, so I ignore most of the rhetoric and enjoy seeing many political candidates make  fools of themselves.  

I like to think of the story about Mr. W. A. Nolen, a fine old gentlemen who ran a store in Water Valley for  many years, who told how he borrowed $50 from Charlie Hague to run for office and win. There is a saying in the sales field, use the KISS method.

Translated that stands for “keep it simple stupid” and far too many people in important positions complicate simple situations. All of you know how I admire rugged individualists who do things their way and never mind the consequences.  

I’ve written about Mr. Will Crews before, but I still have a lot of admiration for the old guy. He started out as a farmer, had a house full of kids and was a tireless worker. He wanted to do better, so he and his brother, Sam Crews, opened a little store on the side of the road in sight of Jumper’s Chapel Church.  

Mother said it wasn’t much bigger than a large closet but they did business.  It was said that the two had a partnership based on nothing but a hand shake, but they got along and eventually dissolved the partnership in an amiable fashion.  

The first time I remember Mr. Will he was driving a Chevrolet stake bed truck, which he would use to pick up apples out-of-state and bring back to sell on Main Street. He would peddle them near the old city hall, which had been the People’s Bank that failed during the depression.

I’m sure he made a profit, because then he opened a small store on the site of site where the BP station is today. It was not an impressive building, but had a Lion gas tank out front and inside it was more or less self-service.  

Mr. Will was a short stocky individual with a hump back and a high-pitched voice.  People said he was stingy but there probably was not a kinder hearted person who ran a business in Water Valley.   

He was strong on family and when he needed help in the store he turned to his daughter, Vera, or her husband, Joe Feeney.  When they weren’t available another  daughter, LaFern, who was married to Nolen Clements would fill in.

In those days the grocery stores didn’t open on Sunday – I don’t  think they had a blue law, that was just the custom.

Mr. Will ignored the tradition and opened on Sunday. He also stayed open later than any other store. He was not greedy, but if you needed something he was available even if he had to go back and open up his store. During warm months he could be seen sitting in a rocking chair in front, maybe eating an orange or apple. If you were a customer he would spring out of that chair with an agility that belied his age.  

He did have one fault that everyone in town knew about, he was a terrible driver.  You could hear him clashing gears but never seemed concerned about it. He probably never heard the word nepotism, but he practiced it daily.  

He believed in taking care of his family and that meant giving them part time jobs or even advancing them money. He had a daughter, Cornelia, who lived in Detroit. She died after a long illness, leaving a husband and several children. He took one of the boys into his home for several years.  

When his son, Vernon, who was married to mother’s first cousin, Frances Baddley, came down with a terminal respiratory disease and required around the clock oxygen, Mr. Will would come by each day to check on him. He was shrewd for his day and he arranged to have a trust fund for his surviving children rather than a lump sum amount.  

After his death, Vera called attorney John Horan and showed him a 50 pound lard can filled with silver coins Mr. Will  had tossed in over the years and when they counted it there was over $5,000.

Mr. Horan told her that since the family all got along so well why didn’t they just divide it up among themselves, and that’s what they did. I’m proud to have known this fine old gentlemen who was honest and caring and an asset to his community.   

Let me hear from you as I always appreciate your input and use it whenever possible.  My email address is cncooper1@hotmail.com or write me at P. O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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