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Helping A Neighbor Was A Way Of Life

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  
One of the good things I remember about the time I lived with Papa and Nannie Badley on their farm was how people in those days went out of their way to help each other. This is about one of them, Elmer Higginboth-am, a life-long family friend.  
Elmer was an avid fox hunter and over the years he and Uncle Charlie hunted together every time Uncle Charlie visited from Chi-cago. The rest of the time he hunted with Howard Kelly, Runt Henderson and Dr. Stacy. Like Uncle Charlie, he kept full-blooded fox hounds such as Walkers and Trumbos and was very protective of them.
During World War II, Mother worked at defense jobs in Grenada and Papa and I worked the farm primarily looking after our herd of cows and hogs. On my 13th birthday, Papa fell from his saddle mare,  Bessie, and broke his hip.  Nannie was crippled with arthritis and was unable to work outside the home, so it was left up to me to run the place.
Elmer was in the Valley that next Saturday, heard about my accident and came by to check on me. He never did own a good automobile and when he went out to leave it wouldn’t start. He was forced to walk several miles across the bottom to get home.  
When he got there, his disabled mother had fallen several hours earlier and was unable to get up. She contacted pneumonia and died several days later.
As Papa got better, Elmer volunteered to come over several days a week to get him out of bed and help him start walking. Elmer was in his late 40s at that time and strong enough to lift Papa to his feet and start him walking again. He did this for some time and would never accept money ,even though he walked most of the time from his house to ours.
Once Elmer came down and killed hogs for us. Another time, when one of our cows died in the corral, he hitched our mules and dragged the body away, still refusing any pay.
He also wrote a column for several years similar to this one in the Oxford Eagle.  He and I remained good friends as long as he lived and I’ll never forget the kindness he showed us without being asked.  
On another subject, on May 26, 1933, Mississippi’s famous Blues and County singer, Jimmie Rodgers, died in his New York hotel after a long bout with Tuberculosis. He was only 36. In a career that lasted only six years, he recorded 85 sides and was RCA Victor’s biggest star.  
Recently I heard some digitally enhanced songs and it’s easy to see why he was such a big star. He was awesome. He body was brought to his home town of Meridian to be buried. In 1953 they started an annual Jimmy Rodgers day in his memory.  
If my plans work out I plan to be in the Valley Memorial Day and hopefully I’ll get to see many of you.  My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.

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