Last Wednesday was a most unusual day, both at home and at the office.
Got up at my usual four o’clock, dressed hurriedly and left for work. Knew the papers would be heavy—contained the Graduation Section. Jim volunteered to help, but there’s little a second person can do, so I told him to catch up a little on his lost sleep.
Went down the hill with my foot on the brake—which I rarely do— having seen all the green debris in the driveway and knowing I have a tree destined to fall at the foot of the hill. It was a good thing I was cautious, because sure enough, about two-thirds down, there was a three foot tree completely blocking the drive (not the one I had expected to fall).
Don’t know that we could have climbed over and certainly there was no way to get the van by it. I walked back up the drive in almost total darkness—all flashlights had been taken into the house for some reason. Reaching the front door I remembered I’d left the house key in the van.
I was not going to maneuver that drive again in the dark, so I rapped loudly on the door and woke Jim up. He dressed, we found lights and went back for him to assess the situation. His conclusion was the same as mine—we needed a chainsaw and someone to use it.
Back up the hill I first called Jack to get him to meet Paper Deliverer Rick. My phone rang and it was David calling to tell us not to hurry to work. The Panolian had been without power Tuesday night and therefore the Heralds would be late—probably arriving about noon.I didn’t have Jack’s cell number, so David had to call him back and tell him he could go back to bed.
Didn’t have a phone book, so could not call all the stores to tell them we’d be late. They were all so sweet, telling me they were not worried about the papers, but were very concerned about me.
Then I called Brother Bo and he and Carolyn came and cut us out. While I had them here I found more chores for them to do before they went back to help Jimmie care for Mom.
Jim and I went on to work at the office and I delivered the papers during lunch hour. It was strange delivering at that hour instead of the usual early morning time—missed my sausage and biscuit at Dunn’s.
Jim had waited to eat with me so I introduced him to BTC’s lunch menu.
Think he became addicted to their food before he left for home. He was glad to meet Kagan and Alexi, their children, Annaliese and Cas-pian, and the rest of the staff there. We even got a tour of the Parker Building that Jim had grown up loving and he was pleased with what Kagan had done with it.
Other new Vallians he met were Amos Harvey, his wife, Coulter Fussell and one of their sons, Amos Henry; Mickey Howley and others. Many, many folks whom he grew up with stopped by and he enjoyed seeing them all—usually when he’s home he only sees family and Woodland Hills family.
Larry Schmitz stopped when we were coming up the street to visit for a few minutes. Larry and Jim were in band together and the night Jim got food poisoning Larry helped me get him into the station wagon—I loved that kid before then and have love him more since. He also helped with Ed once when we were sure he was having a heart attack—this was after he was an EMT. He’s just a handy fellow to have around. Jim also loved his grandmother, the late Mrs. Mary Rusk, who owned Rusk 5c&10c Store, and his Mom and Dad, Lila and Bobby.
Jim had planned to go back home last Tuesday, but his plans changed drastically. He and David decided that we needed to get a dumpster and start cleaning out the old building.
Davy Kilgore (his grandmother says we are distant cousins) was in the office and promptly got us a 30-yard container, which I thought we’d never fill—turns out we needed at least two.
Jim, deciding that some of the stuff might be useable by others, made a free sign and started piling up the bench. It went away as fast as he put it out. He came to the office and reported, “I didn’t need a dumpster, all I needed was a free sign.” If so much had not gone away we’d have need three containers.
We also have my save pile, an area for scrap metal, one for yard sale items, and later in the year Davy will have to bring us another dumpster.
We’ve all found muscles we had not used in years and they do get sore.
Jim’s and mine’s deep appreciation go to Mark and Claudia Anthony, who have worked so hard helping us. Would never have been able to do it without them. I told several folks that Mark filled up at least two-thirds of the container—and he really did. He and Jim lifted the heavy stuff—I’d never have been able to lift my half, so was glad Mark was there.
When Mark was not around David, Jack, and others were pressed into service. Also Betty and Al, Chad and Kelli, along with Hunter and Grayson came to help several times. Hunter and Grayson carried boxes of junk and actually could toss it over into the dumpster. They worked liked little beavers for several hours. Thanks to all of you.
Julie Ingram Tyler and daughters came by for a few minutes. Jim, teasing, came up and told Julie her time was up, otherwise he’d bring her a broom and she had to go to work. Julie and I occasionally get to speak to each other, but never have time to visit. We were having a great time, but she says, “I’d better get our of here or Jim’s going to get me.” She does have to come back for us to continue our conversation about Ed and her parents, D.R. and Linda, when Jim is not around. We both knew we could have talked all day and he really didn’t care—but it was more fun to obey his instructions.
I wish we’d had a visitors register—didn’t realize one was needed for a building cleaning—because it would have been interesting to see who all came by. And many are coming in to tell me that they were sorry they missed visiting.
We found valuable stuff we’d been looking for for years—also found some things we’d just as soon never have seen again.
The clean up will continue and Jim hopes to get back in late summer to complete the job.
Monday night we went up to Oxford for supper with Uncle Rance and Aunt Ginny and on Thursday night Bo cooked deer steak for Jim at MamMaws. Eighteen family members joined us there. Her house is small, so we were sitting on the floor in the LR, at the dining table and even overflowed to the outside—it was a nice night. Jim got to see the two babies and meet Michael’s wife, Missy, and her son, Jack—lots of new family members.
The rest of his meals were leftovers from Sunday lunch and the good food in WV. He remarked, “I remember when you could only get a hamburger and Coke, or doughnut at Miles Pastry Shop. It’s amazing to get all this exotic food in the Valley.” He stayed eight days—longest visit since Ed died— and my grocery shopping was a dozen eggs and a few diet Cokes. He really didn’t eat high on the hog at home this visit. He did get creamed corn, peas, lima beans, fried okra, cornbread and baked ham when he arrived and we took all the leftovers, which he ate all week, and then the family had made a pulled pork barbecue lunch on his final Sunday and he got plenty of desserts—including some great Betty Davis sugar cookies.
Jim left Monday morning for home. He spent Monday night in Dallas with best friend, Greg Lizenby, and then would get to Las Cruces for supper with Celeste on Tuesday. He had been away from home for two weeks, so I’m sure she was looking forward to seeing him.
However, my house was sure empty when I got home yesterday—was glad Mark and Claudia stopped by. Then last night I had no one to say goodnight to.