Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

  Ed Hill stopped by to  pick up extra copies of the Herald, which included the Veterans section, to share with relatives. He and Wayland (Dean’s son) had supplied information and pictures of three of the Hill family that served in World War II. Ed brought a list of several other members of the family who had also served.
    Brothers, Billy Jack Hill, had been in the local unit of the National Guard for two years; Tommy Hill, was also in the local unit of the National Guard for two years; Ed and Betty’s son, Ronald Kelly Hill, spent three years in the Army Reserve during Desert Storm.
  All of these men and women who served our country are deeply appreciated.  We thank the Hill family and the many other families who shared information and pictures with us to include in the section.
  We have had a tremendous response to this publication, so many calling or coming by to say that they had no idea of the service by members of the Valley.
  Many others said that they were sorry they had not taken the time to find pictures and write articles about their family members. They encouraged us to do it again next year and they’d get them included.
  Had a note from long-time friend, Barry Bolen of Niceville, Florida, included with his renewal. It reads, “Thanks for keeping us all up on what’s going on at “HOME,” even though many of us subscribers have been away for 50 years, or so.
  “I don’t know quite how to express what makes the Valley so special to me. However, it seems I have plenty of company who have that ‘same ole feeling.’”
  “Keep up the much more than good work.”
  Thanks for writing, Barry. It’s always great to hear from you.
  A note from Joe Pegram of Oxford about the death of Don Lancaster was interesting and I think it will be enjoyed by many of you.
  “I was happy to see the Herald print the obituary for Don Lancaster. Since he had been away from Water Valley for so long, I thought that might not happen. We old-timers remember that his Dad, Johnson Lancaster, was a long time car salesman for Dixie Hendricks.
  “Bob Brooks told me that Don called him and said he was going in for a heart valve replacement. Obviously something went very wrong.
  “I played with Don a lot during grammar school days, but opted to become a meathead in high school while  he opted for other activities. I did have an association with him every day though, because I used to race down the back steps from the study hall to get a place in his car at lunch time. He would drop me off at Dad’s store and we would go to lunch. Same procedure to reach the gym during basketball season, the gym being where City Hall is now located.
  “Everyone liked Don, but no one thought he was exceptionally talented: we were all wrong. During Don’s photography days Gaylon Booker told me you couldn’t buy a postcard in Memphis that did not have a Don Lancaster photograph on it.
  “Then, to be a motorcycle policeman for many years, overlapping a 35-year career as a river boat captain boggles my mind. Water Valley has had many success stories over the years by people whom you did not suspect. Don is near or at the top of the list. Perhaps all the success stories are because Water Valley was so much like Mayberry.”
  Thanks for writing Joe.
  One of the first folks I met when I came to the Valley was Don. He was a classmate of Ed’s and would always come by to see us when he came back home for a visit. He was one of the most likeable people I’d ever known and remained the same until the end of his life. Always had a big smile and a kind word.
  Got to introduce him to Jim a couple of years ago. We were at Tunica, visiting the museum and intended to take a ride on the Tunica Queen. Found that it only made one trip a day on weekdays and that began at two and ended at four in the afternoon—no night rides. We were talking to the lady at the desk of the museum when the boat docked, so we excused ourselves, went outside to wait for Don. It had been several years since I’d seen him and Jim asked, “Do you think he’ll know you?” Well, he spotted us about halfway up the drive to the museum and I saw that big smile. When the golf cart he was riding in stopped, the yelled, “What are you doing here?” My reply was, “Came to see you.” He had to go around the fence to get to us and, as he did, Jim says, “I think he remembers you.” Don acted as our guide in the museum for about a third of the tour and it was wonderful having him share so much knowledge about the exhibits.
  Next (and last) time I saw him was at the class reunion a couple of years ago. Sat next to him and we had a great time. Had intended on getting back over to take a ride on the Queen, with him as captain. Guess I have missed my chance to do that, but Jim and and I still plan to make that trip—though we know it will not be nearly as much fun without Don.
  Sympathy is extended to his family. We’ll all miss him.
  In this week’s Herald there is the obituary of another of Ed’s classmates, Billy Evans of Como. Billy was another of the fun member of this class.
  For years he brought me gravel for my driveway—until I paved it a few  years back. A couple of weeks ago we needed sand at Mom’s and it was delivered by Evans Sand and Gravel. Was on the phone when the delivery was made so I didn’t get out to speak—thinking it was Billy making the delivery. Brother Bo said, “No the driver was Billy’s son, Mike.” I asked about Billy and neither he or Rance knew how he was doing.
  Sympathy is extended to his family and sister, Bet Gurner, and brother, Jim, both of Water Valley. Will miss him.
  A note from Rev. Dr. William E. Sissell, Jr. of Chatham, Massachusetts came with his renewal. Also enclosed was a tribute to the last oak tree in the park, which was published in last week’s edition.
  Dr. Sissell wrote, “Thanks for the subscription reminder. I am pleased to report that the Herald has been arriving either on the Saturday or on the Monday following publication date. However, I am never unhappy when it is later as I am glad to receive it at any time.”
  Thanks for the tribute to the old tree, Dr. Sissell—many people enjoyed it. Also we’re always glad to get an update on the delivery schedule of the post office. Thanks for subscribing.
  Had a good week in the nursing home with Mom. She’s improving daily. Did get to cook a little. We had a desert social Sunday night and I made lemon pies and a cheesecake. Was fun—I do like to cook.
  Bathroom is coming on nicely—should be done in another week or so.
  Congratulations to the Blue Devils. Keep up the good work.

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