Sunday, March 28, 2010

Late Postings

i have been delinquent this past week. Some very important business, some immediate work on household needs, daughter's mid-term project, daughter going to see her sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, and Maureen's birthday took my attention away from writing stuff.

So this is catch-up, sort of...

Last Monday's column from my Lebanon Democrat work is included. Leading off is my tribute to a beautiful woman who turns 401K withdrawal age today, even though she looks world's younger, an incredible accomplishment considering she has had to put up with me for twenty-eight years.

i will try to get back to regular posts this ensuing week. Today is dedicated to the woman i write of.

To Maureen

i have nothing to give this morning.
i feel ashamed;
it is a significant step in a meaningful year for you
i have nothing to give.

i would have shopped for you
i know several shops with things you would like;
i thought of getting airplane tickets or
room reservations
to places you would like to go
money’s tight, and you more than I,
have serious concerns about spending
i have nothing to give.

i am ashamed because
you have given me so much;
oh, you have, by mutual agreement,
been the major wage earner for our marriage;
oh, you are the instigation for living in this house;
your sense of style and grace have appointed it
in comfort and taste.

You have given me our daughter;
You have become a mother to our other daughter;
You are Grandma Mo;

You have taught me finer things in life;
introduced me to gracious new friends,
become close to my friends;
You are my editor, in writing and in life;
You are my friend;
You are my lover;
I cannot give you anything…

but me, a piddling little something,
my love, which is greater than fate or the universe.

- Bonita, California
- March 28, 2010

A Sad Note Before a Story of Spring

SAN DIEGO – Regretfully, I must start this column on a sad note: Mrs. Emmy Lou Dowdy passed away Saturday in Montgomery, Alabama.

Unfortunately as I write this column, my only source for information has been my mother’s email. I will not deal with particulars here because I’m sure “The Democrat” will cover her passing thoroughly elsewhere in this edition.

Mr. and Mrs. Roy Dowdy were pillars in the Lebanon community when I was growing up. He was the Superintendant of the Lebanon City School system, and she was a third grade teacher at McClain Elementary School. Byars-Dowdy Elementary School was named for Mr. Dowdy and H.M. Byars, both of whom were close friends of my family.

William LeRoy Dowdy is their oldest son and my life-long friend. He and I went to Sunday school, church, and the Methodist Youth Fellowship together for most of our first 18 years. We attended Castle Heights together, where he was editor of the award winning “Cavalier” newspaper and I was the sports editor in our senior year.

As always, he topped me academically that year. He and I both were awarded Naval ROTC scholarships, he to Duke where he graduated and received his Navy commission, and I to Vanderbilt where my chase for adventure took off.

LeRoy is currently a professor at Alabama State University in Montgomery where he moved Mrs. Dowdy to a care facility so he could be with her on a continual basis. He has written me that he read JB Leftwich’s and my “Democrat” columns to his mother each week.

Emily, the younger child, is now an attorney in Panama City, FL.
Growing up, I thought they were the smartest family on the planet, but I will always remember how kind both Mr. and Mrs. Dowdy were to me.

And of course along with my parents, they were members of the long standing bridge club, which included Snooks and Bettye Kate Hall, JB and Jo Doris Leftwich, Bob and Syble Spain, and Charlie and Erma Baird among others. I will not list all of the others as an old column of JB’s is the definitive work on that group.

I will miss Mrs. Dowdy. She was an elegant and erudite woman in that special generation of strong women.

Perhaps a story from my mother best describes her. When my brother Joe was entering third grade, he was already demonstrating intelligence beyond mine.

My mother with her inside information as Mr. Dowdy’s secretary – even the term of executive assistant would not adequately cover her job description – told my brother the name of his new teacher. Recognizing the value of intellectual and kind teachers, he cried and said, “But I want Mrs. Dowdy.”

I think that pretty well sums it up.

* * *

Last week, it turned spring in the Southwest corner, about a week before the official date of spring.

I know because I saw about two dozen men wearing shorts during my Friday morning golf round. The vast majority of those legs should never be seen in shorts, especially after a three month hiatus in long pants. It was pretty ugly.

The sight brought back a recollection from home many years ago. I was around seven and the time was May or June, not at the cusp of spring and winter, certainly warm enough for one of my age to be put in shorts.

We had piled into the 1948 dark green Pontiac and driven out North Cumberland to HM and Fanny Byars’ farm, which was one farm south of where the Castle Heights Avenue extension runs into US 231 North. Harry and Bill Byars, both a number of years older than me were in the field just past the gate. Both were wearing denim jeans.

I was envious and entreated my mother to let me wear jeans. I was big enough. She refused. I wasn’t old enough, and besides, shorts looked “real nice” on young boys.

Out here in the Southwest corner, I wear shorts from March through November except for going out and when on business. I have two sets of jeans, which I take home and wear over Christmas.

And next Friday, my legs will join all of those others that shouldn’t be seen.

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