Phone conversation led to memory lane

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I had an interesting phone conversation Sunday with a man who worked with me in Charleston, S.C. during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

A South Carolina native, he told me he had two reasons for calling. First, he was looking for some computer software used in writing up Federal National Flood Insurance flood claims; and secondly he wanted to tell me the daughter of an acquaintance won the title of Distinguished Young Woman of America Saturday night.

This contest was formerly known as America’s Jr. Miss, but it was changed to its present name in 2010. The winner of that contest was Tara Moore who lives in Easley, S.C.

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His phone call got me to thinking of two past winners who went on to have outstanding careers. They were Diane Sawyer in 1963 and Mary Fran in 1961.

These two ladies, along with all the contestants , were housed by respective Mobile familes for two weeks prior to their winning titles in Mobile. Sawyer became a leading world news broadcaster, especially with ABC News, but she took a turn to the “left” as we call it in politics. The tone of her newscasts seemed to adapt to liberal viewpoints. In fact, she became, and still is, very liberal in her views.

Mary Fran became a well-known actress and had starring roles in countless TV shows. The one role I remember her best was the wife of Bob Newhart in the TV series, “Newhart.” The show’s theme was embedded in a quiet, charming Vernont retreat. A very pretty lady, Mary was always in the forefront of these situation shows. But her career came to an end in 1998 when she passed away from a heart attack, such a young age to die for a beautiful young lady.

It seems only a couple of years ago we watched that popular show but it been off the air for several years.

Another Mobile contest winner passed away early this year. Yolande Betbese was selected America’s Miss America in 1951. Raised in a very conservative religious order in Mobile, she refused to compete in the MA swimsuit competition. This led to the introduction of the rival competition Miss USA contest. She was 87 when she died.

Have you ever thought about the role of Sunday school teachers in church? Most fail to recognize the many hours they prepare for their weekly lessons. And, you know these teachers appreciate class participation. It not only makes the lesson more informative, it makes the teacher’s job somewhat easier. Moreover, the authors of some of these lessons write in a manner that is sometimes “over our heads.” But the dedicated Sunday School teacher has that ability to convey the meaning of the lesson.

I often think about church “core leaders.” These are the church workers called on by the pastor to pray in the congregation and spearhead other church activities. I heard one person say they never call on me to pray. Not wanting to tell him but he should have realized he was not a core member.

Through the years, we have had some hard working Little League officers in our league. Such was the case in the 1960s when Joe Everette was our league president.

One day, he held a meeting for our league workers at his gasoline distributorship office in town. The main topic of discussion was our participation in the upcoming Regional Tournament to be held in Oxford, Ala.

After the meeting was over as we were walking down the high steps to his office, we saw three 13-to-14-year-old boys squatted down and shooting marbles in the yard’s soft sand.

Joe said “watch that tall boy when he shoots.”

As they shot from a circle, the tall boy began his turn and never turned loose. He out shot every boy in that circle and he filled four pants pockets full of marbles of all sizes. Then Joe told the winner “lets me and you shoot.” It did not take long for that tall boy to empty all four pockets as Joe knocked out marble after marble. It was such an amazing feat to see his marble shooting accuracy. Of course, and as Joe stated, he had “shot marbles all his life.”

Joe bagged up his marbles and divided them equally with all the boys.

It is hard to believe football season is just around the corner.

Wow, in about 45 days or so, we will be right in the beginning of those big games. Here it is summer now and I could swear I heard some say just the other day, “the leaves on my pecan tree are turning green.” My what happened to spring?

There will be more news next week.

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