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Samson’s got his suitcase all packed up

Mama stretched upward into her closet as she reached for the little square box, now faded with the passing years.

I turned the box over and over in my hands as I read first the top, then the sides.

“Buntees—flexible moccasins—white boot—3 ½ D” the side said. What I couldn’t believe was the price–$5.98. That seemed a little expensive to me for the mid-1960s.

I took off the lid and there sat two of the cutest, but firmest, little baby shoes with their aged shoestrings still in place from the last time they had been untied. You see, I was looking at my first pair of shoes—ever.

“I thought you might want to put these up for yourself now,” Mama told me.

I don’t know what parents do today, but during the 1950s, the first pair of baby shoes that had belonged to my oldest brothers Van and Lamar had been bronzed. I figured by the time Britt and I came along, it just wasn’t as exciting a thing to do anymore seeing as how ours were never bronzed.

“Gee, thanks, Mama,” I said, trying to make her feel guilty, but it didn’t work.

“Well, we always meant to, but by the time you and Britt came along, we just never got around to it.”

Hmmm….being the baby does not get you ALL the perks.

I turned the little shoes over and over and imagined myself taking my first steps, seeing myself fall, wondering if I cried, how many times Daddy picked me back up and helped me try again….

Those first steps led to other steps and bigger steps, which, of course, led to life decisions which led first down this road, then this path, and yet another.

And so it is with each of us.

After four years of serving as the editor of The Luverne Journal and The Lowndes Signal, it is with mixed emotions that I tell you that my path in life has taken yet another turn, and I will be leaving.

“I don’t hear no presses running!”

Mr. James Morgan has announced that to Mr. Alvin Bland inside The Journal office for the last four years, and, for the last four years it has been a very comforting constant to me. Just the fact that they are in the same building, going through the same daily routines, has been a comfort. I want to personally thank both Mr. Alvin and Mr. James for the advice and support they have given me over the years.

And I want to thank you, my readers and my friends, who have sent emails, cards, phone calls, as well as letters of love and support to me over the years.

I have met some wonderful people in Crenshaw County—I can’t walk into the Chicken Shack without stopping to visit with half the people in there—that’s just the way it is and I love it—and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

To Mr. Hugh Bagents and his dry sense of humor; the late Joe Ed Horn who told me, “Nothin’ replaces Mama”; taking pictures of the late Joe Richard Russell riding around and around the track during Relay for Life; and still missing Janet Leigh Nichols.

To singing Sacred Harp with Mrs. Cletha Norman and Mrs. Evelyn Pynes; singing with Kayo Sipper and his family; laughing with Sylvia Hughes; seeing true love in the actions of Mr. Sid Yawn; the fighting spirit of Mr. Joe Dexter Flynn; Mr. Tommy Odom and his pride in Veterans Park; and learning that Mr. Billy Carl Turner is a war hero among us.

How fortunate I have been for my footsteps to cross paths with so many wonderful people right here in Crenshaw County. I sincerely thank you for having enriched my life—I hope, in some small way, I have done the same for you as well.

Samson, my 16-pound tomcat, has his little suitcase packed, and he is ready to go. His head is hanging a little low right now, but he’ll be okay. He’s actually looking forward to his new adventures, and he sends his love and appreciation to all his fans.

“Your company’s sweet, your union dear,

Your words delightful to my ear,

Yet when I see that we must part,

You draw like cords around my heart.”

“Parting Hand”

A Sacred Harp tune

Thank you for the sweet memories you have given me. May God bless you all.