By now you’ve heard many of my “Robert Harrell stories” – he’s one of the funniest people on the planet, and probably a genius to boot. To know him is to love him, to quote a very old song.
Today, his antics took a spiritual turn, when he dedicated the Harrell Family Chapel which he constructed on his front lawn on Old Waverly Road in West Point. It is set near the greenhouse, party barn and log house he built over the past few years. Literally, he built them with his own hands and boards hewn from trees on his land, plus a little help from friends and family members.
Above from left, Robert greets his guests including Josh Stevens (who delivered the church blessing), Dr. Tom Braddock and college fraternity brother Jack Vaughan of Starkville.
“I had originally planned to build the replica of an old saloon,” he said with his characteristic 10,000 watt smile. “But a spirit came to me in the night and urged me to build a church instead.”
His brother-in-law, Kenny Dill, leaned over to me and whispered, “That spirit was named Caroline.” Caroline is Robert’s long suffering wife of more than 50 years who sits patiently by and watches her husband whirl through life like a spinning top. They are polar opposites.
But as my friend Jack said, “Can you imagine two Roberts living in one house!?” It could never work.
Neighbor Bubba Atkins (my best friend Norma’s husband) was a major player in the project. His job was to keep Robert focused – no small task, but then, he’s gotten a lot of practice with Norma.
Robert’s first project was the mini replica in the foreground which he built years ago, when his seven children were still at home.
Having his old friend Josh deliver the blessing was a blessing in itself. Josh has been critically ill and literally left his hospital bed to perform the happy chore. Even the weather cooperated. Just as the ceremony began, the sun appeared from the dark gloomy sky and guests were magically treated to a beautiful fall day.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Robert didn’t strike a deal with God himself to deliver up such a perfect day.