Memories light the corner of my mind

2012 Garden Expo and Daddy 050

Today, the memories of my youth came flooding back and my waterproof eyeliner didn’t hold up.

The occasion was a special ceremony inducting Daddy (Tom Braddock), Dr. Hazard, Jerry Smith and Leon Betterton (left to right with minister Steve Davis)   into a rare fraternity called “Elders Emeritus” (It’s a Presbyterian thing.)

As I watched Daddy and Dr. Hazard join hands in the front of the church I grieved for days gone by when Daddy and Dr. Hazard, young and robust, would be rounded up out of church services – Dr.Hazard to save a calf, and Daddy to deliver a baby.  We would hear the phone ring in the church office and within minutes someone would come pull them out of church.

The pair have been best friends for 60 plus years and served on the governing body of the church throughout that period. They even have the same birthday for Pete’s sake.

After the appropriate comments about their long and faithful service, Dr. Hazard said he wanted to say something. In his slow and usually carefully measured style, he put his hand on Daddy’s shoulder and said “This man,” then broke down.  So did the rest of the congregation.  What a bittersweet moment.  Two men who lived their lives so admirably, giving and  never taking, would finally get a rest from running a church.

It was refreshing to witness such a genuine expression of love between two men who have been through life, death, joy and taxes, and survived it all to come out the other side and get to enjoy their golden years together.

Sorry, Steve, but my mind wandered briefly as I recalled all the major moments of my life which occurred in the First Presbyterian Church.  I remember Miss Nell directing the choir with her bun falling down the back of her neck, and becoming blood sisters with Olivia in the Women’s Rest Room. (We slit our fingers and rubbed them together.)  Neither of us had sisters and we solved that problem.

I remembered my wedding (vaguely), my mother’s funeral and Tom Are.  He was our minister growing up. He had been orphaned at birth and all he knew about his name was that it started with an “R”.  So he became Tom Are.  What a charismatic and wonderful man.

I remember Willie Millard taking out his glass eye  and tossing it to me during the Doxology. I remembered learning my first cuss word from Judy Moseley while we were sitting on the back row. I received a well rounded Christian education at First Pres.

Love that church.  It hasn’t changed one iota since 1963 that I could see except that many people I loved are gone….Miss Melinda, Clark Young, Homer Catledge… the list could go on and on.  But I felt their presence today.

You can go home again.

21 thoughts on “Memories light the corner of my mind

  1. Loved the story and your dad. This same goes for each of the church’s in our growing up–First Baptist, First Methodist and First Christian. Those great church leaders are to be admired regardless of their particular faith, but were great mentors in West Point. If we compiled a list of names it would go for miles. Your dad and mine were good friends and dad would talk about his times in just visiting with your dad when he would go for a check-up. I remember his coming to the visitation upon my dad’s death. It was a joy to see him and we were so thankful for him stopping by.

  2. What a wonderful example these men set for us to follow! I am proud to know them.

  3. Great to hear this about your dad. I feel so privileged to have been one of his patients in the 70’s when he delivered my daughter, Leigh. What a life he has lived! What an amazing man! I know you are proud.

  4. Wonderful moment in time! Special memories are priceless! At my small country Baptist church in South Georgia I have so many fond memories of the brothers and sisters that have went on to be with the Lord. Recalling their lives and contributions is so important to our future as a church.

  5. Thanks Crag. I went to the site and got homesick. Now, here’s the $64,000 question. Does anyone remember Marganita’s. It was a hamburger place which I think was in a train car or maybe a bus. Sat up on Highway 45, north of Mitchell Buick around 1959. No one but Jimmy Wood and I can remember it. Driving me crazy. I KNOW it was there and watched the cooks blow their noses in the burgers! Those were the days.

  6. Congratulations to all the wonderful church leaders that were honored today.
    Daddy had a nickname for everyone….Dr. TNB, Fireball Hazard…..Daddy was honored in the same way in the 90’s. He would have been proud of his friends!

    How fortunate we were to have grown up in such a loving church family.
    I may be Catholic now, but my roots will always be Presbyterian!

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing about this ceremony. Have now read this post 4 times and have cried and laughed each time. Their friendship throughout the years cannot be duplicated ~ they are two extremely special men (and fathers). Since I wasn’t able to be there yesterday, I’m especially grateful for your most poignant post and picture.

    Whenever I’m home and go to this very loving church, I immediately become about 12 years old again. I agree – you can go home again.

  8. What an awesome honor for these gentlemen!! Pillars of the community. Emily, I always think about your Dad, and how sweet he was when my Mother and Daddy began to slow down due to aging health reasons. He just knew how to handle them and always gave them the best of care and always kept
    Priscilla, Scotty and I well informed. Congratulations to all!

  9. Seems like a lady named Margret and a friend opened a barbeque joint in an old railroad car. I think it evolved into “The Little Pig” and then moved to it’s location on 45 at Lone Oak Drive. It is now a Mexican style restaurant – Jose’s?
    Everything changes.
    More than once, I would put a record on at the radio station, blitz up to pick up a barbeque, and blitz back before the record was over.

  10. Sally! So good to hear from you. Now a plug for the mothers. Sara and Vivian were best friends too. Sara is so remarkable. She hasn’t changed in 40 years – always so upbeat and caring. We are two lucky girls for sure. Very nice to reconnect with you.

  11. Emily, I remember the place you are talking about on 45 N on the right past Ellis Steel and liquor store. Yes things do change everytime I come to WP for a visit I see changes.
    Thanks for taking us down memory lane.

  12. Thank you Susanne! My classmates think I’m crazy. Marganitas. Norma tried to tell me it was a beauty shop.

    I think Marganita’s had curb service but I’m mot sure. We just used to park there and try watch the older cute boys who drove up. After seeing the cook blow her nose on her apron, I don’t think I ever ate anything.

  13. Emily,
    When you post something about memories of West Point, you get a great response. We all love it. I live in Fayetteville, GA. We are both retired and travel a lot and enjoy four grandchildren in all sort of sports.

  14. You are an excellent scribe. Have you thought of writing your dad’s bio. I know that the reason he became a doctor is interesting.

  15. Emily… I called to wish Sara Hazard a happy birthday today (Mar 29) and she told me about your blog. Doc emailed me the URL and I have loved the description of the ceremony and your memories about growing up in First Pres. My crowd are WPHS ’57 vintage and could write a BOOK of memories that most of your age would not remember! We even remember the old church between the dentist office and the old Calvert Funeral Home across the street from First Baptist…the church with the fabulous stained glass windows! We are so proud of your dad and of his outstanding career and especially of his loving heart. Thanks for your memories!

  16. How funny, Kay, that you mentioned the old church. I remember it so well and I couldn’t have been more than six when we built the new (current church). I remember going to the back of the church after Sunday School and buying six cent cokes and checking out the bottom to see where they were made. You were special if you got one bottled in Aberdeen or Starkville. I can still see the sanctuary. It was awesome. I so wish it hadn’t been destroyed, maybe it could have been sold to a smaller congragation. But then, I can’t stand to see old buildings demolished.

    I had the greatest conversation with Gordon Hazard the other night. He told me wonderful stories about all the Wall Street Giants who lived in the Point and ran the country from Main Street -the owner of Otis Elevators (who lived with Fred’s is now and owned a Rolls Royce which he kept in an underground garage), C. C. Clark the international president of Cola Cola and Mr. Levy – forget what we ran but it was really important. Maybe you can help me piece together more history. Needs to be recorded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *