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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Saturday, October 22, 2005


In the days of yore I remember viewing an old photograph – circa 1950 – that showed members of a family beside their automobile. The car was a tan, four door, 1948 Chevrolet and it was parked in a dirt driveway of a house on Hickman Road in Augusta, Georgia.

There were several family members in the photo, but the two main ones that catch the edges of my memory were two lads with very blond hair – they were called “cotton tops” back then. I knew both of these boys quite well, but the older of the two was the one whose life and times I have followed with great interest over the years. We became very close friends later in life – though I didn’t care much for him at the beginning.

The many instances in his life that helped develop his character and elemental social skills come back to mind from time to time. The formation of strong determination – some might call this stubbornness – was helped along by something as simple as a game of tag in grammar school.

He was the chaser and the chased was a taller, faster classmate. The chase lasted a good portion of the recess period but determination caused the larger boy to become exhausted and caught. This taught the blonde one the value of not giving up.

Another part of him I saw develop was his love for music and singing. Since he was too young for the choir at church, even though his father was the director, he sat down front in the congregation and on the sly played the famous instrument of comb and paper – somewhat in tune with the choir.

In this same church he learned great respect for God’s presence and power as he witnessed many spiritual signs in the lives of the minister and congregation during the services. During an awesome ministering service, he once saw mist fill the church - almost like smoke - and he perceived this to indicate the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

I also witnessed his growing consciousness of the need to have a relationship with God. His seeking – though mostly motivated by fear – led him to strive to do all the right things – most of the time.

I was also around when he started to realize that girls were different than boys. He held young ladies in such high esteem that he couldn’t imagine them doing anything in the bathroom other than to powder their pretty little noses. Now he had sisters and knew that they had other bodily functions happen in that little room, but they were sisters, not girls, and girls were just too nice and dainty for stuff like that.

Many lessons and experiences later – about the time he had the “thou shalt nots” committed to memory – he was out of high school and in military service. I do not recall him consciously striving to “do” all the “don’ts” he had learned, but that was the end result during his time in the Army.

He never fought in war against a physical enemy, but the spiritual conflict he was involved in was just as real – and just as deadly in the end. One evening he again found himself in the presence of the Truth. It was then, and only then, that he realized he had lost every battle he had fought because he had been alone in the fight.

The Truth brought back the teachings of his younger years and he once again accepted the help and friendship of the only true Friend anyone would ever have. That was really the time I became his lifelong friend as well. ec


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