I felt a ping, one that says we all need a little fun, a little uplifting, a little nonsense. Going back to those long-ago days in a small Southern town leads me to some real characters, the kinds that remind us of Mayberry and Andy Griffith. Enjoy——–because if you grew up in Lavonia, you will remember and identify. And if you grew up in another small town, maybe this will jog your own memories of those special individuals. I hope so.
During the ’50s there were two drugstores in Lavonia, on the square, side-by-side. The teens hung out at Vandiver’s and the men in town, at Hicks’. One of the funny stories that came out of Hicks’ Drugs had to do with a nice man who was a little different. He had a good job, was well-liked but was———-different.
One day he was excited because it was his mother’s birthday, and the family was planning a celebration. And in telling the other men about it, he happily said, ” Today is Mother’s birthday. She’s 66 and I’m 33. That means when she was 40, I was 20, and when she was 20, I was 10—————- HELL, that ain’t right !!!! ” This tale traveled the town and made everybody’s day. Different ??? Delightful.
Lavonia High School had no band back in the day, so there was no organized or sanctioned half-time entertainment as we know it now. But we had entertainment, and he, too was a nice person, but was ——— different. His gift to Lavonia was his ability to run.
To much cheering ( and gambling among the fans ) he would start at one goal post and run the length of the field until he “scored”. An upstanding Lavonia citizen would time him with a stopwatch while much betting went on among the other upstanding Lavonia citizens. The stakes were always low ; it was just another way to enjoy the half-time performance. Truly innocent fun for all. But, most important, it was a win-win for the runner and for the small-town, small-time bettor who won. Friday nights in the fall were this “different ” individual ‘s night to shine, and shine he did ! I see nothing wrong with that. Different ???? Delightful.
And then there were others, those that were not “different” at all, but simply colorful characters. One example of that was ” Brown ” , whose name was Mrs. “Something ” Brown, but she was never referred to as anything but “Brown”. She was the local telephone operator who sat upstairs in a building on Grogan Street, totally in charge of everyone’s calls. Not only did she monitor who was talking with whom, but she observed the goings and comings of all Lavonia’s citizens from her windowed catbird seat.
And we think we lack privacy now !!!!!!!
She knew who was running around with whom, when Mr. Weldon left the funeral home to pick up a body and whose body it was, how many people had lunch at the hotel, which ladies used which beauty shop, where the fire was when the trucks went out, who shopped at Brock’s and who shopped at Cawthon’s, where the ladies were going when they were “dressed up “, and if asked, I’m sure she could tell you what God was doing at a given time. She was the town crier, the telescope, the magnifying glass, and, in today’s world, social media. Different ??? No. Delightful indeed.
These characters are the pieces of a very large puzzle that add color and interest to any community. How dull our world would be if we were simply clones of each other. I treasure the memories of so many through the years, those that have touched me and lifted me up and given me a laugh. Prayerfully, I hope I always remember with a smile on my face all of those who dared to make their differences into delights, and in turn, becoming a delight to others. After all, they are, truly, the jam on the toast !
There are more, of course, and I would love for you to scroll down to comments and tell me some of your stories.