If I could visit with those who are forever gone, whom would I choose——-and what would we say ?


In NO order of importance, respect, or love, here are some thoughts :


RICHARD BIELSKI, former senior pastor at Lavonia First Baptist.  I would say,  ” Share with me your faith and wisdom. ”  And he would put his arm around me and respond by saying that my strong Methodist indoctrination would not be influenced by anything he could say.  Not true, of course, and we enjoyed our many discussions, always agreeing that the similarities far out-weighed any differences.  Not my pastor, but  always my guardian angel.    A special person indeed.      OH, TO VISIT WITH HIM ONCE AGAIN  !

J. FRED POWER (  “J-Bone ” to those of us who loved him ) , fellow teacher at Winder-Barrow High School in the 60s, dear friend, and Chuck’s Godfather.  I would say ,  ” Quote me your poetry. ” And he would respond with lines of his own or  the classics,  and his  very own sense of humor.  He laughed at himself, loved the high school kids he taught, and added his own special touch to his English students at Georgia Southwestern (  including REP. ALAN POWELL , I believe  ).    A special person indeed.       OH, TO VISIT WITH HIM ONCE AGAIN !

JANNA BLANCHE TONEY, Byron’s mother .  I would ask her,  ” How did you do it ?  How did you raise 6 children successfully ? ”  And she would answer that sometimes it was difficult, with demands coming from all directions, with money being scarce on occasion, and with one pregnancy after another.  But being a woman of great faith she would assure me that the good Lord provided—— always did and always would.     A special person indeed.       OH, TO VISIT WITH HER ONCE AGAIN !

JOSEPHINE HALEY PULLIAM ,  my aunt, whom my cousins and I affectionately called  ” Chee-chee” .  I would say,  ” What made you, you ? ”  And she would respond with stories of her childhood, her time at La Grange College, where she took all the English, history, and religion that was offered and came home with much knowledge, but no degree.  She would say that she was bored on her honeymoon, that  Lavonia First Methodist was her bedrock,   and that the Haley family , her anchor.    A special person indeed.        OH, TO VISIT WITH HER ONCE AGAIN !

DANNY DURHAM, former  head football coach at Franklin County High School,  gone too soon .  I would say,  ” Tell me again all the stories of your short life “.  And he would grin and have me in stitches with one tale after another.  He was wise for his age and gentle for such a gifted athlete——one of the most genuine people I’ve ever known.  He was truly my  ” son-by-another-mother “.   A special person indeed.         OH, TO VISIT WITH HIM ONCE AGAIN !

DR. DON FUHR , Clemson University Professor Emeritus and my graduate advisor and mentor.  I would say,  ” Tell me again what makes a successful  leader .”  And he would respond with anecdotes of his time as Superintendent of a large Chicago suburban school district.  And he would continue with words like INTEGRITY, PERSEVERANCE, FOCUS, DEDICATION, RESPECT, AND LOVE.  I learned so much from him, both in and out of the classroom, but I never learned enough to be the leader he expected.  A special person indeed.         OH, TO VISIT WITH HIM ONCE AGAIN !

GEORGE SEABORN HALEY AND MARTHA LONG HALEY , my mama and my daddy, the two people who taught me independence, reliability, respect for differences, focus, perseverance, and love.  They loved me unconditionally, but cut me no slack !   I would say,  ” Tell me again the stories of  YOU,  the two most important people in my life until I married. ”  And they would say that their love for each other ran deep, but not necessarily smooth, much like a stream that keeps moving while hitting crevices and stones.  And they would say that they expected much of me, that to whom much is given, much is expected.  And they would say that life is a roller coaster, always moving with unexpected twists and turns , adding that love trumps all :   the doubts, the fears, the failures……..for the greatest of these is love.  The two most special people of all.         OH, DEAR GOD, JUST ONE MORE VISIT  ……………..

——————–  ( If  YOU  could  ,  who and what  ? )   —————-