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So Long Dear Friend

On January thirteenth, 2014, Greenwood said farewell to one of its most beloved citizens. H.B. Stewart was one of the wealthiest people I have ever known. No, not in monetary things, but in true friends. Friends of a lifetime. He was far richer than if he had silver and gold because of his helpmate, and love of his life, Barbara. I know it is not easy being a coach’s wife, sitting at ballgame after ballgame listening to people shouting not so nice things to your husband. He could have looked the world over and never found another Barb.

From the time H.B. was a little boy people loved him, especially all the little girls. He was the only little boy in the neighborhood with all the little girls. He was invited to all the Birthday Parties and was always there. There was just a cow pasture between the back of our house and the back of the Stewart house. I have always felt like H.B. was a part of our family.

The Stewarts lived just across the street from the old rock school which is now known as the ROX, the beautiful home of the Ed Wilkinsons. Just down the street from the school, on the corner, was a two story house the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson. The late Louise Angeletta and her husband, Joe, lived in the upstairs apartment. Louise said one day she came in at noon and as she started upstairs she heard someone in the Johnsons’ kitchen. Knowing the Johnsons were not at home she peeped in the kitchen to see if she could see who it was. Sitting at the kitchen table eating something was H.B. He had run off from home and had made his way to the Johnson house.

One really cold day sister Jane, dressed in her snowsuit, was at the Stewarts playing with H.B. I guess they were three or four years old. The two kids were playing in the back yard where a fish pond was located. They decided to see if they could lift each other. When H.B. tried to lift Jane he dropped her in the fish pond. Luckily Mr. Stewart saw it happened and pulled her out and brought her home as wet as a dish rag and it freezing cold. He was laughing so hard he could hardly talk and my Mama was so mad at him she could hardly talk because he had not wrapped her up. I would have loved to have seen that little episode.

One time the Methodist Church had a Tom Thumb Wedding. He was going to be the groom. There was almost a battle royal over which little girl was going to marry him.

I think he was born to be a leader because as far back as I can remember he had young people gathering around him. I told him one time he was like a honey comb attracting ants. He said something to me several years ago that I have never forgotten. I said, “I was going to HAVE to do the Children’s service at church.” He said, “You don’t HAVE to do it, you GET to do it.” A big difference.

Speaking of the Children’s service, I will tell you what I heard. For some reason I was not at church this Sunday when H was to do the Children’s service. Here he comes down the aisle leading a little goat. Hershel McClurkin was pastor of the church at that time. When his wife, Mardell, saw H and the goat she grabbed a garbage sack and followed him down the aisle holding it under the little goat’s back end. Who but H would do think of bringing a live goat to church for the Children’s sermon?

Every spring I could expect a mess of poke. It was even washed and ready to cook, thanks to Barb. Even after he got sick I still got my mess of poke. He knew how I love the call of the whippoorwill. Late one evening, several years ago, he called me to tell me they had been sitting outside listening to their call. I could go on and on about our dear friend, but will stop here. His life reminded me of the poem by Sam W. Foss. “Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” With HEAVY HEART I WILL SAY, “SO LONG DEAR FRIEND.”

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