Remembering well

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Man alive, I am in my home state of Georgia, planned on purpose, to be with my much slimmer number of high school (still surviving) classmates as we we celebrated our 61st graduation anniversary on June 2nd. How did it happen? Where did more than half a century go? How did we get here? I asked this pondering question of one of my best friends since second grade, Millie Jones Pincus. I jokingly kid Millie and say I have to be good to her because she knows where all the bodies are.

Those that remain and are healthy enough will meet this coming Wednesday to officially do lunch together and to reminisce about the good old days when we were young, handsome, carefree, and about to conquer the world.

Yesterday, all day long, one of my best friends from high school, Perry Sheppard (he was a senior when I was a mere tenth grader), met for our own nostalgic observance. We talked, put miles on his new truck, visited his very successful 57 year old businesses at Sheppard Trucking, and met three of his talented and hard working children.

We then drove to my old church, Forrest Hills Baptist in Decatur, GA., where I spent so much of my life, working as Administrative Assistant to Dr. Curtis Hutson, and writing and teaching. We choose other old sites that meant something to one of us, and toured the well known cemeteries where so many of our friends are now remembered. Drove toward Snellville and visited the graveside of Dr. Hutson who went to Heaven in 1995 after battling cancer. Seemed so shocking and strange to see Sherry Hutson Camperson, his eldest child’s name on a marker next to the big pink marble one honoring him.

We decided we would eat delicious and quite famous Georgia BBQ for our late lunch. It was an excellent choice we soon decided.

As I sat in a very old, very familiar restaurant near North Lake, the sweet waft of Georgia BBQ drifted across the room, and carried my mind ever so quickly back through the years. That one smell caused me to remember the last time I met my good buddy, Herman Carruth, now deceased, there very early in the morning for his favorite breakfast. We both were/are early risers. I got lost in the many memories of eating there with my Uncle Donald Baughcum, who loved the place and taught me life. I remembered another of my best buds, Russell Richardson, and so many others.

When our food was delivered to the table, I was awash in fresh tears, not of sadness, but of great joy. It was just so much remembering and the thoughts of so many friends and events. Just wished Ginger Doster, Ben Johnson, Sandy Teal, Tim Talton, and Tommy Barnes could have been with us for the day at least.

One of the best parts of the day was when my friend automatically bowed his head and prayed our blessing. I am a fairly good judge of people, mostly because of my profession for so many years, and it was quite evident my friend knew well who he was talking to in that earnest prayer. You could genuinely know from the heart that the two of them were mighty good friends and very accustomed to discussing all kinds of things with each other.

My old and delightful life memories swirled in my now almost eight decade old mind, and we laughed until we cried. We both have known intense heartache in the loss of deeply loved spouses and blessed joy in the great love of family and friends and we remain confident in our faith. At the end of the day, we both agreed we are of all men (and women) most blessed. Can hardly wait to see what the next years bring. And these memories, so dear to our hearts now in this old world, are but a gentle preview of our eternity. What a tremendous, happy reunion that will be.

And as we left the building, the age old question came to mind – “What do you wear to a semi reunion of old classmates celebrating 61 years of friendship?” “What matches walkers, a set of crutches or two, scooters, prescription bottles, and slower steps?” My friend’s competent and quick answer, “Whatever you want at this age.”

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or,
[email protected]


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