I got a new job. Soon, I’ll be working in and moving to Nashville, Ill., where I’ll be taking over as the Managing Editor of the Nashville News. I am, of course, extremely excited.
Flora, where I live now, has been good to me though. I’ve met a lot of folks I’ve liked, mostly through work. I even met my wife here, but she doesn’t count for this, because I’m taking her with me. Sorry Clay County.
Anyways, I decided to do “Farewell Photos” images of some of those folks who I’ve really enjoyed working with and knowing around here. I’ll try to say a bit about each person or group, but who knows where this will go. The only real prerequisite here is that I like this person or group. That said, not everyone I’ve liked is here, so if you aren’t, don’t be offended. Also, this is just the first post, so there’s more to come. Here we go:
Here’s Flora’s Mayor, Bob Tackitt (Right), and Flora’s Economic Development Director Dan Sulsberger (Left). I had a story about these two I always wanted to get into the paper and never really did. Both of these guys are from Flora originally and both of them found themselves serving their country in a small Southeast Asian nation that was most certainly not Flora, around 40 years ago or so. Well, I don’t know if they met up there, how well they knew each other back here at that point or what, but they ended up having serial numbers just one digit apart. Big coincidence in a small world.
Robert Ferguson here. Also known as “Bob” and “Fergy.” Bob always comes into the office to talk to us, B.S., and tell us, literally, about how awesome he is. He got the post office building in town named for him, is a Mason and a Shriner, a member of the DAV, a WWII Navy vet and a whole lot more, which he’d love to tell you about. He’s here because I like chatting with him and because now he can say he’s on the Internet, which I’m guessing he’d love.
Here’s Dave Lewis, or “Buddy” Dave. He’s called that because he calls everyone ‘buddy.’ A lot. If you move to Flora and you don’t have a friend, relax, you’ve got one automatically with Dave. He cruises around town in a cherry Red Ford Mustang with license plates that say “HI UALL,” and he does tons of volunteer work, from what I can see, pretty much all the time. When I took this photo, he was painting fire hydrants. One morning I got up and came out on my front porch to get a “Hey Buddy” from Dave as he was out mowing an elderly neighbors lawn. It’s not to much of a stretch to say that if there were more Dave Lewises, we could do away with things like war and hatred and probably anger. The word ‘buddy’ would get used more than the word ”snow’ by Eskimos though…
Mary Anne and Ron Ayers. These folks are retired but spend much of their time on charitable projects and organizations. Mary Anne is heavily involved with NSDAR, especially with Constitution education (She was a teacher). They both have done a huge amount for the Flora Depot, an old railroad building that renovation has occurred mostly during the time I’ve been in town. Here, they’re standing in the Depot’s museum in front of Hobo Barn Boards, which display carvings hobos would make to let others know whether a town or residence was a good place to stop or not. They also are familiar with my friend Don Morris, whose statue of George Rogers Clark is in front of the Depot.
The Flora Kiwanis include, front row: Dave Barnes, Gerald Klein, and Chuck Schryer. Back row: Jan Phillips, Ted Richardson, Jackie Richardson, and Jill Lewis. Not pictured are Dave and Sarah Hudson. These guys are a relatively small group, as the local non-profits go, who do a lot of different stuff here in town. Kid’s Day Parade, Spring Fling, Flora’s 4th of July Celebration, and they even have a park in Flora they manage and take care of known as “The Rocket Park” by excited children who come from neighboring towns and counties to play there. It’s called that because of a slide shaped like a rocket ship. They do a lot and if you’re volunteer-minded and living in Clay County, I beg you, give these folks a call. They could use a hand, and they are nice folks to be around too.
George Dickinson and Tom Barbee, leaders of Clay County Scout Troop 282. George is the Scoutmaster and Tom is the assistant, but they both are pretty ever-present in the running of the troop. I volunteered for these guys for a while. I got a little disillusioned when I realized being an adult leader in a scout troop is not the same as being a scout. You’re supposed to be responsible for all these 11-18 year-olds who would like nothing better than to see how flammable the woods really are. These guys are great though. When I told him I was leaving town, George looked pretty sad, but gave me the name of a Scout leader in Nashville. “You really ought to get back with the scouts.” I chuckled and said, “Well George, I was kind of thinking Meghan and I might try and make some.” He liked that.