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Memories sometimes come in droves — By Tommy Purser

What a week it’s been for me. Sometimes memories worth saving just come in droves.

Friday night’s graduation was chilly and windy. But there were no gnats. No heat. No fluttering hand fans. People were a bit chill-bumped but there are worse things. All-in-all the weather cooperated.

And it went sooooo smoothly. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of JDHS Assistant Principal Sarah Beth Swain and, what appeared to me to be her indispensable right-arm, Connie Toole. Herding teenagers is akin to herding cats, but Sarah Beth and Connie were more than up to the task.

The after-graduation gathering in the middle of the football field, as graduates, families and friends rejoice — and I do mean rejoice — at the momentous occasion graduation always is, has become my favorite time of the year. I see people I seldom see at other times of the year. People, in fact, I haven’t seen in a year or sometimes more. People I call my friends. People I love and cherish.

By the way. Friday night’s Jeff Davis High School graduation ceremony was my 50th. There were graduates there that were the children of many grads I’ve seen in the past. And there were a few grandchildren as well.

Sunday, I attended the 78th annual Byrd reunion. No, I have no Byrds in my family tree. But there is a Byrd descendant, Charles Thomas, who travels every year from Florida to Snipesville to reune with family members he’s known for 75 years. And he is also a Little League teammate of mine from the late 1950s in Palatka, Fla. I may not be a member of the Byrd family but I enjoyed being with a lot of Jeff Davis County Byrd family members, many of whom I’ve know for decades. The food was wonderful — the people were beyond wonderful.

Monday was Veterans Day and the Veterans Day Ceremony, as usual was great. Years ago, I wrote a column bemoaning the fact that Jeff Davis County people didn’t hold appropriate festivities each year to recognize those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country …. our country. There were no Memorial Day activities here when I first came to Hazlehurst. There were sporadic recognitions of our fallen heroes on intermittent occasions a few years later. But, basically, the people here didn’t view Memorial Day for anything other than a day off from work when they could grill hamburgers and hotdogs.

All that changed a while back and, annually, we gather at Veterans Park to appropriately mark that occasion. Thanks to veterans who stepped to the plate.

And later Monday I had the opportunity to be a hero. My cherished granddaugther was on her way from spring break in Florida to Statesboro when she had a flat tire. In the middle of nowhere. And she freaked out. She was less than 30 miles from Hazlehurst and I lead-footed it to the spot of her misfortune, my hero’s cape flowing behind me in the wind.

Alas, as I arrived there were two of her young friends already there and well on the way to getting her on the way.

I may not have rescued her but she gave me a huge granddaughterly hug anyway — which was the highlight of my week.

Ahhhh — simple pleasures.

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