Remembering friends who have recently passed away

Two weeks or so ago I lost two more of my long time friends, Mr. Bob Simmons and Rev. Beaufort Bolt. I befriended both of these guys back around 1970 when Beaufort worked as the assistant manager at the Lydia Company Store and Bob was the general manager at Southern Bell on South Broad. Both of these gentlemen had different and rewarding backgrounds and probably their paths never crossed. I grew up at Lydia mills and particularly in the Lydia Company Store and seeing that store torn down was like loosing a family member. Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Arnold, with Mr. Arnold being the Manager and Mrs. Arnold working in the store as early as I can remember. Back in the 50’s, Mr. Marion Nabors was the assistant manager with Mrs. Belle Howard Fallow and Mrs. Cecil McLendon “Lib” being two of the primary ladies in the store. I remember a young Bobbie and Jimmy South and another young fellow, Mr. James Barr, a true southern gentleman, also working at the store with Mr. “Butch” McLendon who as the butcher. I also remember Mr. “Tic” Massey working in the story and later becoming a county deputy covering the Lydia Village. “Tic” (Sherman) was preceded as the Lydia Deputy by Mr. Smith and Ralph Riddle. There were several young girls working in the store’s candy counter. And I can only recall a couple of them; Margie Fuller and Betty Broome Rollins. There were some others, but I cannot remember them at this time. Now getting back to Beaufort Bolt. I cannot remember when Beaufort started working at the store, but he and Joel Templeton were working there in 1970 when I started going back into the store after being in service for a number of years. Beaufort was always very helpful to me and somewhere along the way, I had the pleasure of meeting his wonderful wife, Betty. Over the years, I have appreciated knowing both of these folks. About the same time period, I met Bob Simmons and his lovely wife Katherine when they contracted with Mr. Joe Bond to build their house in Pitts Meadows. As I said earlier, Bob was the manager at the local Southern Bell office and I saw him just about everyday when he would come into the post office to check their P.O. Box 708. Anyway, Bob and I became friends and one hot day in July. Bob came to me and asked if I wanted to go to Joanna and cut some firewood from a big oak tree which had fallen. I said I would. So Bob, the late Jimmy Cagle, and I went to Joanna to cut the tree. Boy was it hot and I remember Bob saying, “if this wood gets us as hot this winter as it has this July, this will be some good wood.” Bob, Jimmy, and I cut wood several other times together, but I do not think we ever got as hot as we did that July day. Jimmy, Bob and Beaufort have now all passed away and I still remember what forest Adair Sr. once told me “A man never has so many friends that he wants to lose one.” And now this saying has rung true again. Still remembering, (Tommy Kitchens lives in Clinton.)

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