Random thoughts and meanderings on a Monday.
Today is National Clean Out Your Computer Day -- a time to delete old files and programs. So pardon me while I take a byte. ...
For the past two Valentine’s Days, I have paid tribute to Joe and Ezma Chambers of Forsyth. They were married on Feb. 15, 1936, the day after Valentine’s Day.
When I wrote about them last year for their 78th wedding anniversary, they trailed the oldest married couple in the U.S. -- John and Ann Betar of Fairfield, Connecticut -- by just three years.
I am sad to report that Ezma died on Jan. 29. Her death came two weeks and two days shy of what would have been their 79th anniversary.
I always loved to hear them share stories about their courtship. They both grew up in Juliette, so you might say Ezma found her Romeo in Juliette.
They had planned to tie the knot on Valentine’s Day, but they had to work their shifts at the mill and waited until the next day. Ezma bought her ring for $6 from the Sears Roebuck catalog. ...
Lee Chapman of Macon was invited to attend last Tuesday’s Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Washington, D.C., to honor the First Special Service Force.
Her father, the late James Pierce Loflin, was a member of the FSSF. The gold medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow for distinguished service. The ceremony took place in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol.
“It was very special ... and long overdue,’’ said Lee, a core lab manager with the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Medical Center, Navicent Health. “I was excited for the 42 veterans who were there.’’
She said one veteran, who had made plans to be there, died on Sunday. His wife and three daughters still attended in his memory. She said several current members of the special forces were there to “honor the pioneers.’’
The FSSF was an elite commando unit during World War II, with troops from both the U.S. and Canada. Of the 1,800 soldiers, only about 125 are still living, and none is from Georgia. The FSSF contributed to the liberation of Europe and was considered the granddaddy of other military operatives, such as the Green Berets and Navy Seals. ...
A familiar name in Macon has published a book about his family history and the former department store that bears its name.
Joseph N. Neel III has written “Man of the Cloth: An American Dream.’’ It traces the Neel family’s storied military career, including that of his father, Roland “Pappy” Neel, a World War I hero who was one of the first “aerial observers” in U.S. aviation history and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross.
Neel also pays homage to his uncle and namesake, Joseph N. Neel Jr., who was killed a few weeks before the end of World War I. The city’s first American Legion post was named in his honor.
And, of course, there are stories about Joseph N. Neel department store on Cherry Street, which closed in 1993 after 107 years in operation. (Ted Turner was a loyal customer when he lived in Macon in the 1960s.)
Neel’s advertisement in the top corner of page 2A in The Macon Telegraph ran daily for 98 years, a streak acknowledged by Guinness World Records.
For information on ordering the book, call 478-394-1007. ...
Super Bowl Sunday wasn’t a particularly super day for Aaron Brown.
And it wasn’t because his father, Michael, once lived in Seattle, and the Sea hawks blew it at the end of the game.
Aaron, the 23-year-old owner of Bowfresh, which opened seven weeks ago on New Street, woke up Sunday morning at his parent’s home on Atwood Drive, and his bedroom was on fire.
The house sustained fire and smoke damage. Two fingers on Aaron’s right hand were burned, and he received treatment last week at the Augusta Burn Center.
He can still sew his handcrafted bow ties, which he said have been in great demand since I featured him in a column on Jan. 23. It has slowed him down but it hasn’t stopped him.
His clothes were damaged in the fire, including more than 20 of his bow ties, many of which had sentimental value.
But he remains upbeat about his business.
The bow must go on.
Contact Gris at 744-4275.