Sitting out here the Southwest corner, the seat can get cold and lonely sometimes.
It is when I feel a bit too far from home, I refer back to something Dave Carey taught me. Dave, a POW in Vietnam for over five years often cited the first line of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I have used Dave’s source several times in these columns.
As mentioned here, I succeeded Dave in our last Navy position of directing the leadership and management training on the West Coast and Pacific Rim. Shortly after he began handing over the reins to me, I heard him speak to a group of senior officers. After reading Dickens’ lines, he pointed out we each had the choice to decide if it’s the best or worst of times.
I thought then and now if Dave could choose it was “the best of times” after years of incarceration in the Hanoi Hilton, I should be able to do that was well.
It was difficult to choose the “best of times” when Jim Leftwich notified me of Glyn Ed Newton’s untimely passing. Glyn Ed’s accomplishments are striking but have already been listed in this newspaper.
On a personal level, Gyn Ed was much more than just his accomplishments. Lynda, the older daughter of my mentor and friend, J.B. Leftwich, married Glyn Ed in 1965 after meeting him at the University of Tennessee. He became a full partner in the Leftwich clan and consequently, the extended family of Leftwich and Jewell.
When the two families rendezvoused, most often during the Christmas season, for a “happy hour” at J.B. and Jo Doris’ home, Glyn Ed was vital in the “happy aspect” of the affair. His spirit was indomitable, he was always full of life and always interested in the other person.
Lynda and he were a great coupling of understanding, focus, and most importantly caring. They have been a statement of love and caring embodied in Coach Leftwich and Jo Doris. Together, they have been a great success, both career wise and personally.
I remember praise of my father and J.B. that apply to Glyn Ed: He was a good man. Glyn Ed will be missed. He was one of those who made life “the best of times.”
I also discovered this week a bad memory can have an upside. In this case, my bad memory brought about some good things. Last week’s column brought to the fore the Jewell’s are still a positive force in Lebanon. My comments about Jake Jewell’s exploits on the diamond brought me back in contact with another side of my family.
Jake’s father, Paul, and I had a nice conversation last Wednesday, and Wendy, Paul’s wife, and I are now engaged in family history going back beyond Bassel Jewell, who came over the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone in the latter part of the Revolutionary War. I am looking forward to more conversations with Paul and Wendy, and especially Jake, about the family.
The Little League column also provided re-connections. Jim Andrews, known to many as “Moon,” straightened out my bad memory a bit. Jim was my coach along with Billy Swindell during my Babe Ruth League playing days on Lea’s Butane Gas team. It was fun and probably the best baseball I ever played. Catching Mike Gannaway was a kick. Mike, a good friend at Lebanon Junior High and Castle Heights went to Georgia Tech on a baseball scholarship.
Jim gently reminded me the coach in last week’s photograph was Woodrow Manning. When I learned it was Woodrow, the memories came flooding back. I was extremely lucky in coaches, both in Little League, and Babe Ruth baseball.
Several others have come forward to correct my memory. Mike Dixon, a man of incredible recall when it comes to sports events, pointed out Eddie Taylor was the ace pitcher of Lebanon Bank, Mike’s team and league champions. So the guy I identified as Eddie was actually John Couch, as Joy Wahl correctly pointed out. I also heard from Bob Buhler, another good friend from that era.
There are still a lot of holes in my memory. Yet I have no problem remembering it as “the best of times.”
Jim Jewell, a retired Navy commander lives in San Diego but was raised in Lebanon. His book, A Pocket of Resistance: Selected Poems, is now available through Author House, Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. Jim’s email is email@example.com.