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Bob Raymond: CAFB group feted at Graham compound


Bob Raymond



Jimmy and Joann Graham hosted a post-Pilgrimage appreciation party at their Sykes Place compound last Thursday evening. A large CAFB contingent was joined by locals to enjoy a festive dinner sponsored by the Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau. Nancy Carpenter was most gracious in thanking the various groups that worked on the Pilgrimage this year. The theme of the event was Tex-Mex in honor of Wing Commander Col. Roger Watkins and his wife Leslie. Also honored were Col. Dave Reth and his wife Angie and Crystal Branco whose husband Scott is an Instructor Pilot at the Base.  


Angie is the one who organized the record-breaking 145 volunteers from CAFB and maintains the e-mail lists, phone numbers and dress sizes of the volunteers. She and Crystal matched volunteers to homes where they were needed and even took care of last minute emergency vacancies on the list. These women also sold tickets at The Tennessee Williams Welcome Center. Scott Bronco sold tickets, picked-up lunches for volunteers, and helped at the Hospitality House. Leslie Watkins served in most of the 17 homes on tour and many days served in three homes (nine hours) in a day. Patricia Wilson, whose husband is a retired colonel from the base, did amazing work making pilgrimage dresses and repairing and trimming old dresses. 


Dinner consisted of homemade venison tamales, chicken and beef fajitas, 7-layer dip, homemade guacamole, (and Leslie Watkins'' famous nine-alarm salsa) fresh fried corn chips, fresh fruit, cookies and a most refreshing pineapple-mint iced tea. 


Music was supplied by Three Jazzy which consists of Denise Reed, vocalist, Tony Derico, keyboard and Rick Montalto, guitar. Seen dancing on the unusually breezy evening were Mother Goose and The Amzi Lover, Sid Caradine. 


The Vice Wing Commander Col. George Ross and his wife Marti were there. Col. Ross served (in uniform) at several homes while Marti was spotted serving at most every home. 


Nancy Carpenter presented the honored guests with beautifully wrapped souvenir gifts from Mississippi.  


Pilgrimage homeowners seen on the grounds included; Dixie Butler (Temple Heights), Brenda Caradine (Amzi Love), Dick & Joanne Leike (White Arches), Joe & Carol Boggess (White Hall) and Pat Kaye (Camellia Place).  


Pat Kaye recently hosted her sister-in-law Margaret and nephew Alan from Scotland at Camellia Place. They always enjoy their visits to Columbus but had not planned on staying as long as they did. Their flights were delayed for several days due to the volcano that halted flights to Europe. 


Thomas McIntyre and his friend Anna Drake just returned from a trip to Scotland. They were at the McIntyre family camp-house on Saturday night showing off their fabulous slides of Edinburgh and the Scottish countryside. While in Edinburgh, Thomas & Anna made the acquaintance of another young American, Anderson Holderness. When Anderson heard that they were from Mississippi, he asked them if they knew Adams Gillis! Adams is the son of Martha & Bill Gillis. It turns-out that Adams and Anderson were roommates their freshman year at Woodberry Forest High School in Virginia. 


Arriving from Virginia this week were Cameron Billups and her fiancĂ© Andy Peden for the Billups'' annual "Beach Week" at Lake Mimi. The yearly tradition started several years ago when the patriarch of the family, Carleton Billups, was no longer up to their usual jaunt to the Gulf Coast. The Dallas branch of the family attending the week-long house party are; Betty Billups, her daughter Susan and husband Dr. Ron Underwood. Their daughters Anna Small and Evan Underwood, Anna''s husband Dr. Drew Small and their daughters Carley and Sarah. Carley and Sarah were entertained with a pool party at cousin Lane Pierrot''s nearby home. The clan will be celebrating Ron''s birthday today. 


Also in from Texas is Dorothy Widegren. Dorothy was the guest of Jo Shumake at the Magowah Barbecue. Thursday evening, Dorothy hosted Jo and several other Columbians on her terrace for the Sounds of Summer concert at the Riverwalk. Dorothy''s First Street home is in the perfect location to take advantage of the music. Also attending were Joe & Carol Boggess. Joe''s sister Beth Boggess Sitters, Jo Shumake and Suzy Widegren Robinson have remained close since grade school. 


Frank Owen, his wife Wendy and their son Ben Owen II are finishing-up their stay in Germany and plan to return to California in August. Frank is a guest professor of engineering at the Applied Sciences University at Karlsruhe. Frank formerly was a guest professor at the corresponding university in Munich. Of the last five years, the Owens have spent three years in Germany. They often travel to France since both Frank & Wendy are fluent in French as-well as German. Ben II attended a Spanish immersion school in California. On a visit to Columbus when he was eight years-old, he surprised a group of Mexican nationals entering a restaurant. The Mexicans were conversing amongst themselves in Spanish and Benjamin joined-in their conversation. Frank said it was funny to see the reaction on the Mexicans'' faces. Adios! 


Bob Raymond is a retired French teacher. His e-mail address is [email protected]



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