December 29, 2010 11:31:00 AM
The CBS news had a recap tonight of the famous people that died this year. They included Congressmen, Senator, Artist, Composers; men and women of power if politics and entertainment. These people certainly made a difference on a national scale but I did not know any of them personally and I doubt that anyone in Columbus was on a first name basis with them.
The people that were not listed were people like my friend Ross Douglas Freeman. I met Doug in 1972 when he visited our home to invite us to attend church with him. He was an insurance man for Liberty National; He loved to talk; knew everybody and always had a funny story to tell. He had an infectious spirit about him; everyone liked him and he always had time to stop and talk to everyone. I remember inviting him to our home and told him to "just make yourself at home"; so he turned on the TV and lay down on the sofa. We lived in the Tillman''s Corner community; a unincorporated area about the size of Columbus just outside of Mobile, Ala. Doug was so active in the community that he was known as the unofficial Mayor of Tillman''s Corner.
Betty, his wife of 56 years, had the wake at Travis Road Baptist Church where they were members and attended services for 40 years. The wake was to start at 6 p.m., but by 5 the line stretched out of the church and into the street. The funeral was a celebration of his life with several people talking about how he helped them in their spiritual and financial affairs. They told funny stories about him and his love for Auburn in "Roll Tide Country". It lasted an hour and ended with the congregation standing and singing "I''ll fly away" while one of his friends accompanied on a five-string banjo as the casket left the church.
Another that did not make the CBS list was Charles Belcher. I met Charles years ago at an auction and we became friends. He was a quiet unassuming man that was bent from arthritis and loved antiques, old coins and his family. In his younger days, he spent a lot of time at the park teaching and coaching young men in baseball and life. Fours years ago an elderly lady had some coins that she wanted valued. I referred her to Charles because he could assess the condition of the coins and condition can make a substantial difference in the value. I knew Charles was honest and would do it right.
At his wake the line was doubled and stretched into Gunter and Peel''s parking lot. People were lined up to say good-bye to a good friend and an honest man.
Doug and Charles are a few of the thousands of people that made a difference in their community. They were not famous or rich but enjoyed the love of friends and family. In the end, riches and fame fade away but good memories are the best thing to leave behind.
Sherman is an auctioneer and disability consultant living on the West Bank of the Tombigbee River.