with Patsy Nobles Jones
“I love you every day and now I will miss you every day” – Mitch Album
Our community expresses sympathy – Terry “Tee” Hickerson (9-5-67 to 3-20-21) – celebration of life; Bonnie Sue Forsythe Huggins Morrow (3-1938 to 3-16-21) – Medon Maple Springs; James Robert Nash “Shorty” (1-12-32 to 3-16·21), a mail truck driver from Pinson. Customers saw his smiling gentle face at Jacks Creek Post Office daily at 4:50. He was kind, patient, helpful, fun and so darn cute with that darling nickname.
Prayers to Sue Wright, Willis Hudson, Bailey Families and Tommy and Janice Patterson. Tenderly remember Billy Joe Barker (3·31-34), celebrating his 87th birthday in heaven; Jo Bo Wamble (3-31-56) is celebrating his 65th birthday in heaven. Also, Abby Brooks died March 25, 2018. She is in our Dusty Haven in a section called “Abby’s Place.” Mary Harris grieved for Abby, too. She felt Regina’s and my pain, so she tried to help us heal.
Dr. Keith Rhodes (6-1-31 to 3-9-21) the beloved brother of the late Sue Essary and devoted husband to Jill. He had a beautiful well-written obit in last week’s paper, but I didn’t know he died. I was very sad and cried while I read his obit. He was such a lovely man with a nice friendly smile. Keith was the leader of the Rhodes Reunion. I am saddened the year 2020 took family reunions away, and this year, Keith has been taken away from us, too. Cousin Sheila Elder Cox (5-7-42 to 3-13-20) invited me to the Rhodes reunions. Keith enjoyed my introduction and how I was connected to the Rhodes Families. Not shy I shared “Easy” facts – Sheila Cox was my cousin, and Mae Rhodes (Keith’s mother) was my first-grade teacher, and my brother loved her more than any teacher. What better connection could there be; plus the Essary sisters were all pretty and sweet, and one graduated with me and loves animals like me. I was very at home at the reunion that Murdell Barker wanted to go the next year, so Joy Rhodes Guyon invited her and I took her. We had fun and good food and a relaxed afternoon.
Mr. Keith Ross (8-3-31 to 3-17-21), the beloved “Jack of all trades” at Jacks Creek during my childhood and early adulthood. Keith was a Korean Veteran. The years of that war were 1950-1953. Keith was severely wounded and would carry the weight with dignity his entire life. He never wanted sympathy and did not discuss his war stories with me. Parents, Culley and Irene McHaney Ross, taught work ethics to 14 children.
Keith intended to take good care of his wife Netha and six children. He worked for Patterson Brothers (Clyde and Pete). When a vehicle drove up for gas, he shot up like lightning and filled the tank with a smile and his vocal laugh. He was friendly and loved jokes. Keith mowed many lawns but mine only once. I told him why, and he made that “Y-Y·Y·Yeah” vocal.
I saw Keith pulling that push mower up and down many steep banks. Once I carried him coke on a very hot day. He drank it and said that he needed water now. He laughed at my shocked expression. I did not try cokes again. He did not mind hard dirty work. He wanted to make a living, and he worked. He was well-respected in our community.
When we lost one of our loved ones who would be buried at Beech Springs, Keith was there. He was dressed in a brown suit, white shirt and tie. He looked handsome and showed appreciation to all who attended the loss of one we all loved. Seeing a solemn Keith always touched my heart. He hurt deeply but hid it well.
We simply had connections. We were friends always. My daddy loved Keith. They sat close at Memorial Day and Veterans Day services at City Hall yearly. Patsy Denton, Jane Morris and I taught Sheno. Charles mowed my grandmother’s yard some, and we all respected TN Highway Patrolman Lynn Ross. Our entire community was saddened when he died tragically July 26, 2000. The light in Keith’s eyes changed. Then he lost “Charlie.” Don and I visited Keith at Humboldt several times. We would visit Melbern Jones, Ed Pitts, Lavern Phillips and my new pal, Mr. Bob. Twice I went to see Keith in the hospital. I carried him an Easter gift we laughed about together. We went to see Keith another day in Humboldt, but he was back at the hospital. We put the Easter gift on his pillow. I left a picture of Keith and his daughter, too. I am so glad I mailed Keith a pretty 2020 Christmas card with a photo.
Keith died Wednesday of last week. The strangest thing happened. I opened my bedroom door and smiled waving while saying, “Hello, Keith.” I was looking at a yellow “Forsynthia” shrub in full bloom. All remaining week, especially Saturday night, I could not get Keith off my mind until late. I decided I would write a story about an act of kindness he had done for me. I would put it in the March 25 issue of Jacks Creek News and mail him a copy. Sunday morning I was sitting in the den looking out the window. About a foot higher than the white fence, more yellow blooming “Forsynthia” were waving at me. I smiled and said again, “Hello, Keith.” Then the phone rang. It was Regina Brooks. She read out loud Keith Ross has an obit on Facebook. I went so cold, my heart beat faster, tears started falling and I looked out the window. Yes, those “yellow bells” were waving harder and harder. I could not contain my grief, and Regina picked upon that, so I explained it all to her. For years and years, I greeted my spring “yellow bells” thinking of Keith. You see about 1976 Keith planted “yellow bells” with me at his side. He will always be with me. Do you think “yellow bells” will be in heaven?
2021 SOMEONE CARES – Karen Ross shared, “Kind hearts are the gardens; Kind thoughts are the roots; Kind words are the flowers; Kind deeds are the fruit.” Keith Ross cared. He got those “yellow bells.” Another caring tidbit. I had the honor of selecting Netha’s greeting cards. Keith told me to get romantic Valentine and Anniversary cards with deep heartfelt words. I read three or four to him; he would select the best. We need more people who show they care. Thanks, Keith. Pass it on….