Just among friends
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 12:00 AM
As Pat Woodrick and I talked on the phone last Friday afternoon, Lavelle called to her, "Pat, the buses are leaving," and thus evolves one of the most exciting "good neighbor" stories you ever heard.
Pat and her husband, Lavelle, a retired Methodist minister who often gets called out of retirement, live on Byrd Avenue straight across from Philadelphia High School's driveway from which the school buses depart carrying the football team for every "away game."
A couple of years ago, Pat and Lavelle began the practice of coming out of their house, to the end of their driveway, to cheer the team and give them a "thumbs up" sign of victory, as they are leaving for every "away game."
Quoting Lavelle, "The coaches and players have voiced their appreciation of our gesture of support, having grown accustomed to seeing us there.
One Friday last year, the team was leaving earlier than usual.
Pat and I were still in the house, when we heard the bus horns honking.
The buses were waiting at the end of their driveway for us!
Not until we rushed out and gave our usual "Go Team" encouragement, did the buses pull out.
Later one of the coaches told me, "We were not about to leave until you gave us your usual send-off."
Cheering for the "Tornadoes" is no new thing for Pat, who as a 1954 graduate of Philadelphia High School, was a member of the cheerleader squad.
Hers and Lavelle's neighborly support of the team has led to a close relationship with the team and coaches.
"Once we were invited to a players/coaches meal. I was invited to deliver a devotional message, while Pat offered a prayer. The young men, an exceptionally fine group, were very quiet and attentive and most polite."
As any good neighbor will do, Pat from time to time bakes cookies and sends them over for the players and coaches to enjoy.
After the 2011 football season, three members of the team brought Pat and Lavelle a football signed by the three of them.
This year, Pat and Lavelle had the distinct honor and joy of serving as Honorary Captains of the football team at the homecoming game on Sept. 28!
The coaches presented their loyal supporters with a football signed by every member of the team.
Lavelle and Pat were invited to accompany the team captains for the game from each team, along with the game officials, to mid-field prior to play.
"The head referee asked me to flip the coin to determine which team had the privilege of kicking or receiving the ball to start the game! I enjoyed doing that, a once in a lifetime thrill for a fan," Lavelle told me.
"Kim Mars is the one who notified Pat and me of this honor. Kim is very involved as a volunteer with the team.
"She always has a group of children as honorary captains, as well as a large number of children who line up at the north goal post just before the second half as each game begins. As the players return to the field, all the team members walk by the children and shake hands with them. It is really a special treat for the youngsters."
Lavelle continued in his praise, "Philadelphia is very fortunate to have an outstanding coaching staff, headed by Teddy Dyess. After another undefeated regular season, the Tornadoes have won their second play-off game.
"Pat and I are pulling for them to become State Champions of the Class 3-A school teams. Regardless, they have had another wonderful season, and the whole City of Philadelphia can be justly proud of our Tornadoes, players and coaches. Pat and I are extremely proud to have them as our neighbors."
It was very special to Pat and Lavelle that their daughter, Debbie, and her husband, David Hall, of Verona, and their son, Woody, and his wife, Melanie, of Madison were in attendance at the Homecoming Game, and regretted that their daughter Becky of Hattiesburg was unable to attend.
Kim Mars and her husband, James Mars, have twin sons, Abe and Fent, who have been members of this football team since they were in the seventh grade.
They will be seniors next year.
Ranking right up there with the Woodricks as supporters of the team, are Fent and Abe's grandparents, Mont and Dawn Mars and Thomas and Joan Gamblin.
There is something missing in The Neshoba Democrat.
Alice (Clayton) Fulton is no longer writing the Spring Creek locals, after having done so "for probably 35 years."
Sensory health problems "and my age forced me to give it up. I thought I was 91, but my sister Bobbie told me I was 92," Alice laughed.
Since Alice began her correspondence for The Democrat under the editor-ship of Jack Tannehill, Spring Creek has been her territory.
When I would ask her niece and everybody's friend, Christine Fulton, for her news, Chris would reply, "Oh, no, that Alice's news."
Now, I humbly follow in Alice's footsteps as I report on Chris' latest escapade.
Chris, Martha and James Henry Patterson, Mary Sue Fulton, Sylvia Fleming and Maggie Burton recently spent a week in Gatlinburg.
They were joined by the Rev. Wayne and Gladys King of Tennessee, who formerly pastored Spring Creek Baptist Church.
They stayed at The Pines Motel which is in walking distance of all Gatlinburg's attractions.
They drove over the mountain, in the sunshine and snow, with ice on the trees to Cherokee, North Carolina.
"I don't believe heaven could be any more beautiful!" Chris told me.
I join others in thanking Alice for her loyal dedication in reporting the news.
And for those of you who have become accustomed to enjoying the feasts she is noted for, Alice didn't mention retiring from her kitchen.
Beth Johnson, Activities Director at Atwood Personal Care Home, in writing to extend "Wishes for a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Holiday," included this news about "What's going on at Atwood."
The following students of Sue Lewis entertained the residents at Atwood with a piano recital and they did a spectacular job!
Eli Moran, Mary Kate Moran, Morgan Williams, Kiley Garner, Ian Edwards, and Emma Taylor. Many thanks to Mrs. Lewis for her dedication to her students and community.
Girl Scout Troop Leader, Amy Taylor, and her little scouts EmmaTaylor, Maggie Taylor, Emily Booker, Mary Ellen Booker, Olivia Donald, Layla Loper, Ellee Beckham, Hattie Hicks, Abigail Graham, Anna Beth Kilgore, Mary Montgomery Mars, Maggie Marshall, Mary Kate Moran, Kara Daly, Sadie Hardy, Lillie Hardy, Anna Kaye Bennett, and Julia Scott Hines came to Atwood dressed in their Halloween costumes, sang Pumpkin Carols and handed out treat bags to our Atwood residents.
They were adorable!
The residents love seeing the children so much; there are tears in their eyes when they leave."
Beth concluded by saying, "We are blessed with so many wonderful people in our community!"
Happy birthday wishes today for my friend Charlene Webb.