Monday, February 16, 2009

My Friend Went Home

Well, I helped sing at Hugh Allen’s funeral today. He was my friend, and a very good man. He was almost 80 years old. He was essentially comatose his last 5 weeks on earth. I went to see him a couple days before he died and took an autoharp that I had retuned to a special tuning that sounds like one might imagine an angel harp would sound. I stood by his bed, near his head, and strummed softly on it….I just know he could hear it….and I hope it brought him some comfort and peace.

Hugh had the kind of heart that this world really, really needs. I thank God that he puts those people on this earth. Hugh really would help anyone in anyway he could. You could not count the number of times he has stopped on the side of the road and either fixed someone’s car for them, or took them home with him, fed them and then went back and fixed the car, if possible. His children remember that happening many times. Shortly after I first came to know Hugh, and his sweet wife Betty, I told my wife that they were straight out of Mayberry, NC with Andy Griffeth. I meant that in a very complimentary way…..they had the purity of simple, loving, non-judgemental hearts. Betty first saw Hugh when she was 14 years old, and never took her eyes off him. She never dated anyone else, and they were married 56 years. Being around Hugh was like sitting in your favorite chair….you felt very comfortable and cared for.

He had some stories to tell, I mean! One I will never forget. He ran a TV and radio repair shop in the small town of Edwards, MS, where he lived, back in the 50’ and 60’s. He told me he had repaired an older black man’s TV. The gentleman came in and got it, took it home, and brought it back to Hugh’s shop the very next day….very angry at Hugh. He told Hugh, “I want you to put my cowboy show back in there!!” Hugh says, “What are you talking about?” He said, “When I brought my TV in here there was a cowboy show I always watched, and you took it out….it ain’t in there anymore!” Hugh said that he never did convince that man that they must have changed the programming while he had the TV in the shop. He didn’t believe Hugh, and he left angry!! Ha! He mighta been from Mayberry too, you reckon?

We love ya, Hugh! We’ll see ya at the Taco Bell when we get up there. Save us a seat and make sure they give us those “old people” (senior) drinks free!

Stanley :)

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