All of us gather a host of friends as we travel this life.  And then we make some very special friends who join a small group.  We may not be in contact with them for five or ten years, but when we do re-connect, we take up where we last left off.  As if time has stood still.

I’ve been very fortunate in this regard.  Such friends are scattered all over the country.  Some I went to high school with 60 years ago, some I met though a job, some I don’t really recall where and how we met.

Scooter Howell would be one of these.  All I remember for sure is that it had something to do with Jaycees and milk cows and about 50 years ago.

Scooter and his daddy ran Rocky Hill all Jersey Farm on Lookout Mountain outside Ft. Payne.  This breed of milk cow is known for producing very rich milk with high butterfat.  The Howells had some of the best ones in the whole country.  And they did it on some of the rockiest land you’ve ever seen.  I was always amazed at what they accomplished where they were located.

I was a young editor for The Progressive Farmer in Birmingham and was state chairman of the Alabama Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer recognition program for four years.  I don’t recall if Scooter was a Jaycee or not.  But I do think the local Jaycees nominated him for the state program.

I had a lot of fun during this time and met some great folks.  Most of whom have long faded from memory.  But not Scooter and anytime I was in northeast Alabama and had a chance, I caught up with him.  In ran the dairy until the late 1990s when he sold out.  His sweet wife Charney was a good helpmate.

At some point they re-located down the road a few miles to Centre, AL in Cherokee County.  He had the kind of personality that people gravitated to.  A dry sense of humor and usually with a crooked little grin on his face. I would probably be amazed at hos many folks in the county knew him.

Every now and then I would track him down.  Sometimes we met at Lanny Starr’s BBQ to catch up.

So it was with great sadness that I learned that he passed away on Dec. 29.  He had been in failing health for a number of months and had Alzheimers.  A few weeks ago he fell and broke his hip. but insisted that he not go to the hospital.

He and Charney have three children and four grandchildren.

Their 50th anniversary would have been Dec. 31.

Scooter was an original and a good guy.  I will always be thankful our paths crossed.