A few days ago I unexpectedly got a call from a friend in Lawrence County who somewhat nervously asked me if I was OK.  When I told him that I was, he explained that he had heard someone name of Larry Lee from Prattville was missing.  Later he sent me the link to a news article from a north Alabama TV station with the story about my missing namesake.

Then my happenstance, I came across a post on Facebook from Lavon Lee of McKenzie explaining that his brother, Larry Lee, had wandered away from home last weekend, got stuck on a dirt road and walked eight miles through a storm.  He was taken to Jackson Hospital in Montgomery where he passed away.

Since the woods around McKenzie and south Butler County are full of my Lee kinfolks, no doubt me and the other Larry Lee shared some common ancestors.  In fact, I know a Larry Lee from the same area who lives outside Atlanta.

Since the first phone calls, I have had several emails asking if I was OK.  I appreciate all who have shown concern.  But I have to chuckle as I think about sending an email to someone in a similar circumstance.  No doubt what you really want to ask is. “Are you dead?

But even if they were, this would seem a tad forward.

So thanks for the memories.  And if you are inclined to send flowers, may I suggest that you just go up to the corner of this page and hit PayPal instead.

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And on this somber note, last Wednesday I was in Greenville to speak to the Butler County retired educators about Amendment One.  It was 10 a.m.  Prior to the meeting I asked a Mr. Henderson if he knew my longtime friend Richard Hartley.

I was stunned when he replied, “His funeral is at 11 o’clock.”

I met Richard in 1982.  We became good friends and shared many laughs and experiences.  Among other things, he was chair of the Butler County school board for 28 years.

I knew he was battling cancer, but had no clue it had advanced so rapidly.

This news was just another reminder of how fleeting our time on this earth is.