By W.H. WATERS
It was my pleasure recently to attend the Wilson County Agricultural Hall of Fame Banquet. What a privilege it was. This was the fourth such event and as I look at the list of people who have been inducted so far I believe I came in contact with all but one and “Pop” Geers died before I was born. I heard much about him for my mother and father talked much about his racing feats and that horse named Dan Patch.
This night I came to pay homage to the five people being inducted in the Hall. I want to ask you, what kind of person is usually honored for doing more than working for personal success? Most everyone works for personal success but this is not enough to be valued as a leader and contributor to society. It is the “givers” who say to mankind “I want to help you to higher ground.” They truly value their fellowman. As we look at these people, we will see how actions spoke to this side of life.
Walter Goodall is probably best known by me. We were more than friends for our fathers were first cousins and maybe more like brothers. Walter and I slept in the same bed many nights when we were growing up. Walter was very quiet but he was a smart boy. When you say Goodall you speak of kind and gentle people. So in work he gave his best to the farmers who needed his expertise. As his daughter Mary Beard spoke of him, she told of the high road he walked on while raising the three daughters.
Walter’s wife, Zuelma, has had health problems for some years. He deals kindly with her to this day. No church can ever be strong without good families. The home is the bedrock of our society. Then caring about our fellowman in church, in work and in play says to the world I love you! Yes, Walter Goodall may not have told us all he loved us, but by his wife he said I value all of you. For this we honored him that night.
W.C. and Eddie Clay were people I knew through my mother. She grew up near the Clay home and her best friend was Mary Clay. Mary moved to California after she married, and my mother would contact the Clays often to hear how Mary and her family were doing.
I knew Mr. Clay and walked by his filling station often. I was aware of his work with the lamb festival as well as 4-H and FFA. With no children, he was a “giver” to society and you heard statements to support this at the banquet.
I came to know Mrs. Eddie Clay when I returned to Lebanon. I visited her numerous times as a church visitor. Her painting and writing gave much to our area. She too is knows as a “giver” to society. We surely have benefited from the kind of lives Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Clay lived.
I met Mr. Harry Love when I was 11 years of age. He came to teach at Watertown in 1934, and my brother taught there at that time. My brother thought highly of him and if my brother thought he was alright, so did I! Now through the years I was aware of his activity but not at close range. I suspect you will agree that anyone spent his life in teaching is surely a “giver.” As his son spoke of his father, you surely got the feel for the quality of life he lived and so it is easy to see why he was so honored.
Johnny Trice has been very successful in business. He has been very successful as a husband and as a father. He has been true to his God and to his fellowman. Now I really got to know him about 25 years ago when I retired and came home to Lebanon.
My wife and Alice have been close friends for a major portion of life. Through her I knew much about John and his activity. Yes, John is a “giver.” If one did not know this they learned it at the meeting Tuesday night. I have considered it a real privilege to call him a friend through recent years. We sit at the same table in Sunday School almost every week.
The Waters name has always been a name to be honored by me. All the white Waters people in Wilson County had a common beginning. Old Shelah came to Wilson County in 1811 with 12 children. I am from the fourth child Shelah II. The Henry Waters family is out of the 12th child of Old Shelah and his name is Thomas Dent Waters. Shelah II died in 1849 and Thomas Dent died in 1878. You see, I always called Henry Waters as Cousin Henry but in fact the kinship is much removed. When you run through 130 to 170 years of generations the offspring of two bothers are scarcely any kin in the year 2010. Yes I am proud of our common heritage for when you look at the quality of life you want to be a part. Family, church, fellowman and the quality of his work, it speaks to the high road.
My mother and Tressa Waters were good friends. Both were president of the Wilson County Community Clubs for three years each in the early days of Claire Gilbert being county agent.
Henry Dean and I were good friends. He died in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. He was quality and I went on the show circuit two with him.
Margaret, Kathleen and David were all my friends. Kathleen and I were classmates in high school.
Henry Waters had a wonderful registered Jersey herd. His base came from the Isle of Jersey and was “Designs Dreaming Samuel.” I had a heifer I bred to him 13 times. The first 12 calves were bull calves. The 13th calf was a heifer. She was not a show cow, but she was a milk cow. When she was 16 years old, she died giving birth. I held her head as she died and the tenant that milked her and I cried. He said there will be never be another like her.
What else could you expect from something from the Henry Waters Farm? Quality is all that came there. Henry Waters was a man of quality.
Editor’s Note: Mr. W.H. Waters is a resident of Lebanon and a contributor to The Wilson Post.