B.J. Drye Column: We should all have as full a life as Willie Mae

Published 10:33 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

Each Thursday in the SNAP we have a section called C&C which contains the columns of our community correspondents.

I’m not sure when this practice began.

It once was known for portions of “who visited whom where,” more of a personal nature.

It was Facebook before there was Facebook.

Now our correspondents write mostly about what is happening in their communities, helping to promote upcoming events.

That is what we want. We know we can’t be everywhere at once, so these writers help fill in the gaps.

Badin correspondent Jo Grey even fills in with the occasional feature story, like the one on today’s front page.

A few correspondents and columnists wrote for probably 50 or 60 years, like Wallace “Hawkeye” Ivey and Archie, oh, I can’t think of his name at the moment. Bill Turner probably knows. Bill worked here for more than 50 years.

The reason I bring all of this up is because these writers are a part of the SNAP’s heritage.

And one of them is not feeling well.

Willie Mae Harris has been writing the Harristown News for more than 50 years.

Willie Mae has always been one of the most punctual and consistent writers over the years, rarely missing her deadline.

She turned 92 last November and was still going strong.

For several years she could be seen working in the electronics department at Wal-Mart or volunteering at the hospital or visiting local nursing homes and assisted living centers, bringing gifts of cookies and sometimes lending her voice in song.

She comes from a large family. I’ve written about or talked to many of them over the last 20 years.

The close family has been known for its reunions as well as annual trips to see relatives from Miami, Florida to New Haven, Connecticut.

She was featured in a front-page article Oct. 20, 2005. In that article, she spoke of one of her favorite trips.

“It was so beautiful and peaceful. The glaciers were so beautiful,” she said of a trip to Alaska. “Then, we saw mountain goats and bear. Another time we saw whales and the salmon running and the guides cooked salmon many different ways. It was all so good.”

Willie Mae is someone who should be cherished now and always, and we should always remember her for her many years as an advocate to her community.

Whenever she decides to lay down her pen, it will be a great loss for the SNAP and the community.

She is part of our greater SNAP family and we are thinking of her in her current battle.

Thanks for letting us know you, Willie Mae.

Have a story idea? Contact B.J. Drye at 704-982-2123, bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.