Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Felt It Two Hours Away

About 7 ½ months ago I posted blog about a couple I saw at a speaking engagement that I had not seen in years. They are the parents of two long time friends and fraternity brothers of mine.

This afternoon I drove back to Claxton, GA to see them again. This visit was not a festive affair. In fact this time the visit was to a local funeral home.

Eldred Tippins, age 81, died Friday night at his residence. His obituary appeared in today’s Savannah Morning News. It was a lengthy one. The article talked about such things as his service to our country in World War II, the fact that he was Salutatorian of his high school graduating class, the fact that he graduated from the University of Georgia and the fact that he was in the Coca-Cola bottling business for 40 years. There was also mention of his leadership in his church, the numerous boards he served on including a local bank and the local Hospital Authority. There was even mention of the Distinguished Service Award he received from the Georgia Hospital Association for his significant contributions to improving health care in the state of Georgia.

There was also a list of his survivors, including his wife of 56 years, three children, four grandchildren and a sister.

What the obituary could not do was to explain a life that would cause a guy like me to drive four hours alone on a Sunday afternoon that turned into a Sunday night in the rain just for the opportunity to hug the necks of the folks he left behind.

I learned some things about Mr. Tippins from reading his obituary this morning and I was impressed. And I am certain everyone who read it was just as impressed.

But what has impressed me the most for many years was the fruit he and his wife produced. As in their sons. Cliff and Stevie Tippins have been my friends for 36 years. They are just solid folks -the kind of folks anyone would be honored to know. And honored to be called their friend.

Of all Mr. Tippins’ accomplishments, I have a feeling if he could speak tonight he would quickly say his greatest accomplishment is his family. Nothing else is even close.

A good tree bears good fruit.

There is no doubt a giant fruit tree fell in Claxton, GA on Friday evening.

And I felt it two hours away in Warner Robins.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bruce, this was wonderful. Thank you. You are right. His greatest accomplishment was his family and I feel extremely blessed to be a part of it. Stevie and Cliff were touched that you were there for them and even more so by this tribute. Love you!