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Remembering an old friend who was an ‘up’ person in the best sense of the word

William Davis “David” Jones III
William Davis “David” Jones III

Good friends constitute the elixir of life, the supplement that gives life much of its meaning.

Such a friend was Dave Jones, longtime co-worker and delightful friend at The News & Observer. Jones, the newspaper’s advertising manager who helped launch The Mini Page in 1969, died last month. He was 91.

So many of the good adjectives applied to Dave: thoughtful, obliging, caring, unselfish, intelligent and blessed with an abiding sense of humor. He was an “up” person in the best sense of the word, and always a pleasure to be around.

Twice a year, I, Dave, and two other co-workers, John Raynor and Mel Finch, would spend three days at the beach together.

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On one of those excursions, we watched Carolina play a crucial game during a Final Four basketball championship playoff. Back then I was a fanatical Tar Heel fan.

When the Heels were trailing by a seemingly unsurmountable deficit, I got up in disgust, went next door to my room and went to sleep. The weekend was ruined for me.

Next morning at breakfast, my buddies sympathized at great lengths, sending me even deeper into the depths of disappointment.

When Dave figured I had suffered enough, he handed me the morning paper with a Page One headline about Carolina’s great comeback victory.

What poet William Shakespeare said about Brutus could be said of my friend:

“His life was gentle, and the elements

So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up

And say to all the world, “This was a man!”

Baby carriers

I’ve only recently become aware of the manner in which some carry their babies. And I’m ready to hit the street and demonstrate on behalf of the infants.

In restaurants and elsewhere, I observe some infants being carried while lying horizontally against the caretaker’s chest, face down.

Instead of being carried upright, so the baby can view the world around it, smile and goo and gurgle at strangers and kin alike, what some infants see is the floor or the ground.

I haven’t consulted a child psychiatrist, but I should think that so much floor gazing would tend to make little Jack or Jane a less effervescent individual.

Also, the practice deprives the public of the pleasure of a glimpsing the face of what is the ultimate in innocence in a world that seemingly grows increasingly void of true innocence.

No buzz?

When was the last time you saw a bee? Honey or bumble? I haven’t seen one all summer.

When I was a teenager and thought I was in love with Carmen Edwards at Dobson High, I had heard that the way to test whether someone is truly in love is to catch a bee in the cup of the hand. If it doesn’t sting, that’s a sure sign you are in love.

I once took that test and paid the price: a swollen hand for a day or more. I’ve just read a magazine article noting that due to the widespread use of chemicals by farmers and gardeners, the bee is rapidly on the way to extinction.

Corporate honesty

I renewed my Time magazine subscription recently. Within a week or so I received a notice that I had overpaid my bill by eight cents. I was given a choice of an 8-cent refund check or a one issue extension of my subscription.

I was impressed by the company’s demonstration of honesty down to the very penny.

A marriage

While having lunch at a Raleigh cafeteria, I noticed a couple at a nearby table. During the entire meal, as far as I could tell, they neither spoke, laughed nor even smiled. They looked married, whatever that means.

I thought of author T. S. Eliot’s comment about the marriage of two people “who are contented with the morning that separates. And with the evening that brings together. For casual talk before the fire. Two people who know they do not understand each other. Breeding children whom they do not understand. And who will never understand them.”

How sad.

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