A Decade of Life

A decade has come and gone in no time flat at all. A lot has happened in these 10 short years. Life, death, scares, and thrills, isn’t that what life’s about? I look back and remember some of the things that have brought us thru this decade and ponder what’s to come.

I know it’s not part of the 10 but it’s so close that I must, plus being married makes her a part of these past 10 years. In 1999 I married the love of my life. She’s helped me grow over this short time and has helped me thru what I thought were some of the toughest times in my own life. I never asked her to do this, she just did it because of who she is. We only had 29 days to make the most of our marriage together because at that time, the world as we knew it was going to explode and come to an end at midnight on December 31, 1999. Computers were to stop functioning and with them the things that they controlled including utilities and all financial institutions. The great Y2K!!

Guess what….   Nothing happened!


Born: Kendall, Joseph, & Jesse
Death: “Uncle” Ed Best


Born: Haleigh, Justin, & Gracie
Deaths: Bobby Irwin, Kenneth Best & “Junior” Payne
Marriage: James & Hope Best Abbott

Where were you when the planes hit the towers? I was at work and had just arrived a few minutes prior to the first news announcement. When we figured out what was going on, almost all of us were in the break-room glued to the TV. We all were in shock, some were crying, while others were mad. It was a mess of emotions that day and by the end of the day, another set of emotions were to hit. We all loved more, cared more, and genuinely meant it. On that day using 4 airplanes and 19 hijackers, 2,977 people lost their lives to this selfish act, not including the 19 hijackers. Over 25,000 people suffered some type of non-fatal injury. Both World Trade Center towers were struck, and the Pentagon. Another plane was involved and some passengers attempted to overtake the hijackers but, the plane crashed in a field outside of Shanksville, PA. Two planes were Boeing 747s, the other 2 were Boeing 767s. All were fully fueled due to their flights from coast to coast. It only took from 8:46 am from the time the first plane hit the first tower to 10:28 am when the last plane crashed in PA. Since then, approximately 18,000 people have developed some type of illness due to the toxic dust from the New York attack. 


Born: Morgan & Jeb
Deaths: Rod Martin, Matthew Lester, & Anna Hickman
Marriages: Greg & Rachael Boring Whitehead, & Tim & Kristin Long Merriman

A very close friend lost their life in 2002, Matthew. His family has always been a part of my family and still is today.


Deaths: Gertie Bradley, Rev. John Estes, Elder JD Blair, “AG” Bradley, James Lewelling
Marriage: Ron & Beth Yearwood Day

Mr. Estes was my grade school principal. After retirement, he sold mom & dad our first Encyclopedias. Later, one of his son’s daughters would marry Valarie’s cousin’s son.


Deaths: Edith Best, & John Yates

John was my school bus driver for almost all of my school life, bus number 40.


Born: William & Josiah
Deaths: Edith Dawson, Melvin Beaty, Wayne Irwin, William Tipton, & Rev. Douglas Self
Marriages: Sam & Tisha Anderson Welshan, Brian & Kristy Dolan Best, & Jason & Sarah Holloway Best

William Tipton is Valarie’s grandfather, papaw to me. A quiet man that barely spoke. If you ever heard him, you better pay attention cause it was always something to take note of.


Born: Jace & Calvin


Born: Izaak & Eva
Deaths: Diana Abbott, Vern Best, Vola Ludwick, & Alaina England
Marriage: Bruce & Philesha Payne Whitehead


Born: Clara, Coy, Oliver, & Isaac
Deaths: Charles Best, Margaret Payne, Burl Best, & John Beaty
Marriage: Brian & Heather White Whitehead

2008 was also when our son arrived. The naming of our son was not a horrible process but I had a name I was leaning towards. I was wanting a family name, a name that wasn’t too common, I had picked Wilhelm. He would go by Wil or Will for short. I hadn’t settled on a middle name yet. My lovely wife wouldn’t hear of it and with little debate, we chose, Coy Alexander. Named after my G-grandfather and Valarie’s father. Coy fits his style since he’s such an “old soul”.


Born: Zoe, & Isaac
Deaths: Charles Woodruff, & Joseph Coning


Born: Brooklyn
Deaths: Mikey Crisp, Randy Myers, & Candis Smith

Candis is Valarie’s grandmother, memaw to me. 


Born: Bethany
Deaths: Sallie Bradley, Johnny Davis, & RL Whaley
Marriage: Roger & Rhonda Burger Price


Born: Capri
Deaths: Lester Lester, Mildred Best, Edna Kagley, Tommy Abbott, Peggy Beaty, & Hugh Myers
Marriage: Michael & Valerie Jones Heard 

Another very close friend lost their life in 2012, Lester. His family has always been a part of my family and still is today.


Deaths: Patricia Dolinger, Patricia Crisp, Homer Crowder, Carl Grooms, & Arthur Downey
Marriages: Caleb & Taylor Blair Day & Junior & Lee Harris Bradley

In 2013 on New Year we spent a week in children’s hospital with Coy. At the time we had no idea what was going on. He had not felt good 2 days prior and just slept. We took him to his doctor and they brushed it off and told us to make him drink fluids because he was dehydrated. He had developed a knot on his neck that grew larger very quickly. By the next day, we took him to Children’s. The hospital had no idea what it was and we were being told it could possibly be lymphoma. After the one doctor that was on call cussed the nurses because he was being called to do his job by coming in, he finally arrived a day and a half later to scare the life out of us. Horrible doctor if anyone would want to call him that. Another doctor came in and gave us an apology as well as a relief from the stress. It was a very common thing, retropharyngeal abscess and he had seen it on a weekly basis. Simple procedure, in and out, no big deal. Surgery was scheduled and within a day we were going home. Talk about a scare!


Deaths: Elder Danny McKee, Beverley Woodruff, Keith Hair, Mike Bradley, Eli Hatcher, Shirley Beaty, & George Spradlin
Marriage: Justin & Saprina Winningham Boring


Deaths: Sarah Crisp, Owen Davis, Earl Beaty, Michael Crisp, Irene Carpenter, & Rev. Barry Woods
Marriages: Phillip & Paula Crum Woodruff, Randall & Tabatha Self Wilson, & Chris & Anne Hodge Boring


Born: Flint, & Rylen
Deaths: Renee DeMarco, Mary Tipton, Inez Adams, James Hair, Gerald Bradley, & Rev. Robert Whitehead
Marriage: Daniel & Rachel Wagner Day

This year brought in many challenges that no one could have imagined. Kate was diagnosed with the big C this year. A spindle cell sarcoma tumor was found on her right side. We think this was possibly from either a fall at her dad’s house onto a wooden toy box or a fall she took from a horse at her cousin’s. Either way, the tumor was there. After much consulting with several doctors and tons of praying to the Lord, we decided to wait on God’s timing. The doctors wanted us to do the typical but God said to wait. Once we got ourselves out of the way and allowed God to have full control, He told Kate to just have it removed. No chemo prior like the doctor wanted for several years. We told her doctor and within a few days, Kate was having surgery (6/13). The tumor, floating rib, and muscle were removed for good margins. Results came back good with localized radiation treatments to follow for a short time. The Lord is good in His promises and since that day she’s been cancer-free.

Also in 2016 was when the Gatlinburg/Chimney Tops fires occurred. Val and I had gone away that weekend for our anniversary. A much-needed break from the previous scare. We stayed in a cabin in Chalet Village. Little did we know that we wouldn’t be able to return to our belongings that night of the fire. I had talked Val into leaving that evening to grab a bite to eat. I was afraid that a tree or branch would fall on the car since the wind was blowing so hard. When we tried to re-enter into G-burg, they turned us away. We were told to go the back way and so we did, all the way to I-40, thru Cosby, and was turned around at the later-to-be checkpoint. No warning, no indication as to what was going on. It was just mass confusion. Thinking back, we could’ve been trapped in that fiery inferno with no place to go with the fear of being burnt alive. Many people lost their lives that horrible night. Even though we didn’t feel the heat or even smell the smoke, the car while parked in the garage that night smelt of smoke. We didn’t notice this until the next day.


Born: Levi, Jacob, & Conrad
Deaths: Gene Self, Matthew Kidd, Donna Edmonds, Darlene Myers & Jamie Goforth

Val and I took the plunge on getting Lasik eye surgery and never looked back. We wished we had done it a whole lot sooner now.


Deaths: Thomas Woods, Donna Butler, Roger Tipton, Gwen Cloninger, Bonnie O’Neal, & Marie Tipton
Marriages: Mike & Sarah Rinck Somers, Blake & Sierra Howard Buck, Cameron & Aimee Estes Crisp, & Dustin & Monique Willis Parks

Marie is Valarie’s grandmother, mamaw to me. A well-loved and remembered lady, mostly for her love and compassion for the Lord. She worked hard her entire life not only taking care of her siblings like a mother but in her place of work in both Rush Strong and Lanier schools as a janitor. There was never a day that she didn’t wake and made sure she was dressed to go from top to bottom.


Deaths: Don Swaney, Joyce Crowder, Julia Swaney, Brenda Best, Mamie Best, Earl Adams, Daniel Crisp, Oscar Best, Jerry Bass, Jeff Self, Charles Myers, Willie Boring, “Junior” Bradley, Johnny Miles, Shawn Simms, & Daniel Michaud
Marriage: Jonathan & Natasha Hill Bass

Many people left this world in 2019 that I/we loved. Don, Joyce, Julia, Aunt Brenda, Mamaw Best, Jeff, and Willie. Jeff and Willie had a special place in my heart simply due to their commitment to the Lord. Both being deacons at our little church (New Providence Primitive) we grew up with them as we all got older and older.

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