Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Phone call from Clyde

Clyde Beeler called this morning.

I met Clyde earlier in the year. He's one of the Greatest Generation, proud Navy man, great guy.

Clyde served on the USS Pittsburgh, the Baltimore-class heavy cruiser that was hit by a typhoon in the Pacific during World War II. It was the greatest adventure of Clyde's life.

He told me he'd read a piece I'd written this week on the Battle of Kings Mountain. Says the grave of one of its vets is located in a big, old cemetery in Grainger County, up near where he was born.

"Call me sometime and I'll go with you," he said.

I told him I would.

Then Clyde starts telling me about a bridge not far from the cemetery. He says a gang ran through there back in the '30s, killing a Union County sheriff named Hutchison in the process. He told me he'd show me that, too.

And he gave me the name of another Navy man who called Clyde after my article came out. "He's got a story to tell you!"

These grand old guys are leaving us. Clyde is up in his 80s, mentally sharp, but slowing down. They will be gone one day and with them will go their stories and their spirits.

Getting to tell their tales has been the best part of my beat.

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