the luckiest guy I ever knew…


Wayne Sargent Smith 1952-2007

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I met Wayne Smith when we were teenagers. It was right at the time my family moved to the Washington DC suburbs. My father had bought a house right in the center of houses being framed,or not even that far ahead-and to be able to free up the Mayflower truck the contractor rushed to finish a downstairs room to store our furniture in.
It was my job as a 15 year old kid to be dropped off there and sit all day with that furniture.
Wayne and his split brother Rick were my first guests-as soon as my father dropped me off the first day these two guys were at my door.
There is too many places I can go from here when it comes to talking about these three teens and that era of the 1960’s hanging out in a house with out supervision-ha!. We were buddys since from those days on.

When I got out of the Navy and ended up in Micanopy Florida-I met my first wife,her dad helped me get married at the end of a twelve gauge and all my pal’s from up that way outside of Washington came down in a caravan of jeeps and motorbikes to see the event.
Of course my bride and I took off for Daytona to honeymoon and the group that came down from the north was in awe of the change in scenery-so they stuck around a few days and infiltrated the town like a bunch of uptown hippies.
Micanopy,you have to understand…in 1970 it was still a blend of the original families , a small tiny town of country folk, and this handful of artist beatnick hippies-there is a difference,okay? So the town was’nt ready for this crew.

Now how it happened-I aint sure. Wayne met Dee Blackwelder-a fourteen year old from Worthington Springs Florida. Now in 1970-a any hippie with long hair did’nt enter certain communities in Florida with out nearly getting the tar and feathers-Worthington Springs was one of those communities. But Wayne met Dee and they got married. And with her he got this family-one darned huge family.
Now here’s another place where this can go in different directions-but its really Dee this is about and how lucky Wayne Smith was to have wondered around Alachua County and found a dirt road and followed that road until he saw Dee,its a wonder he did’nt get shot…

Wayne and I had this on and off kind of friendship. We never realized when I came to Florida one of of my best pal’s from high school would follow-so we were friends-as Dee told me yesterday,we are family.

These past three months I’ve been really down-I have had a need to talk to someone and it never crossed my mind to ever talk to Dee. She called me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d come to a birthday party-for a dog…thats just the way it is around thier place,and while we were on the phone I was reminded by her wisdom in her conversation and how she makes such complicated things as losing her husband very smooth.
Well-I attended the birthday party. Its always just her family and her sisters newest boyfriend ,and they are very sweet simple people-Dee’s mom retired from repairing the machines at the old Franklin Crate mill and her step dad spent his nights at that mill on a golf cart watching over acres of slats of wood and not much anything else-he’s retired too.
I cant remark on Dee’s education-how far a girl would go in school only to married at fourteen-so I dont reckon there was much school after that. But to sit down and talk to Dee you could’nt even use a mile of school papers to match the wisdom that comes from that womans heart.
They were married 33 years,she said yesterday she was in love with a man who is in a grave and couldnt wait to one day be with him again…but until then she just has to wait until the right time,when he’s ready-she’s ready.
It was like the most complex thing made so simple by the way she talks. She mixes her words like sailor-but that is so easy to over look by the way she emptys out word after word of -wow,its too hard to really describe it….but it is so pure and real it lifts you up.
I can tell that this 47 year old widow is one of those widows tales are made about…the old widow woman,she is not. Dee is a lesson to take in learning what love must be like.
There were too many family members there the other week for ‘Bubba’s’ birthday party to be be able to talk with Dee much with out interuption. You have to understand-on one side of the house is where Dee’s son lives,he is actually her nephew-but she and Wayne raised him. Next door on the other side is one of Dee’s sisters ex’s,and after that in the next house is Dee’s mom and step dad-behind all that is a small travel trailer-some uncle lives there. So its a ready party-another son lives with Dee’s mom and step dad-and there’s the sisters…and thier girls,so it was and is always busy. Not to mention the sisters newest boyfriend.

Yesterday it was the right time. We sat on the front porch and I listened as Dee went on…telling things about Wayne and heaven and God and life and the wonder of it all , but she was telling it in a way that I could’nt help to think what a lucky guy Smith was.
March 16,1952-May 16,2007

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