A joy ride: Alice Jo Mole remembered by friend

So, now the circle has become smaller.

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017, my beloved Alice Jo Mole made her exit from this place as quietly as she had lived in Barnwell during the past three quarters of a century.

Folks from all walks of life are feeling this newly-created void in their hearts. If you never met Alice Jo, “Mole”,”Allie”, ”Jojo” or more recently,”AJ”, allow me to make the introduction. Please pull up a chair. You see, she was my very first friend.

As little children my pals Sylvia Hogg, Alice Jo Mole and I shared a mutual love: westerns! We could hardly wait to go to the picture show: Saturdays at the Ritz Theater meant watching westerns all day long! We donned our favorite cowboy/cowgirl outfits complete with boots, spurs, hats and especially our cap pistols. We were ready!

When Lash Larue cracked his bull whip, it was our signal to fire away. Whoa! From that day forward, we three had to check our guns in with Mrs. Dobson or Kathy Harris, whichever owner was on duty at the time. (I loved the smell of those fired caps!)

The years rolled by. We attended Barnwell schools together, graduating in 1960.

My sidekick went into the medical field returning to the Barnwell County Hospital as their X-ray and lab technician for a stint lasting 49 years. Somehow her presence in that hospital afforded patients and family members a certain level of comfort just knowing we were under her watchful, caring eye. Per usual, her kind deeds for fellow co-workers were all done quietly.

After purchasing a house on Edisto Beach, “AJ” blended right in with the locals. Her new beach friends shared her love of being on Edisto, reading, fishing in the creeks, hunting for and finding shark teeth, or perhaps just digging her toes in the sand while ocean- watching. Her life was forever changed because this island offered her “a happy place”. The stresses of work were a hundred miles away. She truly believed that a little pluff mud could cure anything!

Yet, there was another life-changing event still ahead: our friend made five volunteer trips to the Carolina Honduras Health Foundation with Dr. Henry Gibson. This quiet lady from Barnwell ventured beyond her comfort zone to share her medical expertise in helping others. Once again, she was forever changed.

So, now you have met my childhood friend Alice Jo Mole. Her love for people, all kinds of people, was quite evident. We have already said “AJ” loved westerns, Edisto Beach, and her medical profession. Her quiet devoted affection for family, close friends, and God was sometimes too personal to share. We never wanted to intrude. She was indeed her own self, a very private person.

There’s no telling just how many times I will drive by 9409 Patterson Street, slow down, and take one more peep at that front porch. I am accustomed to straining my eyes in hopes of seeing her reading a good book from her chair, watching the birds, or perhaps awaiting another visitor to share ole Barnwell stories. Guess lots of friends will also be watching “just in case”.

Yes, it is true that the circle is now smaller. Here lies the comfort: the circle remains unbroken forevermore.