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Memories explode as we look back at brother’s life


My brother, Kenneth, was good, maybe even great, at everything he did.
Well, nearly everything. Golf would be an exception, although he loved the game and would play with anybody, even really good golfers.
And then there’s basketball, although he claimed to have the highest scoring percentage ever at his high school. His coach sent him in for one minute in a game that couldn’t possibly have been lost, and Kenneth scored two points. As far as I know, no one at Gainesville High School has ever scored more than two points a minute.
And then there’s baseball, and he wasn’t very good, either, at keeping up with his Marty Marion shortstop glove, which I kept perfectly protected with neatsfoot oil. It was my glove for decades after he married and moved away.
But he was great at officiating at baseball, basketball and football games, and he broke only one leg doing so, that being at a high school football game.
And then there’s fighting. Kenneth wasn’t afraid of anybody, and he couldn’t refuse a dare. He might have won at least one fight if he’d weighed at least 50 more pounds.
I could go on, but… Okay, I will. For some strange reason, Kenneth was carrying a “torpedo” firecracker in his back pocket when he did something that displeased our mother. She fetched a razor strop, a tool for discipline at our house, and gave him a whipping, obviously striking the torpedo, which explodes when thrown onto pavement or hit by a razor strop. Mother cried harder than Kenneth when he exhibited his wounded rump.
All that aside, Kenneth was a perfect companion at the dinner table, assuming you had something you wanted to talk about for 45 minutes, because that’s how long it took him to eat a sandwich.
Now here’s the great part.
Kenneth made excellent grades all the way from elementary to high school and beyond. He persevered for eight years to get a diploma in business and advertising from the University of Georgia. He was married with kids, eventually four, and could attend classes only at night.
Kenneth was a newspaper man to the core. He started delivering papers at The Daily Times, now just The Times of Gainesville, when he was a mere child.
He was everything from circulation manager to advertising director to publisher during his long career, most of it at The Times and The Winder News in Georgia and The Franklin Press in Franklin, N.C. His integrity was unquestioned.
He was a family man who was always there for his wife and children. He was the world’s greatest fan of gospel music, the Atlanta Braves and University of Georgia football.
A few days ago, as I stood by his bed holding his hand, I sort of apologized for keeping his baseball glove for decades. And I thanked him for giving me his guaranteed-to-hit-straight golf clubs.
The sad part is he won’t be there to help me swing them.