Down Memory Lane

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By Joyce Caughron Rhodes

Once again, the trail down Memory Lane, led to this tale of honesty. I believe this trait was embedded in me after thinking God might strike me dead, because I kept one of his nickel from the collection plate. I believe some of the actions of my parents played a bigger part.
One time my Momma, my siblings and I walked to town so she could buy groceries. I don’t know if you remember but I mentioned we lived about the distance from East End to Tiptonville from our town of Obion. Well, we made the round trip and when we got home Momma decided for some reason to count her change. To her surprise she noticed she had a quarter too much. In those days a quarter could buy much more than today.
Momma said, “Joyce, will you take this quarter back to the store?” and I said, “Of course I will.” She knew I would love skating back to town.
Thinking of honesty, I also thought of integrity and this led to this memory of my Daddy. Later in life, he owned a welding shop in Troy, Tennessee.
My uncle and aunt were visiting from Florida and he offered to go pick my Daddy up at the shop.
He told us when they got home,” Ed had already locked the shop and this farmer drove up and wanted to know if your Daddy would weld some part for him.” He said, “Your Daddy opened the shop and welded the piece and the farmer wanted to know how much he owed him?”
Daddy said, “Fifty cents.”
My Uncle John replied, “Edward, I wouldn’t open the shop back up for Fifty cents!” Daddy told him, “I didn’t want to overcharge him and he needed the part fixed.”
Now, I recall another memory about honesty.
I’m sure Harry Lee would not want me to tell this, but this is what happened. We had gone to Hernando, Mississippi to get married. It was on June 9, 1950. My girlfriend Carolyn DeMyer and our friend Robert Vaughn had gone with us; this is probably another tale for later.
I told Harry Lee I would not be able to go to his house for another week. I think I also told him before we married anyway, he could not understand why I couldn’t go with him. I told him, “I just can’t go now.” I stayed with my girlfriend, Lulu. We were out of school and she had rented an apartment in the old Wilson Hotel in downtown, Obion. She had a new job and wanted to be close to her work so I stayed with her. He did come to see me every day.
I had a part-time job, working about 2 or 3 hours in the afternoons, at Nichols Variety Store. I also owed this store $10.00 on purchases, I had previously made. Later, when I told him why I stayed he could hardly believe it. “I could have paid for that. I had plenty of money in my pocket.” He said, “I always had money.” I knew this was probably true, because he worked parttime in the grocery store.
“I know,” I told him, “but this is not your bill and I didn’t want you to pay for something I owed.” Maybe I did take this ‘honesty’ a bit too far, looking back now.

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