When I first came to Seymour more than 25 years ago, about three months into my service here, former owner Gary Sosniecki gave me the assignment of snapping a photo of local U.S. military veterans placing flags on the tombstones of fellow service members at local cemeteries for the upcoming Veterans Day holiday.
One of photos I shot was of Sam Wilson, then a younger member of Seymour’s Wilson-Alexander American Legion Post No. 306.
This Nov. 11, someone will place a flag on Sam’s grave, where he has been reunited with his sweetheart and wife of more than 56 years, Joyce, who passed away a few years ago.
I’ve known Sam since I’ve been in Seymour.
He was a good Sam.
I remember when he was the maintenance guru at the Ozark Correctional Center, a state prison located between Diggins and Fordland.
I remember when he ran backhoe ads with me before and after his retirement.
I remember when he officially “retired” and traveled across the country with Joyce in their R.V.
Since I can remember, Sam was an in-office Citizen subscriber. For more than two decades, I saw him every Wednesday, barring a few respites when he and Joyce were in some far-away campground, then he’d pick up his small stack of papers when they returned.
Sam was a quiet guy on the surface. But he was one heckuva good guy. He was on duty at hundreds of military funerals, standing guard for the last rites of others who had served their country.
He was a fixture at the Seymour Senior Citizens’ Center, again often volunteering.
As I write this, I remember the last time I saw Sam, two weeks ago, as he picked up his newspaper. Anna commented that Sam was looking thin. But like he always did, he greeted each of us, asked if there was any “hot news.”
Seymour is full of Sam Wilsons.
They often serve behind the scenes, void of the spotlight.
But they are the people who make our small town so darn special. Without the Sam Wilsons, Seymour becomes a miniature Nixa, a bedroom community where people seldom know their neighbor’s name.
I’m glad I knew Sam Wilson.
Blessed is a better description.
I’ll miss him, just like I’ve missed many others who made Seymour ... well, Seymour.
Sam’s in a better place now, beside his bride and best friend.
And Seymour was a better place because of Sam.
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Reading time, two minutes:
• Free anyone who claims they can’t find a job.
Spotted in Seymour this week were six signs on local businesses soliciting new employees.
Starting pay ranged from $12 to $17 per hour.
Ever wonder why immigrants are flooding America?
It’s because many Americans won’t work.
• Seymour High School’s baseball wrapped up a successful fall campaign Thursday, falling to Mansfield in the title game of the Summit Conference’s season-ending tourney.
The Tigers finished 8-5 this fall.
That record was a perfect 7-0 against league opponents until Thursday’s loss to the rival Lions.
First-year head coach Ty Lumley did a fine job in his debut. Only 23 years old, his future seems bright.
This spring could be a special one for the Tiger batsmen.
• Movies return this fall to the historic Owen Theatre on the south side of the Seymour square.
Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, in conjunction with the city of Seymour’s “Shop Seymour This Christmas” event, five consecutive Christmas-themed movies will be shown on the big screen.
Color movie posters advertising the five movies now are being distributed around town. One appears in the marquee at the Owen’s entrance.
All are family-friendly movies.
And you can’t beat the price.
Until next week.
Dan Wehmer is the Citizen’s editor, publisher and owner.
He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.