Bill Gdanitz dropped by the office Monday.
He was carrying an envelope.
A thick one.
In it were 10 checks totaling $825, all made out to the Owen Theatre.
All were given by various businesses and individuals in memory of Charlie Haywood, who recently passed away after literally serving as Seymour’s professional volunteer for the past two decades.
“He was my friend, Dan, and he was a friend to a whole lot of people,” Bill said as he handed me the envelope. “My goal was to raise $1,000, and we nearly made it.”
The $825 he gave to me was plenty.
It was unexpected.
And the donation itself was a perfect explanation of why people are proud to call Seymour home. It’s why locals stay here. It’s why newcomers come here.
Small towns offer relationships not often found in larger communities and certainly not in large cities.
When someone like Charlie Haywood is taken from us, we all mourn. If a memorial is available to pay tribute to our friend, especially a memorial that benefits our community, we are glad to give.
When Bill came in, sitting on my desk were five checks that totaled $525, all to the Owen Theatre and all in memory of Charlie.
In my briefcase are three more checks, totaling $400.
At the hometown Holman-Howe Funeral Home, I’m told an amount of memorial donations similar to the one Bill dropped off is coming the Owen’s way.
Hundreds of dollars of additional donations have been given in his memory to the Seymour Lions Club.
Charlie Haywood was a special man.
There are many more just like him here — good people who are glad to serve Seymour in any way possible simply to make our community better.
In a nation that seems to have ever-increasing hate and strife from coast to coast, a national audience could take a lesson or two in civility from our small town.
People here often disagree.
They often argue.
But they remain friends. They move on and resolve to work together.
That’s why new people come to southern Webster County every day. Ultimately, life is about relationships.
We have relationships here.
* * * * * *
Reading time, three minutes:
• Since I’m being nice this week, let’s not free anyone.
• Sticking with the theme of remembering those we’ve lost, Seymour lost a longtime local business owner last week with the passing of Bob Findley.
For years, I ate many a meal with Bob, wife Sally and Bob’s mama, Jaunita, at Speedy’s Cafe, just down the sidewalk from the Citizen on the west side of the square.
He made a fine “Speedyburger.”
Bob was a relatively quiet, reserved guy, despite being extremely tall.
Sally was and is the opposite. They made a unique pair.
His death was unexpected. I’m sure it’s a shock to the family and especially Bob’s children, who are young.
An account to assist the family has been set up at The Seymour Bank. To help, see Gena Cooper at the bank or give her a call at 417-935-2293.
• Terry Penner gave her final update last Friday for her Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Stimulus (C.A.R.E.S.) Act assistance in Seymour.
Penner, hired as administrator of the program for the city of Seymour this past spring, literally worked herself out of a job. Someday, everyone here will step back and realize that she brought nearly a million dollars in federal money to our community.
She, and she alone, could’ve pulled this off.
• Call this my plug for floats.
Specifically, floats for the Seymour Christmas Parade, which arrives at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5.
As of Monday, we’ve got four entries.
Let’s get that total to a dozen.
Simply stated, 2020 has been a lousy year. So, let’s cap this miserable rotation around the sun with the greatest Christmas parade our community has ever seen, filled with floats wrapping around Seymour’s square.
To enter a float, call the Citizen office at 417-935-2257 or Bob Crump at 935-4039.
• Finally, hoops fans can get their fix this Friday.
That’s when the Seymour High School boys’ basketball teams will open their varsity and junior-varsity seasons at Chadwick.
Next Monday, the Tiger girls open at Forsyth.
Action starts on both nights at 6 p.m.
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.