When I was a boy growing up in Greenville many years ago, it was not the thriving metropolis it is today but more like a small, pleasant Southern town. There was a courtly old gentleman seen around town, known by everyone, and as he passed adults and young people alike would say, "There goes Joe Tolbert. He's a Republican."
This was similar to comments throughout South Carolina as well as the entire South. Practically everyone was a Democrat, and the Democratic Primary was equivalent to election, in most cases.
The death of Brother Scott last week brought back the memory of these times because, at one time, he was one of the very few Republicans in York. This put the two of us in direct disagreement in almost everything, but we were always able to keep things on an unemotional and respectful level.
We spent hours discussing these things on many occasions but we always remained very good friends. Just last December we had a "Saturday morning Coffee Hour" at our house and there are many who have told me they were so glad they had that last time with him.
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Brother did not go many places in his last days but he told Helen this was one occasion he wanted to be a part of. There was not enough time then to really talk with him much but we were also glad to have had it.
I suspect most of those who read this column have different political beliefs than me, so I have no idea of getting in to anything on a very deep level. Most of my friends are Republicans but they manage to overlook my "shortcomings" and we get along very well.
These friends also think of me as a "liberal" and I don't try to argue any more, but it is a label I really don't deserve. The true liberals of our history were men with names such as Madison, Jefferson and Monroe.
However, I truly find the ideals of the Democratic Party to be nearer my own but I would be the first to admit how often we all come short.
There are those who do reach the heights however, and I do not have to look very far to find one. The high school kid across Kings Mountain Street when I came to York and whose father was a good friend of mine was one. He grew up and now is serving his 13 term as my Congressman. How we could use more Republicans and Democrats of the statue of John Spratt.
York resident H. Sanford Howie Jr. is executive director emeritus of the Episcopal Church Home for Children.