Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"October" - Remembering a Friend

Dr. Henry Outlaw requested this tribute be posted here. It is a fitting memorial in verse to a good friend of ours from long ago.

In my dream I meet my dead friend.
I ask, "How you been?" She grins and looks at me. "I been eating peaches off some mighty fine trees."
-Wendell Berry

Her face was the face of dreams,
As time goes by, and memory shapes itself
Around the heart, I cannot always be sure of
What I remember; cannot even know for
sure if it was real or not, or whether it ever
was at all. But it doesn’t matter in the end,
So long as it is real to me and I can carry it with
me into the life that remains.....

There comes a day
when the light glints through the evening shade
when the cicadas slow their call,
when the north breeze cools your face,
when streams and sky blend a blue color,
when the autumn days begin their short run,
when the church bell tolls clear,
when the leaves go gold as an evening sunset,
when light and color and sound and time change to a softer tone,
when the chestnut burrs plop quickly to the earth,
when, in a gust of wind, the chinkapins are falling,
when summer is over but the sun is warm again,
when the great shadows lengthen in the fields,
when the wild geese, high in the evening sky,
spread out over the the landscape

I think of you.

For now October has come back again,
The strange and lonely month comes back again,
And you will not return.

-Henry E. Outlaw

In memory of Monte Jean Caldwell who died in a
tragic automobile accident near Lebanon Mountain, MS
in October, 1957.


  1. The countless times that I have gone by that crossroads, I have always thought of her and probably will continue to do so.

    Thanks, Henry.

  2. Like it, Henry.
    Good stuff.

  3. We were certainly devastated by that. Thanks for the tribute, Henry. Nice article. Very well done.

  4. I see that Jerry Mears is listed in the In Memoriam section. Like some of the rest of us he participated in the Battle of Oxford in 1962--except he made the history books and most of the rest of us didn't!

    Here's a passage from An American Insurrection by William Doyle, published in 2001: "Colonel [Guy] Gravlee's driver, PFC Jerry Mears, had to smash the Jeep through a roadblock of lumber and concrete as the mob bombarded the convoy with hand-thrown missiles. Then the convoy passed through a flurry of Molotov cocktails, which set one of the truck tarps ablaze" (p. 243).

    Memories of the Baldwyn National guardsmen about their role in the integration of Ole Miss might be an interesting thread for this blog.

  5. Bobby H.;
    The book you mentioned, An American Insurrection, sounds interesting. I just bought a copy on Ebay 10 minutes ago. Thanks for the tip.

    I was really watching that from the Memphis area. We were on standby alert for that and the Berlin Wall Crisis about that same time. We had just gotten the stand-down over the Cuba Missile crisis a short time before that. What a sizzling time those years were!

  6. Many of the regular army troops we met at Oxford thought they were being mobilized for an invasion of Cuba. It didn't take 30,000 troops to integrate Ole Miss, so I've always thought that there was a link to the troop buildup in Oxford and the Cuban missile crisis--but I've found only one published historical account that links the two events. Any other thoughts on the matter?

  7. Yep, one other comes to mind, Bobby. I had a friend who was also a NG member and worked as cameraman for WHBQ AM/FM/TV in Memphis. He was, along with many others in the news media in the surrounding area, taken by the US government (at their expense) and covered the Ole Miss situation. There had to be some news from there several times a day emphasizing the show of force and it had to be sent to the national media.

    Perhaps that was the only thing going at the time that could be shown for the benefit of proving we had a mighty force at the ready?