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You never forget your roots, especially, as in my case, when you were fortunate to be blessed with a good experience in those formative years.
I spent a good portion of my youth on Sherwood Circle where we lived in the area known as Forest Hills.
A friend once teased me saying we lived in the neighborhood of “rich kids.”
True, they were professional people, and many, as I reflect, were at one point or another the “movers and shakers” in Lancaster who had a major hand in helping Lancaster prosper through the years.
The notion that we were “rich” was true, but it wasn’t all about wealth.
It was the people.
Two of those I recall today have gone on to their great reward because of the wonderful lives they led and how they impacted others, especially their neighbors.
Sis Bauknight and Marie Dixon were two of those folks I consider special in my life. Mrs. Bauknight was our next-door neighbor, while Mrs. Dixon lived on Forest Drive, not far from our home.
I knew both of them through my late mother, Bettie Howey.
There’s no doubt there’s been a great reunion in heaven this month. If they didn’t have bridge clubs, I’m sure they do now.
Those ladies enjoyed those afternoon card games, but that wasn’t their, pardon the pun, calling cards.
They gave back to the community, setting a prime example.
Mrs. Bauknight, for several years, help direct the Miss Lancaster Pageant.
She and my mother, working with the Lancaster Jaycees, took great pride in providing a quality event each year they worked together.
I recall my father, the late Jim Howey, served as the emcee. I’m sure Mrs. Bauknight’s husband, Lavoy, was there to provide his expert photography. I remember one year the pageant drew a former Miss America as part of the program.
It was a special event with packed audiences, a highlight of the year.
Mrs. Bauknight had that special classy touch in helping an event take shape. She had a special link to Miss Lancaster as her daughter, Meg, later was crowned Miss Lancaster and represented Lancaster in the Miss South Carolina pageant.
I know how Mrs. Bauknight could impact an event as she also directed my wedding. As it turned out, out of my three brothers, my wedding was the only one held in Lancaster.
I know my mother wanted it “done right,” so she summoned Mrs. Bauknight to have it come off without a hitch. Anne and I were married on Saturday, June 23, 1990.
Mrs. Bauknight’s special instructions to me were, “Robert, you make sure you go up to the church early and turn on the air, so all those people can enjoy your wedding.”
That’s was an example of how Mrs. Bauknight could make sure a small detail was handled to make a major event a success.
She was like that in the community, dedicated to her church, First United Methodist. She also shared the work of her late husband, Lavoy, with the community, those timeless photos which give a grand glimpse into Lancaster’s past.
Sharing and giving and looking to make something better was what Mrs. Bauknight was about.
Mrs. Dixon, like Mrs. Bauknight, was also a special lady.
For years, she made Sunday mornings special at church with her warm greeting, loving eyes and a bright smile.
Now and then, she would have a special picture for me. Usually something related to an event she and my mother had been a part of during their lives.
My fridge sports a photo she gave me a few years back. It’s a picture of my mother and Mrs. Dixon at the beach. You would get a chuckle at their beach attire, but not their looks because, in their day, they were a couple of “lookers.”
As the years passed, folks came to know their inner beauty as well.
Mrs. Dixon possessed a friendly voice and loving heart.
She had that special way of finding something good in a situation no matter what.
Her husband, the late Don Dixon, coached tennis in Lancaster and became known as the “Father of Tennis in Lancaster.” It was a title he deserved because he later was inducted into the S.C. Tennis Hall of Fame.
I once asked Mr. Dixon what was Mrs. Dixon’s role in his tennis success.
He noted she just “washed the uniforms.”
Mrs. Dixon always laughed about that duty, but you know, in sports, your appearance makes a difference in how you carry yourself on the court.
Mrs. Dixon did wash the clothes among other key duties. Veteran Lancaster High sports fans recall the tragic auto accident when Mr. Dixon was taking the girls tennis team to the state tournament one spring. One girl was killed and Mr. Dixon was injured which kept him sidelined for a long time.
Mrs. Dixon was the one who helped him through his recovery. She was also there when Mr. Dixon battled cancer.
She set a quiet example of being the faithful and loving partner. She washed the uniforms among other duties, but was always a most valuable player in handling those small, but vital roles. She knew her place and performed it well, but at the same time was faithful to our church and the community.
Mrs. Dixon, when we were together, loved to tell the story of how she got me to come over one Christmas to play Santa Claus for her family, especially her grandchildren. I snuck in and surprised them all. I had as good a time as anybody that memorable day at the Dixon home.
As I said, Mrs. Dixon, no matter the time of year, loved to tell the story. I think it was special because Mrs. Dixon kept a Christmas-like spirit all the time.
You know that aforementioned friend was right about being rich.
Any body who knew Marie Dixon and Sis Bauknight will tell you they were treasured friends. As we enter Thanksgiving week, I’m most grateful for their lives.
Robert Howey is sports editor for The Lancaster News