This afternoon, I attended a memorial service for Ms. Mildred Shelor. It was kind of strange, as I had only met her once, and that was in passing. But, she had managed to have a deep impact on my life.
About, wow, was it really 5 years ago? I met Joannah. She was the newly elected chair of the GCSU College Republicans. Since I was the chair at Georgia Military College, we started working together on projects. As our friendship blossomed, she told me that her uncle was going to replace the retiring chair of the Division of Social Sciences at GMC. Honestly, I was guarded. He was replacing a family friend… I didn’t figure I’d get along with the new guy as well.
Boy, was I wrong. The metal pointer wielding retired Marine officer soon captured my confidence and my trust. We also became close, and he was one of my first mentors in the academic sphere. I’d sit in his office long after the day’s lecture (along with the “high speed, log drag note taking”) had been completed. There, we’d discuss topics far beyond the realm of world history. We’d talk about American history, the “War of Yankee Aggression,” the fight for independence, today’s fight to continue independence. There was scarcely an aspect of history, politics, or philosophy that remained uncovered.
Well, time moved on, and I eventually graduated from GMC. During the summer between that graduation, and beginning my studies at Georgia College, Joannah called me to help with a congressional campaign in Warner Robins. I, being bored out of my mind and needing a distraction, agreed, as long as housing and food was provided. Occasionally, I was housed in a motel. But, most of the time, I crashed in the guestroom of Joannah’s parents, Ms. Elaine and Mr. Ken. Over the course of four months, they also became dear friends. By the time the election was over, (we lost, unfortunately) they were all like a second family to me. Our paths continued to cross, and the friendship has remained strong and has even strengthened over the past few years.
Col. Shelor gave me advice, and friendship, when I needed most. I don’t know if I would have graduated GMC if it hadn’t been for his willing ear to allow me to talk things out, from impeachment battles, to leadership issues, to the general “palace intrigue” that comes with a small school. Ms. Elaine gave me a bed when I was as weary as an individual can be. At one point, I even leaned over to untie my shoes, and woke up 6 hours later (a very long night in campaign mode) fully dressed, on top of the covers, with my shoe halfway off.
Anyway, my point is both the son (Col. Shelor), and the daughter (Ms. Elaine) must have been raised by an incredible mother. Their hospitality and kindness is of the type which is not acquired in adulthood. It was something that had to be ingrained throughout their lives. In accomplishing this, Ms. Shelor, who I never knew, has touched my life forever.
We sang this hymn as part of the service.