I can still remember my kids running to the front door from outside calling “It’s Mr. Scott! It’s Mr. Scott!” and looking out the window to see Mr. Conolus Scott’s old white work truck pulling into our yard, the kids running out to meet him. He might be on his way home, but he sometimes made time to come in and sit a spell and have a glass of sweet tea.
I even remember him turning around one time to come back to the driveway after he spotted the kids outside as he went by. He’d always give them a pat on the head and a piece of candy or bubble gum.
Mr. Scott ran his own plumbing and electrical business and when we had a problem, or needed some work done, we knew who to call.
When I was a little girl, he worked with Oscar Jordan, who owned the business at the time, so you might say Mr. Scott was a familiar face all of my life.
Eventually after Charles and I married we moved to the Shiloh community near to where Mr. Scott and his family lived. We’d take the kids trick-or-treating at his and Mrs. Bernice’s house on Halloween where they were sure to get not only lots of candy but a hug or two from Mrs. Bernice.
Years later, after the kids were grown and we’d moved away from Shiloh, we’d still call on Mr. Scott for our plumbing and electrical issues and he was still working, though by then he was in his late eighties.
He was also still continuing to outsell everyone hands down on tickets to the Senior Center’s annual ham and egg supper fundraising event, for which he drove for miles and miles around the county each year, either in his truck or in his big car. He also served on their site committee for many years. I always knew to be on the lookout for him and ready to buy tickets, whether I would be able to go to the event or not. You just didn’t say “no” to Mr. Scott.
The year he turned 90, I was looking for a candidate for a Veterans Day feature for the paper and Mr. Scott’s name came up. I called him up and went to visit with him in his home on the hill, where I had not been for many years. Bernice had just died the previous winter and he was on oxygen part-time, but he was as quick and clever as ever. He told me about his experiences as an Army officer during WWII and of how his ship endured a submarine attack as they crossed the Atlantic. He was a young boy who had never been away from home, away from Madison County, until then. Devoted to his mother, Ms. Jennie V. Williams (his father died when he was just 2 and she had re-married), he must have been so homesick. He didn’t tell me about that, but I could feel it in his voice. He told me he had always hoped he could go back some day to see places he had served, but he knew by then that that wasn’t in the cards.
He told me about meeting and marrying Bernice, a girl introduced to him by his mother, and about learning the electrical and plumbing trade under Mr. Jordan. He told me about him and Bernice going down to Florida every fall and winter to work in a factory, leaving their son with his mother to go to school, and then coming back in warmer weather to work once again with Mr. Jordan. He eventually took over the business after Jordan’s death.
It was a good afternoon and I was glad to get to know him better and hear more details about his life. His late mother had been something of a celebrity, having lived to the ripe old age of 106, Madison County’s longest-lived citizen. The fellowship hall at Tabor’s Chapel, where Mr. Scott served as a deacon, was named in her honor.
A couple of years after that my son and his fiancé found a dog running around in a grocery store parking lot. They couldn’t find the dog’s owner, and fearing it would get run over, they brought her home. The dog was as sweet as could be and promptly made herself at home on our couch. We called the animal shelter to report finding her and were told that an elderly gentleman had come looking for a dog that fit her description. They said he was pretty upset.
I asked for the man’s name and number and they told me it was Mr. Scott. I had to smile, but I hurried up and called him so that he wouldn’t worry. It was after dark, so Mr. Scott, relieved to know his “Sallie” was OK, told me he’d come get her the next morning, since he didn’t like to drive after dark. He wouldn’t hear of us bringing Sallie to him, and for Sallie’s part, she seemed quite content on our couch, petted and pampered. He didn’t say a lot, but I could hear the relief in his voice and I knew he was happy to know his Sallie was OK.
He came early the next day to pick her up and she greeted him, tail wagging, in the driveway.
It made us all happy to see Mr. Scott and his Sally reunited. I can still see them heading up the driveway, Mr. Scott waving out the window and Sallie, up in her place in the back window. It’s a good memory, and it’s one of many I’m glad to have of a very good man, full or dignity, grace, humility and a kind heart.
Last week Mr. Scott, age 96, went home to be with his mother and with his beloved Bernice.
Monday night Mr. Scott was honored with a visitation at the senior center where he served so faithfully. I heard there that he passed away peacefully, his son by his side. His son, daughter and two grandchildren were on hand to greet the numerous folks who came to say goodbye and pay tribute.
Rest in peace, dear Mr. Scott, our community will miss you.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.