[printed in Hickman County Gazette]
First, you must realize that Virginia really was a “Jewell,” a gem, a beautiful soul with a heart overflowing with love and compassion for others. A West Virginia born girl who came to love the history & people of her adopted home of Hickman County. A very modest and unassuming woman who never wanted credit for her many services to her community. A loving friend to many. Devoted to her family.
A jewel is cut & shaped to reveal its inner beauty. Small flat cuts, called facets, reflect & refract light in many different directions to charm the eye. Virginia’s many interests & activities were the “facets” of her personality, aspects of her kind and generous nature.
Virginia was involved in so many ways with our community through her church, her music, her many clubs, the historical society, and our county museum.
I can only speak here about my personal Virginia, just about a few of the many “facets” of our jewel: the woman I worked with for so many years, the local historian, my dear friend.
Virginia preserved so much of our county’s history in her newspaper articles and her two books. And without her we simply would not have the Hickman County Museum. Virginia donated two houses and the land they stand on to become the museum. She gave us many family relics for our collection.
And most importantly Virginia gave of herself, of her time. Every Wednesday since the museum opened Virginia gave tours to visitors. She also worked on special events, fund raisers, and displays for the museum. Virginia and I often spoke about our local history to visiting groups at Columbus Belmont Ky State Park. We worked together on the recent renovation of the Park museum. And so much more.
As I write this I can’t help expecting any moment to feel a very familiar little tug on my shirt sleeve. This would always happen at the museum just before I would be interviewed by a newspaper or TV reporter.
I would turn around and there would be Virginia, whispering, “Now John, you don’t have to tell them all that about me.” And then Virginia would quietly slip to the back of the crowd hoping to avoid being interviewed or photographed.
I prefer now to think of Virginia as being somewhere behind me, out of my sight, quietly waiting for the crowd to go away, so we could be alone together.
I shall wait for that tug at my sleeve, that gentle voice. Someday, someday, I shall feel it again. And I will turn around. And there she will be.