Friday, October 17, 2014

Right Thing to Do

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Today we took a quick drive to Morrilton’s Walmart, then back for a quick drive around the park and then lunch at the Lodge.  Most of the drive was along Red Bluff Drive, on the north side of Cedar Creek, which runs through the park, into Lake Bailey (pictures in yesterday’s blog), and down Cedar Falls (2012 blog picture above).

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At the second overlook on Red Bluff Drive, you can see this bench above. On the side of the bench is this plaque, below.

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I just happen to know the story behind this plaque…it is a sad story, a story of the love of a father and his son.  Jeff’s father James “Jitters” Morgan was the Farmer’s Insurance agent for the town of White Hall when I moved to the Pine Bluff area in 1991.  He was very active in the community, as was his wife.  If I had ever met his son Jeff, I don’t remember it….but I knew Jitters and Lynn.  On December 1992, Jeff was hiking along the ridge close to where this plaque is located…and although he was an avid outdoors type of person, he slipped, and fell into the canyon below.  Around spring time, 1993, Jitters approached me at the library…this was before I was the Director, and my office was in the White Hall Library just down the street from his Insurance business.  Jitters told me that Jeff had a favorite book, it was a book written for the young teenager.  He was unsure of the title, but together we figured out the name of the book.  The Library did not have a copy, but he wanted to read it.  I told him I would get it through Interlibrary Loan, where we borrow it from another library.  But instead, I ordered a couple copies….put one in each of our Libraries with a special copy put in the White Hall Library with a plate inside dedicated to Jeff. 

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Above left is the covered overlook just to the right of the bench.  Above right is what the bench oversees, you can see the bench in the far left corner of that picture.
As for the book….I also ordered an extra copy which I gave to Jitters….I took the money out of the White Hall Friends of the Library fund to pay for that copy.   He just wanted to read his son’s favorite book…I wanted him to have a copy of that book for his own collection.   It was the right thing to do…..  

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Above is a picture from the Pine Bluff Commercial, showing Jitters (left) with other Lions Club Members at the White Hall Food Bank.
As for Jitters, if he thanked me once, he thanked me a hundred times….it really meant a lot to him. He gave up the Insurance Business….and became Mayor of the City…and stayed Mayor for 16 years.  The “James "Jitters" Morgan White Hall Community Center” is currently under construction, with opening date planned for the spring of 2015.  It includes a full size gymnasium/basketball court, various fitness zones, an indoor elevated walking track, several meeting rooms and an outdoor public fishing pond.  This past summer they just opened the Crenshaw Springs Water Park.  The White Hall Chamber of Commerce gives out an annual award with his name on it.  The City of White Hall was just named one of the ten safest cities in the State of Arkansas.  Much of this can be attributed to this one man, Jitters Morgan.  In his younger days Jitters was a High School Referee and Umpire for Football, Basketball and Baseball.  Some people are leaders, good people like Jitters just lead.  We can sure use more of that in this day and age.

4 comments:

  1. I can't imagine losing a child. It's nice you were able to find the book for Jitters.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I only wish I could remember the name of it....it was so long ago, and there are so many books.

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    2. What a sad story, but with some happy highlights. Nice of you to put the book in the libraries, and get an extra for Jitters. He sounds like quite a man. :)

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    3. Thanks Barbara. Don't know what it is like to lose a child, hope I don't find out. His son was his glimmer in his eye....a real good kid with all of life ahead of him. Sad.

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