Pop quiz: how many of you can name your elementary school teachers?
It’s not a trick question, and not to brag because my parents taught me not to boast, but I know.
In order from first through seventh grades, their last names were Downey, Tetterton, Boswell, Dixon, Green, Powell, Gwynn and Hufham, and the reason there are eight is that our class had two teachers for at least our seventh grade year.
I’ve had the pleasure of reconnecting with one of my teachers recently, Diane Powell, at a gathering on Sunday honoring her late husband, Calvin “Runt” Powell, when a bridge was named in his honor in the Wolf Trap community of Halifax County.
According to Diane Powell, her husband always wanted to live on Wolf Trap Road, not too far from the store that bears his name, and he got that wish.
Judging by the crowd of friends and family gathering at the bridge on Sunday afternoon, Runt had a lot going for him.
From what everyone says, Runt cared about the community and its young people, much like his wife in her teaching career.
I’ve gotten to know a lot of community-minded folks, since I moved back home, and that’s a bragging point for a lot or rural areas like Halifax County.
Richmond, like most urban areas, has its calling cards including convenient access to entertainment, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, parks and recreation.
I enjoyed my time in Richmond because of these conveniences, but I still call Halifax County home.
It’s hard for rural areas to get attention nowadays, and the attention we get from some pundits is less than positive - mainly that we’re not progressive enough, we’re too old and too conservative.
We’ve all heard the putdowns, so I won’t go into detail in this space, but businesses such as the one into which Runt poured his heart and soul need our support.
Before the advent of paved roads, country stores, much like churches and schools, provided focal points for news and information before smart phones and the internet.
Friends and neighbors would meet each other face-to-face and catch up on their communities.
Runt’s was typical in that neighbors found out about neighbors and their needs, in sickness and in health.
Sunday’s turnout of community leaders from all walks of life honoring the memory of Runt and what his family still means to the community of Halifax County should resonate through each and every neighborhood.
Casting an arched eyebrow toward the mess in our state capital, we at home need each other more than ever.
It doesn’t matter whether we’re having coffee at any of the multitudes of meeting spots throughout the county, leaning over the tailgate of a pickup truck, over a grocery cart in the aisles of a grocery store or across a church pew, we’re all part of something bigger than any one of us.
Runt wouldn’t have it any other way.