Leila S. Case: A sleepless election night of surprises

Published 7:30 pm Monday, November 14, 2016

As I write on Tuesday afternoon, it’s difficult to focus on the topic because of the outcome of today’s election, especially the next president of the United States of America.
All that is moot now, and we all know the results, local, state and national. Hopefully we can move forward in a new direction in America, working for global peace and a better national, state and local economy. Although the election outcome was a surprise to many, Wednesday dawned as always: a meteor didn’t shatter Earth to smithereens; the moon rose that evening, and I finished this piece in time to enjoy a brief visit with my oldest grandson, Zachary Herndon of Atlanta.
On the same day a new president was elected, there was another one here that was not controversial. Sumter Historic Trust elected officers and a board of directors for 2017, at its annual meeting at the Lee Council House, headquarters for the local preservation organization.
Superior Court Judge Rucker Smith conducted the election in his own inimitable manner, a pleasant duty he assumed from the late Americus attorney Billy Smith, a true gentleman and scholar admired by many people near and far.
They are Jessi Simmons, president; James Edgemon, immediate past president; Nancy Fitzgerald, corresponding secretary; Meg Usrey, recording secretary; Kathleen Lang-Tucker, treasurer; Chet Crowley, parliamentarian; and Meredith Owen, president-elect 2018. Board members are Rachel Arnold, Leila Case, Kim Christmas, Charles Crisp, Joe Daniel, Sally Edgemon, Hope Henderson, Marylynne Joiner, Mark Minick, Tara Mitchell, Meredith Owen, Nick Owens, Faith Pinnell, Genie Powell, Jenny Reeves, Jocelyn Rogers, Claire Simmerson, Catey Simmons, Angela Smith, John Stovall, and Lee Sumner.
Before conducting the election, Smith reminded everyone that it was the Trust’s 44th annual meeting, the organization having been founded in November 1972, and Dr. Gatewood Dudley served as the first president. That was the month we moved to Americus and were asked to join, and we did. Though the years I have enjoyed working with this group as a member and later an officer and now a board member on many, many worthwhile historic preservation and educational projects.
As mentioned in last Saturday’s column, Kim Christmas and Meredith Owen gave an informative slide presentation about the Trust’s first annual history camp last summer that was a huge success. The day camp, open to fifth- and sixth-graders, will be repeated next summer.
Simmons, president, reviewed accomplishments during the past year, which were many, including the organization’s stand against altering the South Lee Street bridge.
It was a delightful evening, and we enjoyed talking with Charlie Crisp who we don’t see often because he divides his time between his country home in Lee County and Moultrie; and Sen. George Hooks always has something interesting to say. And we loved hearing about the progress John Stovall and Bill Harris Jr. are developing downtown, once the site of the bus station and other businesses.
Elsewhere, patriotism abounded this past week. Military veterans were honored with parades, speeches and assemblies on Veterans Day, and Martha Washington was guest speaker at the DAR meeting. Dressed in the attire of the Colonial era, Carol Russell of Brunswick gave an interesting portrayal of the wife of the first president, George Washington, telling the story of her life and making history come alive. Russell, a retired teacher, has been performing this role for the past four years and says she enjoys it immensely. I wonder if some 240 years from now if someone will portray First Lady-elect Melania Trump.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.