Leila S. Case: Smile and say hello – it’s a good thing

Published 2:13 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Walking along the sidewalk on Forsyth Street downtown last Saturday afternoon I saw three strangers peering over a map. Obviously they were trying to find their way somewhere; however, curious as I am I asked if I could help.
Indeed you can they replied with happy and relieved smiles. They said they were from Athens and on the way to Florida but decided to stop here to look around downtown and found it charming. The hour was approaching noon and they asked if I could suggest somewhere they might have lunch. Of course, I named all the places open on Saturdays and gave directions to each. I don’t know what they decided on but any of the restaurants I named would have been a good choice.
All this to say, if you see a stranger on the street who looks a little lost it’s good to smile and say hello. It makes them feel welcome — that’s a good thing.
Folks from near and far are here this weekend for the Rosalynn Carter Institute spring board of directors meeting at Georgia Southwestern State University. It began Thursday evening at a cocktail buffet hosted by John and Alice Argo at their home on the Macon Road. Among local board members are former first lady Rosalynn Carter, Alice Argo, Everett Byrd, Beth Ragan, Betty Pope, Dr. Wallace Mays, and Kerri Post.
Meanwhile, the Wise-Lamar family, whose roots run deep in Sumter County and that have made huge contributions in our community through the years, gathered here for a family reunion — their first in about 10 years — last weekend. The Wises migrated to Plains from Edgefield, S.C., in 1865, and the Lamar family has been a part of the community since the mid-1800s.
Dr. Henry Teaford, a descendant of Dr. Thad Wise, one of three brothers, Dr. Sam Wise and Dr. Bowman Wise that founded the Wise Sanitarium in Plains in the early part of the 20th century was one of the organizers. The facility is still in operation and known today as Lillian Carter Health and Rehabilitation. Incidentally, Teaford’s son, Dr. George Teaford, of Gainesville, Florida, is the sixth-generation physician in the family, stemming back to Dr. Thomas Lamar, a prominent doctor in Americus in the 1850s and 1860s.
About 20 attended to reconnect with their heritage. Among the varied weekend activities was a tour of Oak Grove Cemetery led by George Hooks, a distant cousin of the family; dinner party at the Cornwell Farm in Smithville; and at the home of Connie Wise at Wise Olde Pine Plantation; a tour of Plains including the historic Lebanon and Bottsford cemeteries; and attending Sunday services at the historic Lutheran Church where the family were members for many years.
Among those attending were Henry and Lamar Teaford and wives, Janna and Carolyn, Frank and Fred Turpin and wives, Lisa and Linda, Nancy Powell Andison of Phoenix, Arizona, Sam Wise III and Niki of London, England, and Gene and Jean Turpin Thurston of Goode, Virginia.
Friday the 13th is a lucky day for Angela House Smith — it’s her birthday and there was a surprise around every corner in celebration of her 50th.For Angela, assistant to the president at GSW, it all began at her office with a surprise party hosted by GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D., and his wife Kristie, and staff. Then on the way to what she thought was a quiet birthday dinner, her husband, Rene Smith, gave her a birthday card that had two tickets tucked inside to the Eagles and Jimmy Buffet concert at Camping World Stadium in Orlando Saturday night. But the surprises weren’t over yet. Instead of the quite dinner celebration, Angela was even more surprised when Rene escorted her into The Carnegie where friends and family, including her daughters Kate Westra Jackson of Savannah, Sara Westra of Statesboro and son Chance Westra, welcomed her at yet another celebration in her honor.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.