Lost A Friend In Jim Hugh Ray

March 29, 2007 – I lost a very good and dear friend earlier this month with the death of Tupelo attorney Jim Hugh Ray.
I knew about him a long time before I ever met him. He grew up in
Corinth, along with his brother, former U.S. Attorney H.M. Ray, who
resided in Oxford for years, and who I met long before I met Mr. Jim
Hugh.


March 29, 2007 – Bruce, MS—This and that about this and that:
•I lost a very good and dear friend earlier this month with the death of Tupelo attorney Jim Hugh Ray.
I knew about him a long time before I ever met him. He grew up in Corinth, along with his brother, former U.S. Attorney H.M. Ray, who resided in Oxford for years, and who I met long before I met Mr. Jim Hugh.
I read about them even before I met H.M., in following the story of Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser, of “Walking Tall” fame, who presided across  the state line from Corinth. Both of the Rays and the late-Judge Noah “Soggy” Sweat were involved in the courts of Alcorn County and with the across the line sheriff, until Mr. Jim Hugh moved to Tupelo and H.M. and Judge Sweat ended up in Oxford.
The first time I met Mr. Jim Hugh, I had stopped by the law office there to visit with Tom Wicker, a journalism graduate at Ole Miss and more recently, at that time, from the law school there.
Later I was with him again when Sid Salter and I were negotiating the sale of the two newspapers in Monroe County to the Daily Journal publishing company, and we met with Mrs. George McClain in Mr. Jim Hugh’s conference room.
We ran into him and his wife from time to time, but in recent years we were both on the board of directors for Sanctuary Hospice House, which provided for more frequent opportunities to visit.
We agreed on everything we discussed, especially politics, but I never mentioned Pusser. H.M. had fussed at me several times when I wrote something about Pusser. “You need to find out the real story on him,” he chided.
“You tell me,” I always came back. But he never did. “You just need to find out,” he argued.
Sanctuary meetings will not be the same—Jim Ingram is gone and now Mr. Jim Hugh won’t be there.
•I was tempted to stay home from church a couple of weeks ago to see the Ole Miss Lady Rebels in their opener of the NCAA basketball tourney with the Lady Frogs of Texas Christian.
Then I decided I might be able to do more for them at church than sitting in  front of the TV, so I advised Jo Ann I would be going with her. She advised me we would be leaving early because she was still the official greeter of the month.
When we went the first Sunday in March, I commented to C.R. Easley, Jr., as I sat down in the pew in front of him that I was afraid Jo Ann might be running for political office as she stood in the foyer meeting and greeting.
He said he had noticed her there, and then we read her credentials in the bulletin.
When we got home from church there were 20 seconds remaining in the first half and the Rebels had a small lead. In the second half, with our help, the lead stretched out to a very comfortable margin.
During an earlier game in the men’s division North Carolina was playing somebody and Jo Ann asked, “What is a ‘tar heel?’”
“I don’t know,” I replied “but I think I looked it up one time.”
Later that night as I checked the e-mail I went to Wikipedia–a web site that calls itself “the Free Encyclopedia”—after checking the North Carolina University site where I found no answer.
“The exact entomology of the nickname is unknown,” Wikipedia reported, but went on to speculate that it had something to do with the large amount of pine tar products exported from the state in early years.
One speculation was that it might be traced to the American Revolution when local colonists poured pine tar in the Tar River to deter the British troops under General Cornwallis. There was also speculation that the term might go back to the Civil War, when North Carolina was one of the last states to secede from the Union, with the implication that the “tar on their heels,” slowed them down.
•The following item was in the news from Tillatoba written by Mrs. Lila Myrick in the Coffeeville Courier recently:
“I have to share this story with you about Alex Crawford and her baby doll.

“Alex and her grandmother Wanda Crawford went to Shoney’s to eat breakfast after visiting Alex’s mom and dad and her new baby brother at the Grenada Lake Medical Center.
“She put the baby doll in the child’s car seat when she and her grandmother went in the restaurant.
“Wanda was approached by a policeman while they were leaving Shoney’s. He had been told a baby had been left unattended in her van.
“Of course Wanda was surprised at first. Then she showed the doll to the policeman.
“I’m sure he was glad it was not a real baby, but he was silent as he walked back to his car.”

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