Wilborn: a true gentleman
Charles Wilborn, such a gentlemen and a man who always had encouraging words!
I moved to Newton County in 1987 to launch a new business venture. The Covington Shopper was formed that year, as were numerous friendships. Joining the Chamber of Commerce was one of our first steps to meeting new folks in Covington: to name a few, Dick James, Danny Stone, Bill Hardy, Betty Shaw, Davis Morgan, Janet Goodman, and Mr. Charles Wilborn!
Charles always had a smile on his face and reached for your hand to shake. In his slow Southern drawl, he would say, “HEY, how you doing?” Such a pleasant person to always meet on the streets of Covington!
Our most recent meeting just happened to be at Dr. Jacoby’s office on June 26. It was a packed office that afternoon, and there sat Charles. Robert and I immediately started chatting with him. He told us about his great-grandson who lived with him, and how he would fix his great-grandson’s lunch each morning. You could tell he was so proud of his family.
He was excited about going back to teach this year. He shared recipes, and was giving me some cooking tips. He told me how his mama taught him to iron his clothes, which he believed in doing right up to his last day.
It just so happened that my brother, Pastor Stacey Carver, who lives in Mor- gan County, and his wife, Sophia, were also having eye exams that day.
I introduced Stacey and Sophia to Charles, and the stories began! Charles began to tell him about his connection with Morgan County and naming some of his kinfolk. My brother was very familiar with them, so Charles gave him a business card to share with them, when he next saw his Madison cousins.
He quoted several scriptures from the Bible that day, which is always such comfort, especially when you are in a doctor’s office.
We laughed so much that day at so many different stories we each shared. One involved a long-running joke between Robert & Charles. One day, at the local post office, Robert told Charles a story which goes as follows: God was worried about the people on Earth, so he sent an angel down to check on everything. The angel went back and told God what he saw. He said, “Half the people are being good, and the other half are being bad, and the bad people are trying to convert the good people over.”
So God said, “I don’t believe you saw everything right, so I am going to send two angels down this time.”
Sure enough, two angels came down, and they went back and told God: “It’s just like the first angel said. Half the people are being good, and the other half are being bad, and the bad people are trying to convert the good people over. So God sat back in his big chair and thought for a minute.”
He said, “I am going to reward all the good people on Earth, I am going to send them a letter.”
Robert looked at Charles, who was really into this message, and asked, “Charles, do you know what the letter said, and Charles said “NO!”
Robert said, “Charles, you didn’t get one did you?” and he laughed, and laughed, and laughed. So from that point on, every time Robert saw Charles, he would ask him, “Did you get a letter yet?”
Well yesterday, Charles got his letter, and I am sure it read: “Welcome Home, Charles Wilborn. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
We ended our conversations that day, just a few weeks ago, laughing at another true story Charles was telling us, as we were all just about the last people to leave the office. If we had known that it would be our last time to see, visit, share stories, and laugh with Charles, we would have taken him out to eat, talked and laughed longer.
However, the timing of death is unknown to man, so we should never take for granted that our family and friends will be here tomorrow.
So once again, may this be a lesson learned, LOVE IN THE MOMENT WHILE WE STILL CAN!
Among his many contributions to Covington, Charles Wilborn was also a clothing salesman on the square in May 1983.