Alba Little was my friend. Alba, 89, succumbed to the ravages of time May 6th and went to be with her Lord.
We met at church. Often she would approach me on Sunday mornings and, with an ever-present twinkle in her eye and smile on her face, ask (challenge, really) me if I remembered what I had written about in that day’s column.
Any hesitation on my part was a source of great glee for her. Columns are usually written days before publication and sometimes I couldn’t come up with it upon being put on the spot like that. It was all in fun and a wonderful reminder of her great sense of humor.
With one notable exception, she was always up, always ready to share a laugh, always funny herself. More on the one-time exception in a minute.
For a time it fell on me to lead our church’s business meetings. Alba detested long meetings as much as I do. It was our public joke that at the conclusion of business I would call her name and she would shout, “I make a motion to adjourn!”
She pulled me aside once to admit she had gotten a speeding ticket while driving up Tenth Street toward Mississippi. It escapes me now how fast the officer said she was going, but if I remember correctly, it was somewhere near the speed of sound. The ticket cost her a couple of hundred dollars. Even in this situation, she could offer up a rueful sense of humor.
As her obituary said in this newspaper, she was an avid reader. Among other authors, she had read all of John Grisham’s books and when it was rumored he might come to town, she started jawboning me. “Now, Lone’, if John Grisham shows up at your office, I want you to call me right away,” she said more than once.
That day arrived early one weekday morning. With Grisham sitting in front of me, and after securing his permission, I dialed Alba’s number.
“Alba,” I said. “I need for you to come to the newspaper right away.”
“But why? I just got up and my hair isn’t brushed and I don’t have any makeup on.”
“I can’t tell you, Alba. I just need for you to come to the newspaper,” I repeated.
This back and forth banter went on for a few seconds until Grisham motioned for me to give him the phone. “Alba!” he said in a commanding voice. “This is John Grisham and I’m told you want to meet me.”
Alba came huffing and puffing up the newspaper’s stairs to my office about four minutes later. Thankfully, she hadn’t come across any of Ada’s finest in her drive over.
Not long ago Alba was stricken with Alzheimer’s, which necessitated a move to permanent care. I missed her then. I miss her now. All who knew her bright countenance will surely say the same.
She was a great lady.
Reach Lone' Beasley at firstname.lastname@example.org.