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Remembering Ed Waggener: Kentucky Color

By Billy Joe Fudge

Ed and I spoke often, disagreed very little, laughed a lot, reminisced a lot, pontificated about everything and did I mention that we laughed a lot?

Columbia is experiencing a renaissance, an awakening. Is this a renaissance in the purest sense; maybe not? Nevertheless, Columbia is now being reborn.

This awakening, this rebirth, did not just appear like a cloud on a clear day. Culture does not just turn on a dime of its own accord. No, for culture to be reborn it must be nurtured in the womb, nursed in its infancy and spoon fed the finest food in its youth.

Is any one man or woman singularly responsible for this rebirth? No, because as John Donne wrote in the 16th century, "No man is an island" and that is almost certainly true. In light of this truth when we consider that a fire needs fuel to burn and air to sustain the burn, there will never be fire without a catalyst, heat.

I believe that although Ed may not have been the fuel or the air, he was almost certainly the heat which sparked Columbia's rebirth.

In the darkness of the womb, he reminded us daily of our past greatness. He reminded us of the things which made us great such as: community, friendships, family, church, our common humanity and more.

He nursed us when we were barely able to stand with kind words about how we could be great again and whispered daily that we would someday be able to stand tall again, that we would someday be able to run like the wind again.

Then, in spite of our youthful digressions and stumbles and mistakes and setbacks, he spoon fed us daily with encouragement. He encouraged us individually and he encouraged us collectively. He encouraged us with his words and he encouraged us with his deeds. He encouraged us by sharing with us and allowing us to share with each other. His encouragement was the heat we needed to once again allow the fires of community and friendship and family and church and our common humanity to burn brightly in our hearts and minds again.

Oh yes we will continue to digress and stumble at times and make mistakes and suffer setbacks occasionally but we will always and ever be encouraged.

Ed has provided the heat and it is now up to us to keep piling on the fuel and keep fanning the flames of the fire of renaissance, of rebirth now burning in our hearts and in our community.

Ed, No Middle Name Waggener, we will never forget the things you taught us, such as, "the shortest way may not be the best way", "friendship is more important than things", "a good story trumps a bad day" and we will continue to make entries in the "World Book of Ginnesses".

This story was posted on 2018-09-30 08:06:39
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