Remembering the days at RMA

Published 6:04 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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After high school, I spent a year at Randolph Macon Academy where I had the chance to meet people from various backgrounds. My life-long best friend of 56 years, Bucky Hill, was one of those.  Tommy Tucker, from Monroe, was another and he roomed with Mac Currin and two others in a four-man room at the end of the hall.  Mac now lives here in Washington, so it was at RMA that I got to know Tommy, Mac and Bucky.

Tommy was raised in Farmville and shortly after he moved to Spring Hope where he and his sister were raised by their aunt and uncle. RMA was Methodist supported and Tommy’s uncle was a Methodist preacher.  We reported two weeks early for football practice and and that is how I got to know Tommy.  He played defensive tackle.

Once school started, we had study hall every night from 7-9 p.m. five days a week.  We hated study hall! The people in the town of Front Royal called us “Jakes”so we would place our order with a day Jake that lived in town.  He would go by the Comet Drive In and pick up our Comet burgers and French fries.  It was at that time Tommy would take off for his girlfriend’s house.

 RMA had a bus that took us to Richmond for vacations and my dad would take Tommy to Weldon and drop him off.  Dad always told Tommy to be there at 1 p.m. and he would take Tommy to Richmond with the other cadets. He never missed a day after a vacation.

He always seemed to be at the scene of my seizures and I had many that year. My mother never forgot that and when Tommy was through with school he would drive to Washington and stop by the dry cleaners.  My mom would tell my dad to give him $100 because she knew he did not have any money and daddy did what she told him.

After 28 years of “sowing his oaks”, he found God and the Bible. He now owns Park Heating and Air Conditioning in Monroe and has been a Union County Commissioner. He has grown that business to 120 trucks and never fails to help out a family in need.   He served 12 years in the Legislature as a State Senator where he served as the Chairman of The Appropriation Committee among others.  Senator Tucker has remained a friend all these years and when we wanted to start the Harbor Market, he generously gave us the first $100.000.  Chris Furlough and I went to see Senator Tucker and were welcomed in his office ahead of others, and he took us to lunch afterwards. He later sent my dad a card from the Legislature with a seal on the front to show how much he cared. Tommy has a heart of gold.

Since Senator Tucker has retired from the legislature, he remains active in in local and state politics.  He serves on the State Election Committee, He and his wife, Diane, live outside of Monroe and remains a good friend to Mac and me.

I want to thank Lee Drake (AKA Burger) for the nice letter to the editor about mine and Coach Houston’s columns in the WDN.  You will never know how that makes me feel.  You will always be a friend Burger!

Also, I would like say it was a nice article on the front page about Coach Houston and his family and he is a Man, the Myth and Legend and taught me how to write and appreciate it so much.  Congrats Coach Houston!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.!  The Original Washington!

Harold Jr.