Excerpts

by Henry Lane Hull

As the New Year began I was feeling a bit lethargic when I read an item in the Rappahannock Record for a course to be taught at the Kilmarnock campus of Rappahannock Community College.

The title of the class was “Brains and Balance.” I immediately decided it was for me, and, with the encouraging support, if not directive, of my Good Wife, I enrolled accordingly.

When I arrived for the first class five weeks ago I was happy to see several longtime friends as fellow students, among them, Marie Stone and Kay Inskeep. Our instructor is Meg Miller, and she has presented the material coherently, succinctly and with a level of enthusiasm that readily transmits to her students. She makes the one-hour classes fun all the way through, and I look forward to each one, even if I am a bit achy on the ride home.

Being somewhat tall, I sit in the back in order not to obstruct any fellow enthusiast’s view. That position also gives me excellent visibility to observe how my classmates are doing. Marie and Kay sit towards the front and tend to set an impressive pace for all the rest of us. 

If you have read this far, you might be wondering why I am singling out these two ladies from a class of 17 as examples. The answer is simple. Tomorrow Marie will become a nonagenarian, a milestone Kay will have passed nine years ago on February 17. Each of them never misses a beat as Meg puts us through the exercises, and each of them can outperform me every time when it comes to the height to which we can lift our legs. 

Marie and her late husband, Jim, who died in 2015, were the subjects of a column I wrote many years ago in which I hailed their extraordinary level of personal service to institutions and individuals in the lower Northern Neck. Since moving here to the shores of Harvey’s Creek over 30 years ago both of them have displayed a level of commitment to the service of others that has been extraordinary. Jim’s time, talent, SUV and trailer were available to every person or group to whom he could do a favor.

Marie is a retired nurse who met Jim when he went to a doctor’s office nearly 70 years ago, and Marie called to him in the waiting room with the instruction, “Follow me, Mr. Stone.” He often said that was what he had been doing every day thereafter, a true testimony to Marie’s astute leadership qualities.

Kay and her late husband, Les, a research chemist who died in 2011, also have been significant contributors to the betterment of life here in our midst. As with the Stones, they have been stalwarts working on the myriad of activities that Wicomico Episcopal Church sponsors in the realm of community outreach, as well as serving as volunteers for the programs at Christ Church.

As mentioned in a column I wrote last year upon the retirement of Dr. Elizabeth Crowther as president of RCC, in establishing the community college system in the early 1970s Governor Mills Godwin promised that everyone in Virginia would be living within 25 miles of a campus. Here in our area that pledge was not realized until Sissy Crowther brought the school to Kilmarnock, thereby giving us wonderful opportunities for training, enrichment and in my case, exercise skills. 

“Brains and Balance” has been a truly beneficial experience, and I leave each class pleased with the progress I have made, although, as noted above, sometimes a tad on the tired side. I then think of Marie and Kay forging ahead, and the tiredness quickly vanishes.

Happy February birthdays to both of these two ladies, and in addition to saying thanks for all you do for our community, thanks for showing me and your other classmates the high bar to which we should aim.

“Ad multos annos!”