I kept thinking how B.J. Thomas’s song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head” described the weather a couple weeks back. I was rained on nearly every morning as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard. Thankfully, I was born “drip and dry.”
Mrs. Millie Stover came to mind one rainy day as I splashed along in the water puddles. Mrs. Stover recently received the Neosho R-5 Charitable Foundation’s distinguished educator award. How appropriate! What a nice award to a fine lady.
Millie was in the Neosho High School English department when I began working there in 1973. In fact, she met with me after school the day I came for a job interview. As always, she was soft spoken and asked very intelligent questions. I could tell she was smart.
You learn a great deal about someone after working with them for several years. I continued to appreciate Millie Stover. She relished teaching the most difficult English classes like English literature and poetry.
When Leon Riddle retired from teaching to become a full-time preacher, Mrs. Stover took over his Bible as Literature classes. To me, this showed her knowledge of the Bible as well. Everyone cannot teach the Bible as a literature class.
In time I learned Millie Stover had other loves in her life besides teaching, reading, and her daughter. She also loved flowers and growing them.
About the time she retired, she moved to a home with a large yard. She filled her yard with huge flowerbeds and spent many hours tending her plants.
One time when I was with a carload of Lions Club members selling light bulbs in Millie’s neighborhood, I volunteered to go to her door. I rang and rang, but no one answered. Then as I stepped away, Millie rushed around the corner of the house.
She saw me standing on her driveway, spoke my name, and gave me a huge bear hug. Of course, she bought some light bulbs, and we had a short visit while the Lions members waited outside.
When I got back to the car, one of the Lions said, “You must have known that woman.”
I replied, “I never saw her before!” They did not believe me.
That hug showed the care this woman had for a former fellow worker. She felt that way about many others in this community, especially former students. Mrs. Stover is a “poster child” for all distinguished educators.
Take a walk, be glad if you had a teacher like Mrs. Stover, use those signal lights, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.