Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tribute to Harry: A Dear Friend

I spent some time with Harry recently, and we talked about all the good times we’ve had at Epworth, all the things we learned, and the people who were so much a part of SWA we always expected to see them year after year. Many of them are no longer with us, and we miss them. I remember how much I enjoyed hanging out with Harry and Leroy Spruell. The two of them were the best joke tellers I’d ever met. Most of Harry’s jokes don’t bear repeating in polite society, but his big hearty laugh made them even funnier. 

We’ve had some good times down through the years. He and Dee often visited us on the island so we could go eat at Barbara Jean’s.  It was a joy to spend time with the two of them. He was always so proud of her and loved telling stories of how they met and of their life together traveling the world. 

Once I saw him pull into the driveway my house, but he didn't show up at the door for quite awhile. I went outside to check on him and found him digging into a big sack of cat food in his trunk to feed some hungry stray cats. He always carried food for hungry pets and tried to find homes for strays. Sometimes, he and Dee brought home unwanted cats and took care of them until somebody adopted them. A few of those cats are still living with him. That grumpy old man is one of the kindest, gentlest souls I've ever known. 

A few years ago, I spoke at the Navy base at Kingston. Harry came along with me and was greeted warmly by the room full of Navy personnel when he was introduced. He stood, and instead of making a speech, he snarled in his inimitable fashion and announced, “You didn’t think I’d let her come down her surrounded by all you sailors without a soldier to look out for her.” He got a laugh and a big round of applause. He grinned and enjoyed the attention.

In all the years I’ve been associated with SWA, Harry Rubin has been one of the association's biggest supporters. There were several times when we lacked the funds to run the workshop and actually discussed cancelling it for the year. Harry stepped up provided the funds we needed to operate. He didn’t make a big deal about it, but I think he deserves to have his generosity acknowledged. We have him to thank for many things, including financial contributions, managing the funds as treasurer, his work on the board, running the book store, and just being there as an important part of Southeastern Writers Association.  Here’s lifting a glass of good red wine to my dear friend, Colonel Harry Rubin, US Army, Retired. He's as good a man as I've ever known.

~~ Holly McClure

Holly is a former president of SWA, the author of 7 books and the founder of Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency, now part of Lexium Entertainment & Talent Agency.

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