TO THE EVERGREEN “UNFORGETTABLE PERSONALITIES” PAGE
Early in life, I began to notice this large black man who would come to the Evergreen Post Office and visit with the postmaster. My family had a general merchandise story across the street at a slight angle from the post office, so I was able to witness many of the visitors there throughout the day.
The man’s name was Dorsey Williams and his visits usually happened early each morning before the post office opened for business. He usually stayed until after 7:00 A.M. and always beamed with a wonderful smile. He seemed to be on friendly terms with everyone who went to the post office.
When my family moved next door to Mr. Adelma Galland on the Burns Road, I noticed Dorsey as he drove an Allis–Chalmers tractor for Mr. Hollingshed who had some farm property down the Burns Road.
Later, I had a newspaper job and Dorsey was kind enough to place my heavy bundle of newspapers in the basket of my bicycle and cut the wires holding them once they were in place. He did this for years and graciously accepted my words of appreciation for his assistance.
Over the years, I would get to the post office early in the morning to listen to Dorsey and Mr. Billy West, our usual A.M. post master (His sister, Vee, was the usual P.M. postmaster), discuss life in the Evergreen area, Louisiana, the South, our nation and the world. At times, the arrival of Mr. Normand, who drove the mail truck from Bunkie, was disappointing because my listening ended and the delivery of the newspapers demanded attention. Needless to say, those discussions were usually interesting and enlightening conversation, often sandwiched with periods of silence and reflection.
As I got older I realized that Dorsey and my Uncle Pega (who lived next door to Granny and who worked for Mr. Clay Wright at the time) were close friends and partner “shade-tree” mechanics.
They also worked together for a while at the cotton gin across the street from the Jack St. Romain family residence. People watched in amazement as the two of them would walk bales of cotton from the loading dock into railroad box cars with only a large hook in each hand. At times, once they got a bale in motion, they could move at the pace of a brisk walk.
These two predecessors of the term “odd couple” were physically incompatible. Dorsey weighed in excess of 250 pounds, while Uncle Pega might have weighted 140 pounds. However, as a team, they could move those bales of cotton faster than any other pair of workers around. It was easy for them to draw a small crowd of on-lookers whenever the two of them began loading bales of cotton.
Early in our marriage, Marilyn went visit her parents and Granny during the week and had car problems. Learning of her dilemma, Uncle Pega and Dorsey, immediately dropped what they were doing and came to her rescue. They checked the engine, went to Bunkie and purchased a new starter, and installed it. In short order, Marilyn was on her way. While they allowed Marilyn to pay for the starter they would not accept anything but her appreciation for their repair efforts.
As a young member of the James Gang, we used to periodically “borrow” watermelons from Dorsey’s garden. It was usually one watermelon and the borrowing was not on a regular basis. Although he knew of our activity, he never scolded us or told our parents (to my knowledge), but kept it to himself. He understood us a lot better than most folks in Evergreen. For whatever reasons, he never made an issue of it and we discontinued the short-term borrowing practice.
For his many kindnesses to others, his spirit of generosity, and his assistance to many during his life, I am pleased to submit Dorsey Williams as one of my “Unforgettable Personalities” and encourage others whose lives he touched to join me.
Oh yes, about those newspapers…Dorsey continued to assist me until the Sunday before I entered SLI in June, 1958…always with a smile and always with good cheer. What had started as a small enterprise had grown over the years to 150+ Sunday Times Picayune newspapers being sold in the Evergreen area…and he provided assistance to me throughout the years.
His parting words when I left for SLI were to encourage me to make the best of the opportunity and to remember Evergreen.
God Bless Dorsey Williams.
Peace, Ed Dugas
June 12, 2010