Ben is not only a friend, but a good man for whom I have the upmost respect. He mentioned reading my columns each week which was very humbling.
The subject turned to how I decide what to write. Like I explained to him, something or someone just gets on my mind and won’t get out of my mind until I write about it.
This week is dedicated to a very special lady who treated me the same every time I saw her.
Peggy Buchanan was a wife and mother and a beautiful lady inside and out. She was married to Wade, who has been very active in the community for years.
When I was around 12 years old, I was good friends with their son, Jeff. For me to call Jeff rambunctious would be like the pot calling the kettle black. So together, I have no doubt we were a handful.
On one particular occasion I was spending the night with Jeff like kids do. Anytime I was there I was always treated like family. I would venture to say Peggy treated any kids in her home like her own.
The next morning after spending the night, Jeff and I were playing on a homemade zip line he had erected between two trees.
I don’t remember calling it a zip line back then, but nevertheless it was there and it was fun.
On my last trip down the line, I let go before crashing into the tree.
However, the rope that we pulled the line with had wrapped around my leg.
So when I let go as you are supposed to do, the rope held my leg and I flipped upside down and hit my head on a rock. That’s the last thing I remember about the accident. The rest was relayed to me later by Peggy.
She called an ambulance to pick me up and take me to the hospital. According to her, I asked her several times if I was going to die. I have no recollection of that but I know it’s what happened because she told me so.
Peggy was very worried about me. She didn’t tell my parents to call her and keep her updated. She stayed with me at the hospital until I woke up which was later that night. She felt so bad that this happened, especially at her home.
On top of that, she was worried because I wouldn’t wake up. They all probably thought I was slipping in to a coma.
What Peggy or my parents didn’t know was that Jeff and I had stayed up all night roaming the neighborhood after slipping out of the house. So I just needed the sleep.
Jeff tragically lost his life a few years later in an accident. It was one of the first, if not the first experience, I had with the death of a friend.
Wade and Peggy and Jeff’s siblings were no doubt crushed. It wouldn’t be the last time the Buchanans dealt with tragedy.
But the Buchanans didn’t stop living. They had other children. And there is no doubt that while Wade was being a businessman and Canton city councilman, Peggy was maintaining order in the family.
I saw Wade and Peggy out many times throughout the years. Most every time I saw them they were with one or all of their children.
And every time I saw Peggy she reminded me of the day at her home that I crashed and burned and thought I was going to die. But her reminder was always followed with a hug.
Peggy, unfortunately, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Wade and the kids watched as she continued to decline due to the disease.
I saw her several times after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her memory of me and that day at her home had faded. She could no longer remember the story that she had repeated to me so many times.
On Oct. 13, 2009, Mrs. Buchanan succumbed to her disease and left this world and her family behind.
But I still see Wade out quite often and many times he is with one of his children.
I have no doubt her caring and gentle spirit plays a part in this continued tradition.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.