John Willoughby, Greene Publishing, Inc
It was nearly 25 years ago when C. Norman Bush wrote a part-fictional recollection about a non-fictional event. Today, he holds the book that's dedicated to a man who stood tall, Edwin B. “Booze” Browning, Sr. – “Pioneers of the Wacissa.”
Bush, a native of Lovett/Hamburg community of Madison County spent most of his life working in the field of insurance and banking – approximately 30 years of combined experience. Bush states that he first met Booze in the fall of 1947, when Browning was the Superintendent of Schools of Madison County. “He made it a practice to visit each school in the county from time to time,” said Bush. “I remember well the morning he walked into my first-grade classroom. He was a tall man, dressed in a white suit, who spoke with the authority of a Washington D.C. lawyer, yet his sense of humor was something to behold.”
As Bush recalls, in the summer of 1972, Browning made a trip to visit Bush' uncle, Emanuel Dorough Bush or “Uncle Doc,” the trip of which Browning wrote an article in The Madison-Enterprise Recorder in March of 1974. Bush states that the article inspired him to “write this adventures store, based on that article and featuring Uncle Doc as one of the heroes,” said Bush.
“I could never tell a story as well as Booze, in my mind, he was the best storyteller, ever,” said Bush. “But as a former educator, I hope he would have given me a passing grade. It is my sincerest desire that the reader will get as much pleasure reading this book as I had writing it, trying to record certain incidents that represent the era of our passing heritage, of which I am very proud of.”
According to the preface, the beginning of this adventure takes place in the early 1900s where the trip to Thomas City and “the big woods” did, in fact, take place. The characters: Joe Syeris Drew, James Arthur Drew and Uncle Doc, were more than characters, but actual people in Bush's and Browning's life. Drew was one of Lovett's most outstanding citizens, farming and working in carpentry often. Drew was dubbed as one of the best fishermen and had an indescribable love for the outdoors. Drew and his wife, Mary, rest inside the cemetery near Ebenezer Methodist Church.
James Arthur Drew was a young soldier who served during World War I and died after being exposed to mustard gas during the war. Not much is known about James Arthur at this time, however, he also rests in the cemetery near Ebenezer Methodist Church.
Uncle Doc, as Bush refers to him, served during World War II and was a law enforcement officer, known for his boldness and determination. Uncle Doc passed away on Dec. 8, 1972, and rests just inside the north gate of the Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church cemetery.
“Browning never let adversity stand in the way of progress,” said Bush. “[He] was dedicated to making Madison County a better place in which to live, always trying to preserve some of it's past.”
“Pioneers of the Wacissa” is rather a unique read, known for his style and choice of words, reflecting the slang used in the 1900s.
Bush holds the position of Chairman of the Board of Deacons at Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Bush is also a law speaker, representing the church on occasions when a speaker is needed. To buy a copy of “Pioneers of the Wacissa,” call Pat Bush at (850) 948-8151. Checks are to be made payable to Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church.