Not long after summer slipped into autumn, we at PineStraw were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of dear friend Cos Barnes, a gifted writer and beloved godmother of this magazine and the Sandhills at large. Cos graced our pages with wit and maternal wisdom for more than a decade and will be greatly missed by us all. In tribute, we present one of our favorite Cos Barnes columns. — The Staff
By Cos Barnes
In preparation for the first move in 30 years, I find it traumatic to destroy the scrapbooks and photo albums that depicted my children’s activities during their growing-up years. Even more traumatic is remembering the people who taught me to be a Tar Heel and love the dear town of Southern Pines. I look at snapshots of us when we were younger, slimmer and cuter, and breathe a prayer for those who helped me along the way.
When I moved here, only a limping civic music association graced our community, and its days were done. We started a new arts council with offices in Storey’s Department Store in the Town and Country Shopping Center. Possibly only Edna Earle Cole remembers Storey’s. Peter McBeth taught me the importance of organized arts activities. You all helped, too.
I remember my good friend Bill Samuels, who died recently. He not only lent his financial wisdom to our decisions in the Community Foundation, but he was always there to address invitations. Lynn Thompson showed me the intricacies of the library’s influence, but also taught me the scope of its programs. She always willingly lent me a quiet room to conduct interviews. When I joined the Arc’s board at the urging of a friend, I did not speak for the first year. They talked in initials which I knew not. However, in no time, I was president. I learned the language quickly from Wendy Russell.
Following my husband’s death, I was asked to fill out his term as a trustee at my church. I would not take anything for the business tactics I learned from those men. When I substituted at Pinecrest High, my most difficult task was Bachelor’s Home Economics. Although we did not make a gathered skirt, we learned to work together, and I learned to appreciate my students and their backgrounds.
I spent many years as a board member of Weymouth with my assignment working with the writers in residence. I took them everywhere to explain and entertain — retirement homes, the college, high schools and elementary schools.
That fiery head of the backpack program, that volunteer of all volunteers, Linda Hubbard, made me know I had to pick up and deliver backpacks. And one of the most pleasurable tasks I have had is taking up tickets at the Sunrise. I have seen Jesse, the manager, take the popcorn and drinks to an older couple who required assistance, and serve them at their seats. And as I roamed through files in my filing cabinet, I came across a reminder from Charlotte Gantz informing me of plant sources in our area. It was dated Fall, 1996.
Keepsakes, no matter how small, all have a story. A polished rock given to me by Betsy Hyde at my first book signing has been on my desk since 1995. My one big question now is what do I do with the framed graduation certificates which have never been hung. I even have my mother’s from National Business College in Roanoke, Va., in 1925. It measures 18 x 21. What do I do with it?
And how do I reward all my colleagues for their kindness? I hope a simple thank you will do. PS