Peter Imes: Give flowers, show appreciation

October 12, 2013 6:57:39 PM

Peter Imes - [email protected]


About three years ago, I walked past Linda Massey's desk and into my own office. My office has a window that looks into the front office of The Dispatch. I had noticed a man talking to Linda when I walked in, but didn't realize it was Lloyd Vaughan until I sat at my desk and looked out that window.


I started working but couldn't help but overhear Mr. Vaughan's conversation with Linda. He was complaining relentlessly about my father's father.


I walked out to reintroduce myself to Mr. Vaughan -- I had first met him as a child -- and to see if I could relieve Linda, who looked a bit bewildered.



Mr. Vaughan, who once ran a J.C. Bradford brokerage office downtown, had been upset for a long time. In January 1967 my grandfather and one of my uncles were badly burned when their house on Chickasaw Drive caught fire. Mr. Vaughan told me he helped save my grandfather, but he didn't feel he had ever received credit for his efforts. Additionally, he said his family and friends never believed he played a role in saving my grandfather's life.


Coincidently, the week before, I read the story on the fire that ran on the front page of The Dispatch. I remembered seeing Mr. Vaughan's name in the story so I retrieved a copy of the story while he waited. I sat down and read him the article. When I read the line, "A neighbor, Lloyd Vaughan, rushed Imes and Gene to the hospital where they were administered emergency room treatment by Dr. Henry Holleman," Mr. Vaughan wept. Relief is the only word I can use to describe his response.


He tended to be very emotional when not taking the proper medication.


Mr. Vaughan died last week at age 76. His graveside service is today at 2 p.m. at Friendship Cemetery.


The Sunday after I read Mr. Vaughan that story, he appeared at my front door with a bouquet of roses. He was dressed for church. He gave me the roses and hugged me.


Turns out I wasn't the only one receiving flowers. Mr. Vaughan had many businesses he called on regularly. During one stretch of time, he stopped by The Dispatch daily. BankFirst was another of his stops. He delivered flowers, talked about his Santa Claus Children's Christmas Fund and passed out his Success & Happiness Guidelines, a list of 75 tenets he believed everyone should live by. You can't argue with any of them, but here are a few of my favorites:


  • Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards.


  • Have good posture. Enter a room with purpose and confidence.


  • If you're going after Moby Dick, take along tartar sauce.


  • Street musicians are a treasure. Stop for a moment and listen. Then leave a small donation.


  • Read the Bill of Rights.


  • Write thank you letters.


  • Regarding furniture and clothes: If you think you'll be using them five years or longer buy the best you can afford.


  • Use credit cards only for convenience, never for credit.


  • Strive to be happy.


    Despite his generally positive demeanor, Mr. Vaughan could be disruptive. I couldn't help but be charmed by his generosity and his energy, though. He always had a cause to champion, something to give me or a stock tip to pass along.


    After all, according to his list, love, caring and sharing usually succeed.


    Peter Imes is publisher of The Dispatch. You can email him at [email protected]