What a pleasant surprise early this afternoon…
One of my favorite ‘Mississippi kids,’ longtime family friend, and ‘brother’ to my three kids, Reese Cobbins (pronounced: Ree-see Cobb-ins), from up in the delta area, near Greenwood, stopped by to see me early this afternoon, when he was driving his semi-truck west on I-10 from Alabama over to Nachez, to drop off a load of things for K-Mart stores.
Reese, who is 28, handsome, single, honest, hard-working, was born and raised in north central Mississippi, and spent time up in our home in Wisconsin during several summers as a member of our family, when he was growing up.
In doing so, he formed a very strong bond with all of us, which continues to this day. In fact, when our oldest son decided to get married about 7-8 years ago, he and his fiance asked Reese to be in their wedding, which was held about an hour north of St. Louis. Reese came up and had a great time.
Reese comes from a close-knit family, and currently has a small home on acreage owned and near by his grandfather, Norman, age 102, just west of Vaiden in Carroll County. Norman and his bride of 72 years, Willie, age 92, live about 100 yards from Reese, in a small ranch home, close by their original home.
My wife and I have been privileged to be good friends with Norman and Willie for the past 15 years, having spent several weeks staying with them in their home over the years. They are gracious and considerate hosts.
Reese’s parents, and one of his uncles and his family, also live nearby, about 100 yards on either side of Norman and Willie’s home. Several years ago, after a tragic, late night fire had destroyed their family home and all contents, four of us from Wisconsin were able to help Reese’s parents rebuild their home, by completely wiring the new home and furnishing the three, exterior steel doors for the new structure.
Taught a strong work ethic by his parents, Reese has been employed as an owner-operator long-haul truck driver for several years for a large trucking firm out of Memphis, and spends most of his days driving the highways and byways of the U.S., delivering goods to a host of customers.
Reese admits he loves driving truck, and traveling, and usually gets home to see his parents and grandparents, about every two weeks or so. One thing he doesn’t like about his work, though, is the escalating price of diesel fuel he must purchase for his truck on an almost daily basis, especially when his fuel tanks holds 600 gallons of the high-priced stuff.
Prior to going over the road as a truck driver, Reese worked for one of his uncles driving a Tour Bus around the U.S., and also had a vehicle hauling business, and a business setting up and skirting mobile homes in central Mississippi.
Reese keeps in contact with the five of us in our family regularly, calling on his cell phone (using a Blue Tooth), during his travels all over the country. The brotherly bond he has with my kids is very strong and important to all of them. Our daughter also asked Reese to be in her wedding several years ago, but unfortunately, when Reese and his fiance started north to Wisconsin for the wedding from his home in Mississippi, he experienced car trouble and was unable to complete the trip.
In years past, when he was traveling in southern Wisconsin with his truck, he would stop by our Wisconsin home for the night, parking his truck in a nearby Industrial Park. I always like it when Reese is in the area and has time to stop by and visit.
Over the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of bringing many charitable volunteers to north central Mississippi, and most of them have been able to meet Reese and make his acquaintance. Reese makes it a point to periodically call as many of them as he has telephone numbers for, and keep their friendships alive. One of Reese’s many Wisconsin friends he calls regularly includes buddy, Maggie, Dammit.
Many is the time during the past 8 years when I have been visiting in Reese’s neighborhood on charitable mission work trips, and Reese has graciously and generously opened his home for me to stay in one of his bedrooms or on his couch.
A finer gentleman or friend, you cannot find anywhere.