Wednesday’s list ... of beans and greens and other things:

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THERE ARE a couple of things about the view in the rearview mirror.

One is a melancholy sadness in remembrances of family and dear friends you can no longer reach out and touch. Two is of warm memories of times you could reach out and touch:

Jim Hunter ...

Those thoughts came to mind a couple of days back when in trolling through the TV lineup, I stumbled across the induction ceremonies from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.

A beautiful lady was sitting in the second row, wearing a smile as wide as the whole state of North Carolina.

Ann Hunter ...

She had reason to smile. Her late husband, Jim Hunter, was being selected for one of NASCAR’s highest honors, the NASCAR Landmark Hall of Fame. Her three grandsons were onstage accepting the award.

Memories of “me ’n Jim” ...

We first met as lowly sportswriters, me for this newspaper, he for the Atlanta Constitution. Our snarling dispositions and “a cool one or two” were the early ties.

Suddenly, he was at the Talladega Speedway as PR. And wife Ann, son Scott, daughter Amy were at Indian Oaks.

We became very close family friends. Hunter rode with me to a lot of far-off college football games to help with The Star’s coverage. I’m pretty sure his brunette and my blonde didn’t mind that bit. If they were not with us, they found other things to do.

Somehow over the years, Hunter and I managed to “live with each other” without ever coming to blows, though they were threatened a time or two. On the golf course, we were unbeaten as partners. I could hit it a mile, Hunter could get it “up and down” from a Wal-Mart parking lot.

My space runs out, but there was one last Jim Hunter touch at the ceremonies in Charlotte. In accepting the award, grandsons Dakota Hunter and Luke and Hunter McKernan pulled out battered old yellow baseball caps and donned them to cheering from the crowd. The caps were a Jim Hunter trademark.

Ann Hunter was flashing a smile that would light up Las Vegas.

Jim Hunter ... we lost him back there in 2010 ... we did not lose the warmth of his memory ... and never will.

^^^

BIRTHDAYS: Feb. 1 —  Thelma Pinkston;  Feb. 4 — Barbara Tankersley; Feb. 7 —  Bonnie Snead.

^^^

TOP TEEN: Say hello to Dylan Ray Murphy, a senior at Jacksonville High School who has earned an official core GPA of 99.00/100 despite taking some of the toughest courses available, meeting each with flying colors.

That Dylan will give the valedictorian’s address for the Class of ’19 come spring graduation is not only well-earned but expected.

And where young Mr. Murphy goes, his peers follow, having selected him as president of the senior class, president of the Spanish Honor Society, and president of Mu Alpha Theta.

He was president of the Spanish Club as a junior, is a member of HOSA and FBLA, and was selected by the faculty to represent JHS at YLCC and Boys State his junior year.

A member of Saks Baptist Church, Dylan has found time to do volunteer work with toys for donation as Christmas presents for local kids, building houses for Boy Scout camps, and giving time at local nursing homes and assisted living.

“Dylan is truly one of the most respectful, dependable young men I have ever known,” says senior counselor Marsha Stallings. “Dylan is strong academically, in character, and leadership.”

Proud parents are Kristi Wood of Jacksonville and Matthew Tillison of Alexandria.

Take a bow, young man ...

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George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: gsmith731@gmail.com.

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