Thursday, July 12, 2007
I was reading the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Sunday morning before leaving for church and a name in the obituaries caught my attention.
Charles N. Blaylock, 73, of Fulton died Friday, July 6, at North Mississippi Medical Center.
Most likely none of you recognize the name. But he was one of my all-time favorite people.
Charles, probably best described as a good ole’ boy, was one my first acquaintances when I moved to Itawamba County in 1986. He owned and operated Blaylock DX Service Station for 28 years.
When moving to a new town, one of the first things on the agenda is finding someone you trust with your car, if needed. For me, Charles was the man.
There’s no telling how many times, during my five-year stay in Fulton, that I turned to Charles for help and advice concerning the automobile I was driving. His station was also one of those always depended on by The Itawamba County Times for keeping the newspaper’s vehicle serviced and running.
Blaylock DX was located directly across from Itawamba Community College.
And Charles was one of the greatest Itawamba sports fans of all time – particularly football and basketball. He was always there. If not, something was wrong.
Mike Eaton, then head coach of the Itawamba Community College football Indians, and I used to have conversations about Charles – about his dedication to the school. He loved Itawamba sports, but more so he loved being around the people associated with Itawamba sports.
Charles knew the players. The players knew him. Charles knew the coaches. The coaches knew him. Charles knew the fans. The fans knew him.
And as was the case with so many, Charles became much more to me than just someone I took my car to if I was having some trouble with it.
Charles became a very good friend.
The full-service station, as most in a small town, was also often a hangout for those just wanting to “chew the fat.” Charles had a steady stream of regulars, just stopping by for a Coke and some good conversation.
I got to where I stopped by Blaylock DX often, even when I didn’t need gas for the car or repair work. I’d drive “down the hill” to the station just when I needed to get out of the stress of the newspaper office for a while.
Most of the time it was to talk sports, get the latest news on an ICC team that I couldn’t get from the coach, or get Charles’ prediction for the next big game. Covering Itawamba sports was my job. So naturally getting to know Charles better was a must.
Honorary pallbearers for Charles’ funeral service Monday were Itawamba Community College’s former and present football and basketball coaches.
Several years after I left Fulton, Charles was elected to the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors. He served from 1996 to 2000.
Covering the board of supervisors was also part of my job at The Itawamba County Times. The board always contained some rather unique characters.
I can only imagine how much fun it would have been to cover the board when Charles was a supervisor. Even though I wasn’t around, I’m pretty sure I know one thing about his four-year stay on the board – he put the people of Itawamba County first. That’s because Charles made a life of serving the people, each and every day from Blaylock DX. And he did it by making everyone feel welcome – with a kind smile and a caring attitude.
Rubye Del Harden, former publisher of The Itawamba County Times, and I talked Sunday night at length about our memories of Charles. They’re all good – ones we will always cherish.
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