He chatted with his mama in her room at the nursing home for a while. Realizing that she didn’t recognize him, he asked, “Betty Jo, do you know who I am?”

“No,” she said after studying his face closely, “I don’t.”

“I’m your son,” he told her, pointing to the big picture she had of him on her wall.

Miss Betty Jo looked at the picture, then back at him, then at the picture, then back at him. “No you’re not,” she said confidently, “but he’s a real good man so I can see why you’d want to be like him.”

This was, as it turns out, the last thing my childhood friend Webb Howell ever said to me. His mama was right, you know – he was indeed a good man, and a fella could certainly do worse for a role model.


Jeanne Hewell-Chambers is bad to tear up at tender stories.

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