John David Franklin McCall of Wilmington Island passed away yesterday, at the age of 99, according to his obituary found in the Savannah Morning News today. Mr. McCall, as we knew him at the store, was a very sweet man who had a slightly mischievous twinkle in his eye. He'd show up in his big white car,year after year, for collards or seed potatoes, and he always had a gift of some sort.
I visited with Mr. McCall for the last time just the other day. He showed up at the store on one of those cold rainy days when you don't feel like going to the mailbox-let alone to the plant nursery. He wore a hat, as usual, and an off-white jacket. Walking wasn't easy for Mr. McCall. He moved confidently, but slowly, with the help of a cane. On that day he pulled a brightly-colored orange from his pocket and placed it in my hand. He had told us many times of his bumper citrus crops. Mr. McCall loved to talk about citrus.
I handed Mr. McCall a couple copies of Grier's Almanac that he had requested. He awkwardly turned the pages until he found the ad for the Mantis Tiller/Cultivator. "That's the best tiller you could ever buy," he said. "I had mine for years." I'm not sure what made him want to share that with me at that particular time, but I was grateful for the recommendation.
As Mr. McCall turned to leave he turned back and put a hand on my arm. "You're a good girl," he said. "You're a really good girl." It was his emphasis that made that stick in my mind. I wouldn't see him again after that.
I hope that Mr. McCall has found himself at the edge of a huge expanse of freshly-tilled earth. I hope the sun is shining and there is an orange tree blooming nearby sending a sweet fragrance through the air. Finally, I hope there is a bucket of seed potatoes by his side, because it's time to plant again.