Local resident turns 90 years old
Published 5:07 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Robert Edward Lee was born on August 26, 1917 in Kiln to Thomas (Singing Tom) and Hester Fern Lee.
He was a red-haired, freckle-faced seven-year-old when the family moved to Caesar with wide open spaces to roam in and hidden places to explore.
His grandfather called him Jay Bird, and he was always looking for something to get into. Once he and his brother wandered off some distance across a branch and found a piece of discarded stove pipe which held a skunk. The boys tied a string to the pipe and dragged it skunk and all to their grandpa’s store. Their uncle told them right quick, “Boys, you can take that right back where you found it.”
Lee remembers an old one-eyed ram that was “meaner than old Satan himself.” The boy Robert’s job was to bring the sheep in from their grazing. His method was to drop grains of corn behind him to entice them to follow. The one-eyed ram loved to run up and butt the boy. Once the boy got caught by Meaner-than-old Satan close to an old log cabin. Robert hit the ram with a bundle of heavy chain. Undeterred, Meaner chased the boy up into the rafters of that old cabin where he stayed until Meaner gave up and left.
In Carriere High School, Professor Powell was so impressed with his physical prowess, he had a five-foot hurdle constructed to see if Lee could jump it just like a horse. Lee could. That exploit followed him into WWII in England. A nurse set up a chair for him to jump over like a horse. Lee did.
Lee’s interests while growing up were varied. He enjoyed music and played the guitar. He and his twin brothers were part of their father’s gospel quartet. He bought a piano for his daughters and after they were married, he taught himself to play.
“It was for my own enjoyment,” he said.
He enlisted early in World War II. His first overseas assignment was in Salisbury, England as a military policeman. He was one of Eisenhower’s Snowballs, so called because they wore white helmets. From England he went to France, eventually re-enlisting in Antwerp, Belgium. His last tour of duty was in the Panama Canal Zone where he was offered a job with the Canal Zone Police Department and accepted when his enlistment was up. He retired from there in 1973 but not from life, always involved in church and other organizations, always active.
He has four children, Barbara, Dborah, Clancy and Robert E. Lee, Jr., numerous grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Back home in Caesar, his life has come full circle.
He is still active, still gets into things, like helping people in need, and he still works out. Recently, he acquired a punching bag. Some might say he is in the winter of life, but he still moves with a spring in his steps.
Lee’s celebration will be on August 25 at 2 p.m. at Union Baptist Church at Caesar. All family and friends are invited to attend. No gifts, just the gift of your presence is enough.