• 57°

The remembering of a public servant

With a caption like the one above in one of these columns, you’d expect I’d be taking about somebody I’ve known who’s passed on away from this earth. Not this time. Ol’ Rick Manley is still kicking about, but he’s just kinda hung up his lawyer coat and stuff after a hard…and successful ride…where sometimes he was rode hard and put up wet, but always seemed to prance on back out of the stable for another run.

If I was a mind to write all the stuff Richard has been up to and accomplished along his path, I’d just run way on over my allotted 700 words or so and wouldn’t even get to use the picture I rounded up of my buddy. Although he deserves to be remember for all the service he has rendered, that’s not really the purpose of this particular writing.

Of course, I’m natural born goner say something about Rick, to my way of thinking, and a heap of others, being truly one of the daggum best all around members of the State House of Representatives and later on Senator that has come down to pike in a mighty long time. He just flat out took care of business up yonder in Montgomery, and I appreciate that.

Rick had just become an exhausted rooster in the Demopolis Jaycees when I came back to town to start law practice. That means he got to be 35 and too old to keep working with that organization that used to be especially strong in Demopolis, but he sho did pick up working in a heap of other groups, while still serving our country in the Marine Corps Reserve, finally hanging up that hat with a full Colonel Eagle on it.

When I did settle back in Marengo County to do some lawyering with Hugh Lloyd and Big Woody Dinning, there was printed in a book that I still have, the names of all the attorneys in this Judicial Circuit made up of Marengo, Sumter and Greene Counties.

Of that bunch of fellows, Rick is one of only three of ‘em still living. He and Nathan Watkins from York are now both retired, so that leaves Drayton Pruitt in Livingston the only one of all those barristers listed in 1969 still practicing law, which, by the same token, I reckon, ends up leaving me the second longest practicing lawyer in the circuit. Well, la de da.

Rick and I both just kinda seemed to like to visit with the other in person, and hand carry papers and stuff to the other one rather than mailing, faxing or fooling with that new fangled emailing contraption, although we both knew how to operate those gadgets if we had to.

The last visit I had with my fellow lawyer was up at his place, and we were putting the finishing touches on some case we’d really pretty much closed up a year or so ago, but we got to talking ‘bout other stuff…and it was fun.

How many of y’all know that Richard S. Manley was one of those girl tossing college cheerleaders at the University of Alabama during football season? Did you know he was also a varsity baseball player up there, too?

Alice and I sit next to a fellow at Alabama ball games who is always talking about how he remembers Rick Manley pitching that baseball in the old Black Belt League.

Yes Sir, my Ol’ Buddy Richard has been down the pike and done some serving. We tied up mor’n one time in the courtroom or the conference room, but you know what…he was a professional and a gentleman, and that’s why I figured I ought to pay my respects to the man by use of this column, which has provided me with the God given opportunity to say some good stuff about some good folks I’ve known in days gone bye.

Thank you, Rick. Enjoy your time off…but I’m dang well pretty sure you’ll find a way to keep on serving folks in some way or another.

Tom Boggs is a columnist for the Demopolis Times.