There are names of people we recognize, but do not really know. That was the case with Hickory Flat's Lowell and me. I knew he had something to do with emergency services and the city of Canton, but I had no idea what he did.
That changed about a decade ago after I accepted then Canton Mayor Cecil Pruett's invitation to a meeting to explore the possibility of organizing the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame. Around the room were men and women who had obviously excelled in Cherokee County athletics. They were legendary for the most baskets or touchdowns scored, winning golf and/or tennis tournaments, long coaching careers, etc.
But there were two in the room who did not look the part. Lowell Lawson was one of them. I was the other. Obviously, that did not matter with the group who had gathered that night.
We decided that establishing a Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame was to be done. The next order of business was to elected officers. The chairwoman and secretary elected were - with apologies to Lowell - not "lean, mean fighting machines." Neither did they "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." I was elected chairwoman, and Lowell became the secretary.
That led to my becoming close friends with Lowell. I learned he is truly a renaissance man. Multi-talented, whenever he gets involved in anything, he gives it his all.
You might think that after serving 39 years in the U.S. Army on both active and reserve duty and retiring as a colonel, he might want to sit in his favorite chair and rest for a while. Plus, Lowell and his wife, Ann, earned rocking chair privileges after retiring from 37 years of service as Southern Baptist missionaries.
But that is not the way Lowell does things. Soon after he moved to Cherokee County in 1994, he got as busy as he had ever been.
He became the chaplain for Canton's emergency services and organized sports and wellness programs for senior citizens. Chances are that wherever a team with graying hair was playing ball, throwing horseshoes, walking or exercising, Lowell was either in the midst of it or on the sidelines.
As well as his enthusiasm for sports, Lowell loves history and writing. He writes a column for a local magazine and has authored a book, "God Has a Badge." Currently, he is co-writing another, "A Place Called Hickory Flat."
But what may be his crowning literary achievement is his most recent book, "Game Time, An Early History of Cherokee County Sports, 1880-1909." It combines his enthusiasm for sports, love of history and his writing expertise."
Very, very few, if any, of us were around in the 1880-1909 years. But, after hours and hours of research, especially in the then local newspaper, the Cherokee Advance (now the Tribune), Lowell has gather stories of interest to us all.
Now, do not think this is another dull history book. It is far from it. The language itself will keep you interested, smiling and sometimes laughing aloud.
In 1900, "John Turk, Canton's phenomenal twirler, struck out 12 while the umpire struck out 10."
In the early years of football in our area, Elbert Hubbard wrote, "two young men with whom I am personally acquainted are now in lunatic asylums as a result of football, and their ravings are the cries and signals of this game. If you still think that football is manly sport, you might interview the parents of those young men."
In July, 1906, someone summarized Canton's baseball season: "Out of the games played Canton has only lost three, and one of those defeats went to a team that played ... 'better than they know how.'"
After another game it was reported: "McLain was in fine fettle, only yielding three measly hits and striking out 16 men....When the hostilities had ceased and the smoke of battle had cleared away, the fellows from Cartersville sang that pathetic little ballad in three fits and a spasm entitled 'We Were Only Dreaming.'" Canton won 12-4.
In 1904, Canton and Ball Ground played a game of baseball with an unusual stipulation: "Ball Ground comes with the understanding that John Turk will not pitch." The stories go on and on.
You can get "Game Time" at Yawn's Books & More in downtown Canton.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.