I’ve taken of late to slinking around town avoiding a few people. I promised them a story but failed to deliver.
Keeping a low profile is proving difficult.
First, there’s this job: It’s difficult to hide when you’re the community newspaper’s editor.
Secondly, one of the folks involved is Sylva Mayor Lynda Sossamon. Our paths tend to cross, since I frequently cover town government or find myself needing to pop into Radio Shack, which she and her husband, Boyd, own. We’re friends on Facebook, so Lynda knows perfectly well that I’m neither incapacitated by illness nor sailing in the Bahamas.
I know the mayor must be thinking, “Why the heck haven’t you written anything yet?” But, she’s too polite and nice to either ask or criticize. Here’s my sincere and public apology to Lynda and Boyd Sossamon and Tracy Bailey. The trio jointly purchased Sylva Insurance Agency, the oldest business in this community to operate continuously under the same name.
The 1926-founded Sylva Herald is the second-oldest business in town, coming one year after Sylva Insurance Agency’s founding.
Bailey and Dr. Ben Battle together bought the former SunTrust bank building on Main Street. In addition to serving as a new home for the venerable Sylva Insurance Agency, Bailey said he hopes to add more office space and create a showcase of some sort for local artists.
J.H. Morris founded Sylva Insurance Agency; he served Jackson County as justice of the peace for more than 50 years. Phyllis Foxx started working for him in 1960.When Morris died in 1974, his son, Jack Morris, and Foxx bought the business as co-owners.
You might remember seeing Foxx’s photograph a few weeks ago on the Herald’s front page. She was standing with Mayor Sossamon and town board members. Sylva leaders recognized Foxx at a board meeting for her devoted years of service to this community.
Foxx told the Herald, in an interview held some years ago, that when she began working at Sylva Insurance Agency, the business was housed upstairs in the old Sylva Supply Company, at the Jackson’s General Store building. Foxx said the insurance company next moved down the street, above what is now Lulu’s restaurant, then to 470 West Main.
Boyd Sossamon and Bailey are running the insurance agency; Lynda Sossamon will continue to oversee Radio Shack. She asked that I emphasize it is not closing.
Now, my excuses, but they are truthful ones: Each time I sat down to write about what’s going on with Sylva Insurance Agency, news happened. Big news.
One week someone set out spikes on Pinnacle Park’s trails. A runner’s foot was impaled and a walker’s shoe pierced. The hatefulness of the act made national headlines.
The next week, again as we worked on deadline, the Old Mill on U.S. 441 burned down under suspicious circumstances. The following day, someone tried to torch the nearby Martonian Motel.
Then I left town, got behind on my work, and postponed – once again – writing the story, because I wanted to do a good job for these good people. I hope this column can serve that purpose. I’m just sorry it’s such a tardy effort.