October 13, 2017 – Gary Reagin was one of my best friends. Lo and behold we got drafted the same day and stayed together for two years in the Army Infantry. I have written many articles about him over the years.
One time, after I had become a Jeep driver, we were on maneuvers in the mountains of Northern Hokkaido. The whole battalion was camped out on a plateau. I picked up Gary in the Jeep with the toolbox full of beer and a fifth of VO. He headed across the plateau to try to find a buddy in Baker Company. I had on my blackout lights that just put out a glow that couldn’t be seen from the air. We were drinking a beer headed toward Baker Company, when we ran over something that felt like a log. I said, “What did we run over, Gary?” He said, “I don’t know. Back up and I will see.” Suddenly I backed over the same object again. We stopped the Jeep and got out.
There was a guy in a sleeping bag kicking and squalling trying to unzip the bag. We had run over the poor guy twice. We got him out of the sleeping bag. He wasn’t hurt, he was just mad. We had run over his legs both times. We offered him a beer and he calmed right down.
After we got out of the Army, Gary moved to Houston and raised a family. He called me every week for fifty years. Gary has been gone several years, but I was pleasantly surprised to receive the following e-mail:
I’m Gary Reagin’s daughter, Shawna. My cousin Kelly, who lived in Oak Grove until recently, told me about your columns and sent us one once that mentioned my dad. I’m visiting Kelly at her new home in Cameron and just asked after you. She said you recently had another column with Dad in it, but it is still packed from the move. I went online and found your 1,000th column in the Richmond News.
I’m sorry to hear of your wife’s passing. It must be very hard after so many years together. I vote you should continue writing. It will keep you young.
I’m glad to hear you are active in Dem politics, especially in these dark days. We need voices of reason.
Keep up the good work and please drop me a line when you have some time.
Shawna L. Reagin