Southern Pines' Loss
Every time I ran into Jack Webster, I was reminded of an old TV series called "The Rogues."
It starred Charles Boyer, David Niven, Gig Young, Gladys Cooper and Robert Coote as an unlikely family of Robin Hood-like con artists who traveled the world in search of sophisticated adventure shared in droll good humor.
To me, Jack was a wonderful combination of Niven and Coote, a bright and urbane man who always had the look of the rogue about him -- hardly a con artist, but certainly a sly fox whose roguish glint hinted he knew something, probably something wickedly funny, that you didn't and that he didn't intend to share.
I met Jack at the Weymouth Center. I was working there, and Jack strolled in one morning on some manner of business -- either on an errand for his wife, Jean, a longtime board member, or to prepare for one of the wonderful orchid shows that he and Jean hosted there. I was immediately smitten, and smitten I remained for the decade I knew him.
Even though the Websters' house is around the corner from ours, we didn't see them very often. But on those occasions when we did, it was cause for quiet celebration. My husband once called them Southern Pines' "most interesting couple." They were certainly that and maybe the most generous, hospitable and, without question, most gracious.
Their "drinks and nibbles" Christmas parties were eagerly anticipated, as were their casual summer suppers by the pool.
Those are wonderful memories now, and there is a gaping hole in the heart of Southern Pines because Jack is no longer in it. This little town has suffered a big loss.
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