First Posted: 9/8/2009
It was about eight years and six months ago when I met the then-Mayor Emily Taylor.
I was a brand-new reporter for The Mount Airy News, and covering the city government was my assigned beat. So on one of the first days on the job, maybe the first day, its been a long time, I was taken to City Hall to meet the mayor and other municipal officials by one of my colleagues.
We walked into the back door of the administrative offices and entered the mayors office. She sat behind her large desk.
It was the beginning of a great working relationship.
I found out later that my mother-in-law had Emily as a teacher when she was a student at Mount Airy High School.
Miss Emily was one of those ladies who always told it how it was. She voiced her opinion, no matter who was around that might not agree, and didnt sweat the consequences, because she believed in what she said.
Even after she left the mayors office later that year, Emily would call me up at work to let me know about stories she thought would be interesting, or just to share her opinion on some topic or issue that happened to be occurring at the time.
I became a member of the citys first Parks and Recreation Commission, a group she formed and a quality-of-life aspect of which she was a huge advocate.
When we held the dedication for the Lovills Creek bike trail and walkway, I remember Emily showing up, which was two years after she left office. We all knew what the sign read underneath the fabric that covered it, but Emily had no idea why she was there and why she was asked to come up in front of everyone to help unveil the sign.
As the fabric lifted and Emily saw her name as the honoree, her mouth gaped open and her jaw hit the ground.
We were all smiling with delight, because we got one over on her. She didnt have a clue, and it was so great to be able to surprise her in that way.
My friend, who my husband started mowing for early this year, is now gone, but my memories as well as the memories of so many others in the community who knew Emily well, will keep her alive and with us.
Every time I drove by the Emily B. Taylor Greenway I thought of her and wondered how she was doing. Now when I drive by, it will bring back memories of the time I got to know her and spend with her in the mayors office at City Hall.
Ms. Taylor, you will be truly missed.
Wendy Byerly Wood is the associate editor of The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected]