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Harris Blackwood: Honoring the legacy of a longtime friend
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There are events in this life that often leave us longing for more. It can be a great meal, a good book or movie or an exciting sporting event.

Bimbo Brewer, one of Hall County’s most colorful characters, died Jan. 5 at the age of 73. He had a profound influence on so many people. His sudden death left us longing for another of his larger-than-life stories or just a few minutes of conversation peppered with his witty and humorous sayings.

It was a life well-lived.

He was a lifelong Gainesvillian, Baptist, Bulldog and Red Elephant. To meet him was like meeting someone you had known forever. If you had not seen him in a while, he had a knack for picking things up right where you left off.

Bimbo Brewer was charming, funny and the epitome of a Southern gentleman. He was seldom seen without a baseball cap on his head, but he knew to remove it when he went inside or encountered a lady. That may be old school, but that was Bimbo.

He was a wordsmith. He could paint pictures with his words. It was a talent he put to use daily.

Bimbo and his wife, Nancy, were married for 52 years. For 50 years of those years, Nancy has been blind. Her blindness was caused by a reaction to medication. The last time she saw her husband’s face, he was a baby-faced young man in his 20s. She has never seen the face of her only daughter or her two grandsons.

But Bo would describe the events of their lives, including many baseball games. A few years back, they traveled out West and he provided a verbal description of some of the most beautiful places on earth. He was the narrator who was the host of the theater of Nancy’s mind and helped her see the world in a very unique way.

Our friendship began 25 years ago. I had taken a job with WDUN as a control board operator. I started at the controls at 1 p.m. and was told Bimbo Brewer would come in for a show at 4 p.m..

Who? I asked. I had lived in Gainesville for four or five years and had never encountered Bimbo.

I just remember that 20 minutes into the show, I felt like I had a new friend, and I did.

My job was supposed to be the guy in the background, but we ended up as a team. I like to think that I poured a lot of gasoline on that fire.

For example, Bimbo drove a 1981 Dodge pickup we called Ol’ Blue. The truck really didn’t use much oil, but I started a story that it did. We did remote broadcasts and people brought us a quart of oil the way a neighbor brings a casserole.

We became a part of the afternoon life of people throughout North Georgia. A quarter-century later, folks still talk about it.

I’d like to think that when we parted, we left them longing for more.

The Bible says you will know a tree by the fruit it bears. The tree that was Bimbo Brewer has borne of lot of fruit. His impact on lives would take more space than I am allowed.

I’ll miss him greatly, but will look forward to the time I will see him again.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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