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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dixie Harris heads for the mountains

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mention the name Dixie Harris to just about any organization in Salem, and people will begin to sing the praises of this hard-working volunteer who seems to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for getting things done.

Recently, Harris made the decision to move to Washington state to be with her granddaughter, Memory, and her great-grandson Evan, making three generations under one roof.

"Someone asked me the other day, was I moving because I wanted to or was I moving because I had to, and I said because I wanted to, and they said that was great," said Harris. "I don't meet strangers. People keep telling me that I won't know anybody out there, and I just remind them that I don't meet strangers. It won't be long before I have lots of friends."

Harris' granddaughter is stationed at Fort Lewis Army Base in Yelm, just outside of Olympia, Wash.

"Right now, she is a cook and she works in the stockade, supervising the prisoners working in the kitchen," said Harris.

Her great-grandson recently turned 19 months old, and he's a big reason for her move. "They've been teaching him to say Mamaw, and when I was on the phone with him the other night he said Mamaw and No," said Harris. "Those two words you could understand real plainly."

Over her 30-plus years in Salem, Dixie has seen Salem go through several economic ups and downs.

"I've seen Salem go down lately, but the people still have heart here and they're bringing it back up," said Harris. "Businesses are going to come back. It's sad to see the square so empty now. I can remember when every one of those shops had a business in it. There was a time when you couldn't find a parking space on the square during the day."

Several years ago, Ms. Harris was one of those business owners on the square, operating a small bookstore called The Bookshelf in the old Star Hotel. She's been a long standing member of the local VFW, having been president one year and secretary and treasurer as well.

"I've just kind of gone from one thing to another," said Harris. "One time they asked me if I wanted to join the Chamber, because I think they felt they needed another woman on there. And now, that seems to be all that's on there is women. We need to get some businessmen involved again."

Harris was secretary for the Chamber of Commerce for several years and was heavily involved in the Fulton County Homecoming Week activities.

"I've also worked with the Fulton County Fair and I enjoyed that, and I belong to Beta Sigma Phi, which gives Teddy Bears to the police and fire departments so they can hand it to a child in a traumatic situation," said Harris.

And the accomplishment she is most proud of? "Oh that would be really hard to say," said Harris. "I have enjoyed every little job that I've done in town, and I work in my church and I'm having a hard time leaving them because church family is special. It's the people in Salem that make living here worth living here. It's hard to leave, but I just feel like now is the time to move on to a new adventure for myself."

Harris and her best friend of many years, Joan Hammond, drove cross country together to Washington state so Harris wouldn't have to drive the U-Haul truck all by herself. "You know it's really a best friend when they're willing to take a week off from work and drive across the country with you," said Harris. "I'm a believer that no matter where you are, if you have friends, they are always your friends. I have friends I haven't talked to in years, but they're still my friends. If we ever meet again, it will be like we never left, you know?"

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Best wishes Dixie! Enjoy your family, new home,and new friends. Write and tell us about your adventures.

-- Posted by ldenny58 on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 2:48 PM

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