Attending Claybert Smoot’s funeral and reading Ben Jones’ letter in last week’s Rappahannock News brought a strong reminder to me that old Rappahannock is passing, especially in the Town of Washington. As I sat in the Baptist Church, I was surrounded by friends who had been in the county for years. Ben Jones is probably one of the more recent arrivals who knew Claybert. I wish more residents of Washington had gotten to know him. It makes me feel that people like Claybert have become outsiders in the community where they were once central to its life.
I got to know Claybert soon after I returned to Washington. He fixed my lawnmowers and those of my in-laws before that. I enjoyed taking my broken equipment to his shop and visiting for a time. When I became mayor, Claybert was at nearly every meeting of the town council. He wanted to know what was happening in the town and to be part of it. I could depend on Claybert. He asked questions. They were things he said from the heart and they were important to him.
Claybert Smoot was an important part of the community. I enjoyed him. I enjoyed seeing him at the Co-op and the Quicke Mart and I will certainly miss him.