A Simple Plan, a life well lived

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Labor Day is upon us. Summer has reluctantly started its slow stroll into fall. It’s a chance to pause a little and look back. That’s natural. Just as natural as the way life gently leads us through the seasons of our accumulated years until one day, we reach that rise in the road, and with a quick look back, we walk on over and join the others up ahead. It’s not easy parting, but it’s just as natural as summer becoming fall and young becoming old, and old moving on. We lose good people every week, and with them go treasure troves of the human experience; goodness, kindness, knowledge acquired by hard knocks, failings and victories and memories of smiles and laughter that circle around us like an afternoon breeze. My high school class of 1968 said goodbye last week to a member who, to the best of my knowledge, never wrote a best-selling book or achieved fame throughout the planet but who was a world champion, living example of the simple wisdom embodied in the phrase, “a life well lived”. Wayne Scarboro was an original. It was not a quality he sought or worked to develop; it was just who he was. In our school years, while many of us were trying to figure out who we thought we were, Wayne was just Wayne, and stayed like that for a lifetime. He grew up out on the west side of Swainsboro. That was a lively, up and coming part of town for kids growing up back in the 50’s and 60’s. There was a place called Hundred Hills (where the bypass is now) where you could have some great bike races and spectacular bike crashes, Holloway’s Pond where you could fish and swim and have motorboat races and sometimes a few exciting minor mishaps, Flanders Tire Company where you could secretly drive a car around even if you were only 12 or 13, and there were always backyard baseball and football games going on. Wayne had a natural talent for athletics. I did not. But back in the second half of the last century, I played little league football and baseball with Wayne, and I will always have a special appreciation for his football skill. He and I played the same position, and naturally, the Coach would run us in and out trying to give us both some playing time. Wayne was good at getting the tackles. I was good at getting buried at the bottom of a pile. So, the best part of the game for me was seeing Wayne come running out onto the field which meant I was going back to the bench. It’s funny how you remember those things. As we moved on through life, I didn’t see Wayne that much, but when I did, he was always the same, and just like way back then, I was always glad to see him. In spite of the years that separate you, somehow your classmates always remain part of a special group, with a bond that doesn’t go away. Our group and others of that generation were lucky to be raised by parents who had been tested and fortified by a depression and a recent world war and just plain tough times. The rules of that generation centered on honesty, responsibility, hard work and respect and those rules were passed along to us intact. Wayne believed in those rules and the proposition that living a life of simple goodness was how you did your part in this world. I would agree with that. When Wayne left last week he left a good name, a good family and a good path for anyone to follow. Wayne did his part.

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