Garner: Opinion

Column: Squeezing every second out of a day

My daughter said something to me the other day that really made me pause.

“My entire senior year is going to happen in a single week,” Anna Kate told me.

She proceeded to rattle off about six days in a row in which some significant event was going happen. Prom one day, Senior night soccer game another night. Chorus banquet another night. And the list just kept rolling off her tongue.

Of course her wild week in May will come for her as it has for countless others before her and many more after she’s finished with high school.

Her comment made even more sense to me Tuesday night as I sat down to write this.

The day was a blur. After a staff meeting first thing in the morning, there was a quick errand to run at the church.

There I ran into 89-year-old Clayton Whitley, who is about as interesting a man as I’ve ever met. We chatted for a few minutes as he recalled his work with N.C. State where he served 23 years as a stadium usher after a long career in sales that occurred followed a stint in the military during World War II.

After the quick visit with Mr. Clayton, as many in our church refer to him, it was off to a Rotary meeting at Wendell Country Club, where I took care of a little bit of Rotary business, then wolfed down some exceptional chicken and dumplings.

I picked up Anna Kate for a trip to visit a financial aid office to figure out how I can get my child educated for free. The short version of that story is this: It ain’t happening. I’ll be pulling out the checkbook over and over for the next few years.

After that disappointment, I rushed back to the office in time to take a photo of Gerry and Pat Reid who have opened a new business, Amsoil, in Zebulon. The Reids, it turns out, were recently inducted into the Amsoil Hall of Fame after a quarter century working in wholesale for the company. Now the Reids have opened a retail dealership of their own and it was fun watching Gerry Reid as he talked about his new business and his excitement over the product his company sells.

I learned long ago that selling anything is hard work and without a passion for it, you won’t get very far. The Reids have that passion. You can just tell when you’re around them.

After a quick trip home to verify that I could not fix a broken cell phone, it was off to the Garner area, where Wake County commissioner Phil Matthews was speaking to the McCuller’s Ruritan Club. After Matthews made his remarks, the floor was opened for questions. The Ruritans peppered Matthews with questions about several topics before club president Jim Sears moved on to some other club business.

Matthews was comfortable in his own skin, promoting the good works of Wake County government. When the questions turned to dealing with the school system, Matthews’ tone took a harder edge. It was interesting to watch. To his credit, Matthews didn’t shy away from the questions, though his answers often put the responsibility for problems at the feet of the school board.

When I got home Tuesday night, I found my youngest daughter, Pitt, trying to finish a to-do list before leaving Wednesday night for a school field trip to Disney. Her list of essential non-clothes items filed nearly two columns on a sheet of notebook paper. For a second I thought she was moving down there permanently.

My oldest daughter may be seeing a year of her life boiled down to a single week. I had the experience of seeing a fun newspaper career encapsulated in a single, busy day.