Duke’s sudden death shocking

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2013

When you read this, the clock will have struck midnight and the New Year will be under way.

I’ve thought long and hard about what my New Year’s resolution should be. Last year, I had lofty – but well- meaning – intentions to live better, and I think I’ve accomplished that.

I may not have lost the 30 pounds I wanted to, but I haven’t had to go up a size, either.

I stayed out of the doctor’s office – minus the trips with the children, of course.

For the most part, we had enough, and we gave back where and when we could.

So, in looking back, I can see I did live better.

But on Sunday, I got the news about the passing of a fellow Lion’s Club member, Duke Smith. And it’s that kind of news that will make you stand up and take notice of your life.

If you had the pleasure of knowing Duke, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t know him, let me explain.

Duke Smith was a man who loved sports. As part of the city’s department of leisure services, Smith found his niche. I never saw him without a mascot on his hat and or an emblem on his shirt, and if I can close my eyes right now, I can picture him tooling around Johnson Park on that John Deere Gator.

He gave selflessly and tirelessly to the children and parents of Andalusia. One could always count on him to lend a hand where needed.

Duke always had a laugh in his talk, if you know what I mean. Life was enjoyable to him, and it showed – which is why it was so shocking to the community to learn of his untimely death of a heart attack at 53.

But, I think his life should serve as an example of why we shouldn’t wait until the New Year to vow to live better.

It’s one thing to know that we are never guaranteed tomorrow, but it’s another to understand it after you’ve lost a good friend.

Things happen in this world that should make us stand up and take notice, but, at the same time, those things should also make us give thanks for the good things in life.

This year, my oldest child excelled in sports – and who would have thought that with me as her mother. The middle one, who is hearing and speech impaired, didn’t flunk reading (Thank you, Jesus, Mrs. Chavers and Mrs. Fairley), and the littlest one was just a delight.

So today when I get home – and every day after – I’m going make sure to tell them, and everyone I love, just how much they mean to me because they are the reason I resolve to live better all year long.