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Start making tracks now
Senior moment
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These past 10 days have been quite unusual for me, filled with both extremely happy and very sad personal moments in my life. I know life is like that sometimes. But it makes me wonder why things happen the way they do.
Two Sundays ago I was celebrating the life of a friend I have known for several years. Dottie Williams turned 100 years old and I imagine there were at least 100 folks there to commemorate her life and monumental moment. One person in attendance was 101. You don’t see that very often, two people in the same room, living at the same place — Magnolia Manor, as members of the exclusive “Century Club.” Wow!
Last weekend my daughter, her friends and I attended the memorial service for her beloved science teacher, Mr. Eckwall. Mr. Eckwall was more than just a teacher. He was inspiring, motivating and funny. He loved his family and life and his students knew this. He made learning interesting and gave his students a purpose and reason to get up early in the morning and come to his class. He was the kind of person everyone dreams of having for a teacher, but rarely experiences. He connected with young teenagers and made a difference in their lives. More than that, Mr. Eckwall was a mentor and a friend to all.
I only met Mr. Eckwall — “Chip” as he was known to many — once during an open house at the beginning of the school year. And yet I feel such a loss through the eyes and tears of my daughter and her friends. Again, I wonder to myself why things happen the way they do.
I recently heard the thing people most wonder about as they age and near life’s end is whether or not they’ve reached their potential in life, and did they do enough for others. That’s some pretty heavy-duty wondering. Maybe I should stop wondering why things happen the way they do and start “making tracks.” After all, we only get so much time to make an impression. It might be 100 years or it could be much less.
There’s no need to wonder about Dottie and Chip and all the tracks they have made. Both are the epitome of the phrase, “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.” Dottie’s life started out poor and she never finished school. But she raised a wonderful family and became involved in her community and church. She asked me the other day, now that she is 100, should she stop working out with her hand-weights? I responded, “Absolutely not!” “Don’t stop something that has been working for you all these years.”
Mr. Eckwall made the most out of each day as well — living with the full intention of giving joy and making a positive impact on people every day of his life. You can help to continue his vision by making a donation to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program at Richmond Hill Middle School in his memory. What a great way to commemorate his life.
How about you? Have you made any tracks today? Better get started.

DeLong is the executive director for The Suites at Station Exchange. Email Rich at

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