LAUDERDALE: This year, don't let your dreams get trapped on a list

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comJanuary 1, 2013 

In sorting through New Year's resolutions, I'm reminded of my friend Dick McTeer.

Dick would stroll over to the newspaper office from Rose Hill, where he retired from the rigors of business and civic leadership in Hardeeville.

He usually came over to straighten me out on matters of the war. The Civil War, of course. He was never mean or ugly, as some folks tend to be on that subject, but he did want me to realize how mean and ugly Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman was to the citizenry of the Lowcountry, both black and white.

Like others with a long view of our poor corner of the Lowcountry, Dick knew how much better life has become here and how much more opportunity there is. And just how poor it was.

For many years he ran a motor lodge in Hardeeville. The mom-and-pop enterprises lined the streets of Hardeeville and Ridgeland, catering to travelers headed to Florida on U.S. 17. It's how Hardeeville got the name "The Inn Village."

Dick said there was room in the inns for everyone in America, and it seemed that they all showed up sooner or later.

One night when a guest checked in, Dick called his cousin.

"Hey, JuJu," he said. "You better get down here. There's a man here who said he served in the Army with you."

JuJu said, "Oh, really. Who is it?"

"Omar Bradley."

Dick always told wonderful stories when he strolled over to the newspaper office. He once sold newspaper display ads, God bless him. And he was an English and history major at Wofford College in the Upstate.

Dick was 86 when he passed away in September. The last time we talked, his topic was the proposed Indian tribe gambling casino in Hardeeville. He said at one time parimutuel betting -- horse racing -- was suggested for Hardeeville, and he thought that still might be a good bet.

Two of my favorite stories of his come to mind when I think of resolutions.

One time he said:

"David, if you want to do it, do it now."

He told me not to save a list of things to do when I get older and have more time. It might be too late.

"When I walk into CVS, they applaud," he said.

Your dream trip, he said, might turn out to be a well-worn path between doctors' offices.

He told another story about seizing the moment. It went something like this:

Dick and his wife, Jacqueline, were grocery shopping when she caught him looking longingly at a live lobster in a tank of water. She encouraged him to get it, but he said it was too expensive.

Dick said they kept shopping, and a few aisles over, his wife asked, "What are you saving it for, your son-in-law?"

It was a joke. It made him laugh. He loved to laugh, and make others laugh. But I got his point.

In 2013, may the world be your lobster.

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.

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