Bill Lynch: Do it now

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Sometimes fate sends a message.

Last month was one of those times. It was actually three messages, not just one, and their meaning was loud and clear.

It began at a recent dinner with our close friends and neighbors, Fred and Pam. Fred was talking about how much he enjoys gatherings and conversations with good friends, and how that thought made him realized he’d lost contact with some of dear old friends.

So, one night not so long ago, he called one of those old friends. There was no particular occasion. He just told his friend he was thinking of him and wanted to say hello.

It turned into a joyful reunion over the phone.

Fred’s story forced me to consider how many of my old friendships have withered, simply because I am too occupied in the present to keep in touch.

A few days after that dinner, I got a letter from my friend Steve. Once again, there was no special occasion. He just wanted to tell me how much he appreciated our friendship.

Finally, I attended the Sonoma Valley High School Boosters Club Hall of Fame luncheon, which recognized a dozen or so former Dragons for their accomplishments as adults.

My brother, Jim, and I were among the honorees. Bob Kruljac, SVHS grad and its former vice principal, and a committee of alums have dedicated themselves to keeping this local recognition program alive.

It is nice tradition. I’m grateful to Bob and his committee for carrying it on. Telling people that they are appreciated; telling them that their life has value, is a wonderful gift.

As individuals, we don’t have to create an awards event to do it.

Poet Berton Braley said it best in 1915 with his poem, “Do It Now.”

My Dad, Robert Lynch, reprinted Braley’s poem more than once during his 50 years at the helm of the Index-Tribune. I think he did it as much to remind himself as the I-T’s readers. Here is that poem:

If with pleasure you are viewing, any work a man is doing,

If you like him, or you love him, tell him now;

Don’t withhold your approbation till the parson makes oration

And he lies with snowy lilies on his brow;

No matter how you shout it he won’t really care about it;

He won’t know how many teardrops you have shed;

If you think some praise is due him now’s the time to slip it to him,

For he cannot read his tombstone when he’s dead.

More than fame and more than money is the comment kind and sunny

And the hearty, warm approval of a friend.

For it gives to life a savor, and it makes you stronger, braver,

And it gives you heart and spirit to the end;

If he earns your praise — bestow it; if you like him let him know it;

Let the words of true encouragement be said;

Do not wait till life is over and he’s underneath the clover,

For he cannot read his tombstone when he’s dead.

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