by Bob Stealey
The late, beloved cartoonist Charles Schulz never failed to amaze me with his philosophies applied to cartoon characters Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy et al.
But a friend from Bakersfield, California sent me a bit of Schulz philosophy that has a very special meaning.
Here's what he said:
This is a great way to get a new week started -- it puts things in proper perspective.
Take this quiz:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
Easier? The lesson? The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards. They are the ones who care.
Along those lines, there's an individual who made a lot of difference in my life. 'Not a celebrity. Chances are, he wasn't that well known even in this area. I would say he struggled much of his life.
I had seen him just recently on two occasions. When I opened up my Sunday newspaper, I saw his obituary -- Gordon Lee Cain, only 56.
Gordon and I shared a particular interest in music, especially the "oldies."
Music was a large part of his life. For nearly 30 years, he worked at the former Fred Ross Bandland on East Pike Street in Clarksburg. He was quite talented in playing several different musical instruments.
And his sense of humor was unique, to say the least.
As I said, he wasn't famous -- just a "regular" guy. But despite his health, he was never so down on his luck to ask about the well-being of others.
Yes, "Rockin' Billy" certainly will be missed.
Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.