Skip Shelton and Finis Horne have been laid to rest, but a couple of valuable lessons they left behind have not.
Skip has not been a Greenwood fixture all that many years, but he was known to many simply because of the way he lived his life and because he literally left his mark in so many places in and around Greenwood. From the sprawling mural on the wall of the Briarpatch store, operated by Brianna and Bruce Lawrence in Ninety Six, to the adornments he gave the backs of Main Street buildings, from his works that went on display in the Federal Building to the works many residents, including myself, have hanging on their walls.
Skip died at an age, 90, when most people would be taking things easy. Not Skip. Up until the last minute before his cancer put him on his back, Skip was active. Only a matter of a few weeks ago, did he complete a series of window dressings to improve the aesthetics of the old mill office building on Kitson Street while plans for its future use are developed.
A large and diverse group of people flowed through the funeral home and attended Skip's funeral last week. It was a further testament to his reach and impact on others.
His lesson? Live life to its fullest. Use your god-given talents to the best of your abilities - and until you cannot use them anymore.
The front of the program for Skip's service included a quote from author Hunter S. Thompson. It was an apt selection as it fairly well summed up Skip's life and serves as a lesson to those he left behind. It's especially appropriate, given Skip's affinity for motorcycles.
It reads: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a Ride!'"
THIS IS BEING WRITTEN in advance of Finis Horne's funeral service. No doubt it too had a diverse group in attendance, from current Lander University staff and administration, to folks who long ago ran up and down the court trying to secure the coach another win. Coach was known outside the Lander circle, the school he came to and grew to love during his tenure as basketball coach and athletic director.
Coach's reach and influence was as noteworthy as Skip's. He was a kind, caring, compassionate man, and certainly a passionate man when it came not only to building Lander's athletics, but also when it came to caring for and about others.
Whenever a student came to Coach a bit down and feeling as though he might not be able to make it through college, as just about any student will experience, Coach did not simply tell the student to suck it up and get over it.
He had some sage advice, advice many of his former students can probably recite and likely impart to others today.
Coach offered what became known as his six steps to a successful life.
While not a direct quote, the six steps essentially are as follows:
1. Get a good night's sleep.
2. Get up, shower, get cleaned up.
3. Eat a good breakfast.
4. Work hard all day on what needs to be worked on.
5. Get exercise.
6. Do something to help someone else.
Sensible advice from a sensible man.
Thank you, Skip Shelton and Finis Horne, for showing us how to enjoy a vibrant and successful life.
Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-2522; email firstname.lastname@example.org ,or follow him on Twitter at IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.