By Kathi Bliss
My head is kind of reeling the last couple of days, after the one-two punch that is the loss of two people who I was blessed to know, both as inspirations when I was a teenager, and as mentors when I was an adult.
You could have knocked me over with a feather last week when I heard the news of the death of Mr. Buckner. Sure, he was older than dirt (as he often told me) and wasn’t in the best of health, but Mr. Doug and Ms. Dorothy are a LEGACY. Their kindness, kinship and love has transcended generations, and shaped… I can’t even begin to think how many lives in this community.
If you think you’ve not been touched by their lives, consider whether or not you’ve ever been to the Bike Rodeo, or had your child receive a helmet or a VIN etched on their bike during the Helmet Roundup. Make no mistake, my friends, Mr. Doug and Ms. Dorothy DID THAT. Got a Hermann Sons scholarship? They had their hands in that, too. All they ever did, all they ever wanted, was for kids in this community to do well and succeed – on those children’s own terms… Not on the Buckners’. I’m missing probably three dozen opportunities that they presented. I apologize for the doing. But I’m rattled.
Because there’s a part of me that thought that the Buckners were eternal.
If that were not bad enough, on the same day that I learned about Mr. Buckner, I discovered that Mayor Maxine Goodman had passed, as well.
I was honored to know Mrs. Goodman during my teen years, when I spent time at her house as a friend of her granddaughter. During that time, she was Lockhart’s first female mayor, and I remember her teaching us lessons, even then, about community service, about responsibility to our hometown, and about getting involved and making things better, instead of complaining and making things worse.
I was absolutely honored, and am absolutely humbled, to have had these people in my life. Not because of the legacy that they leave, in a broad spectrum, but because of the lessons they taught me, personally.
Love. Service. Dedication. Family. Friends. God. Do what’s right, and you’re always doing the right thing. Good lessons. Lessons this community needs. Lessons we all need.
I’m not going to make this political, per se… But I’m going to answer a question that many have asked, and few have answered. I’m often asked, why do I find the opinions of the “lifers” more valuable than I find the opinions of the “newcomers.” It’s pretty simple.
For the life and health of my community, I value the opinions of the people who came here, invested here, and taught me to come back here, over the opinions of people who would encourage the best among us to get out. Mrs. Goodman taught us to take our lessons and our love across the world, but to always remember where we came from. Mr. Buckner encouraged us to reach for the stars, but to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground.
They reminded us what was best about where we are, and inspired us to make it better still. They were invested. They encouraged us to be invested.
And I will miss them.
There is a hole in our community this week. A big one. It’s going to take all of us to fill it. It’s going to take us remembering to look, not at what we want, but what’s best for all of us, and doing what we can do to make that happen.
We’ll never fill their shoes. Let’s hope we can fill their dreams.
Please join me in extending our love and prayers to the Goodman and Buckner families. I have no doubt that they will continue to be the best among us – and encourage us to make the best of ourselves.