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Take a few right-hand turns

Posted: April 3, 2014 3:49 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2014 5:00 a.m.

It’s been a long, cold winter. Too many nights with sub-20 temperatures. Too many days of steady, cold drizzle.

And the news shows don’t help. Turn one on, and you’re in for a depressing experience, whether it’s the latest mass killing or the inability of the government to function properly.

The economy’s still struggling to gain traction, and the stock market’s been in the doldrums after a strong 2013. Airplanes are missing and movie stars and rappers are still preening.

So what’s to be happy about?

Spring, that’s what.

It’s arriving in all its glory. Temperatures are in the 80s, azaleas are getting ready to pop out, the Masters golf tournament is approaching and the wonder of new life is everywhere.

And while a blue sky can’t dispel all the problems we’re facing, it can help put a brighter outlook on things.

Consider these words, from an anonymous source: “Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we’re all eligible for life’s small pleasures: A pat on the back. A four-pound bass. A full moon. An empty parking space. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer.”

Spring brings the same philosophy.

Al McGuire, the late basketball coach and broadcaster, was revered among  friends because of his zest for life and his ability to get to the heart of an issue. Despite fame and fortune -- and a national championship in basketball -- McGuire never forgot to revel in the simple pleasures that surround us.

I told you this once before, but it’s a story I like, so I’ll remind you:

McGuire loved to ride his motorcycle, and he used to tell friends that when he traveled from his home to the Marquette University campus in Milwaukee where he coached, he always came to a particular intersection where he had a choice -- he could turn left and go to work or he could take a right-hand turn into the Wisconsin countryside and a few hours of pure riding pleasure.

According to his friends, he always allowed himself to take a right-hand turn at least once a month, and when McGuire talked with friends, he often left them with the admonition, “Don’t forget to take a few right-hand turns.”

Spring’s indeed the time to take those turns.

Ride through downtown Camden and enjoy the splendor of the parks. Delight in the azaleas in Monument Square, the dogwoods in Hampton Park and the gorgeous daffodils that brighten the north side of Rectory Square.

Take an hour one evening and put your favorite CD on the stereo -- doesn’t matter if it’s Mozart or Merle Haggard -- and listen without interruption. No reading, no TV, no conversation. Just enjoy the music.

Treat yourself to an ice cream cone or an expensive dinner, putting your diet or your budget in the back room for a few hours.

Call a friend you haven’t seen in years. Remember old times and how good they were.

Don’t sweat double bogeys or little scratches on your car door or the poor score your kid made on a history test last week. In the big picture, those things don’t count so much, do they?

Tell the people you love that you love ’em. Don’t take it for granted that they already know.

Enjoy life and all its blessings, for you never know when they’ll be taken from you.

Oh, yes, one other thing:  remember to take a few right turns.

(Glenn Tucker is the contributing editor of the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)

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