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Defining moments for many

There have been a lot of defining moments in my life; those times when things can go one way or the other but will certainly not stay the same.

The choices you make at those moments will determine where you will go from there. Graduation from high school was one such moment for me.

I graduated from a large high school with more than 600 students in my graduating class. I left for college with the freedom of my own apartment, a car that was paid for and a world to conquer.

The friends I made in college that first year remain some of the closest friends in my life. We explored the world together and learned just what a small part of it we were.

This week my oldest nephew will graduate from high school. He is the first of his generation after my own daughters to graduate within our family. He also went to a large high school in Atlanta and is headed to Auburn. He also has an apartment, a car that is paid for and a world to conquer.

What do you say to a kid 37 years after your own graduation?

I decided to share my letter to my nephew because parts of it are what I might say to any member of the Class of 2009.

A letter to Stephen

Dear Stephen:

Congratulations on completing high school and the first phase of your education. You have done very well in a competitive environment and all of your family is very proud of you. We look forward to following your career at college as well. No matter where you wind up you will have an experience you will always remember.

I am also proud of what a fine young man you have become. The good grades and extracurricular activities are all important. In the end, however, it is the person inside you that is the most important. You have a good heart.

I made the most important friends of my life while in college. I expect you will do the same. Keep your guard up and surround yourself with people you would be proud to bring home. It seems to me you have always been pretty good at doing that anyway.

College can test your faith. It is part of the college atmosphere to question everything, including your faith. You have a good foundation there that should serve you well.

You have a family that adores you although you may not feel that every moment. You know it is true. Your Mom and Dad have nothing more important in their lives and only wish for your happiness and success. Remember that college will be an adjustment for them as well. A phone call from you at least once a week is good for you and important for them.

Over 35 years after I left for college I still rely on the basic core values that you and I both share. Friends, faith and family.

Enjoy the ride and soak up all the knowledge you can. One day I’ll be proud to be known as Stephen Hasler’s uncle. In fact, I already am.

Uncle Dan.

A 90th birthday

In Bainbridge, she is probably known as Brown Moseley’s mother. In Donalsonville, Brown would definitely be known as “Miss Agnes,” Moseley’s son.

This Sunday, Miss Agnes will celebrate her 90th birthday with a reception at her home. For 26 of those years, it has been our pleasure to have her as our neighbor.

The truth is you don’t have to be Agnes’ son or neighbor to have benefited from knowing her. There are hundreds, probably thousands, who have been touched by Miss Agnes as her student, as a member of her church, as a friend or a person in need.

I don’t think I have ever met a person that personified the word “southern lady” more than Agnes Moseley. She always has a kind word, asks about your family, and turns the attention on the other person. She is gracious and moves with a genteel dignity that makes you glad to be around her.

With a smile for everyone and a heart full of love for her friends and family, Agnes Moseley is special in so many ways. We are all blessed to have such a person live among us. Happy Birthday, Miss Agnes.

A good late fee

Food for Fines is a way that patrons of the Regional Library can pay back fines for overdue books.

Last week, I happened to be in the Seminole Library when I saw a young mother with a child in tow give 11 cans in exchange for her fines. What a nice gesture I thought.

Then I heard the librarian tell her that her past due amount was $90 so the cans would only reduce it to $79. The mother said she would bring some more the next week, leaving without complaining when she still couldn’t check out a book.

The Food for Fines program supports the Family Connections Food Bank through their Backpack program. This food is sent home with certain young elementary age children over the weekend. It is sad but true that some children in our communities might go hungry over the weekend without the school meals to feed them.

The young mother has been notified that her fine has been paid in full. Sometimes you touch someone in the smallest of ways.