A life worth remembering

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On Saturday, the Barry County Museum played host to a special tribute to the late Charles Vaughan. The event attracted a great crowd of all ages who gathered together to honor a man who had such a positive impact on so many young men in his role as scoutmaster of Cassville Boy Scout Troop 76. A highlight of the tribute was hearing remarks from three of Vaughan's first four Eagle Scouts - John Babb, Bobby Reams and Gary Chaney - and listening to Charles' son, Steven Vaughan, recite a humorous essay he had written 26 years ago for the 50th anniversary of Cassville's Troop 76 that offered one view of a typical Scout camping trip led by Charlie.

The tribute began with current members of Troop 76 leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Boy Scout Pledge and the Boy Scout Oath. Several times during the tribute, it was mentioned that Charles Vaughan led by example and taught the young men he guided how to live out the pledges and oaths they memorized. It was this type of teaching that made a real difference in so many lives and it's men like Charles Vaughan, and women like Joyce Vaughan, we should all hope to emulate.

Cassville Mayor Tracy Holle concluded Saturday's tribute by reading an essay written by George Carlin. I was surprised that the comedian's words rang so true and have stuck with me since Saturday. As a result, I asked Mayor Holle to drop off a copy of the message so I could include it below for our readers.

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

"We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much and pray too seldom.

"We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

"We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

"We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

"These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

"Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

"Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

"Remember to give a warm hug to to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

"Remember to say 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all, mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

"Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak. And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind. And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

On Saturday, the life of a special man was honored and many great times were relived. Both Charles and Joyce Vaughan were citizens who lived life fully and didn't miss an opportunity to teach a life lesson or make life a little better for those God put in their care. They seemed to know the secret of a fulfilling life - a life where success is measured by relationships instead of riches, and their way of living sure made a positive impact on the Cassville community.