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A long weekend

I did something Monday night I usually only reserve for fantasy football season: I watched bits and pieces of a professional football game.

But I had good reason: No. 64 on the Chicago Bears, Thomson's own Danny Verdun Wheeler.

The former Georgia Bulldog saw a lot of playing time in the Super Bowl rematch against the Indianapolis Colts. The Bears won Monday night's rematch, and Danny finished the game with two tackles.

And he showed signs of why he's playing professionally: He made it his mission to be where the ball is, whether it was a long pass play or a short run up the middle. It is that hustle that can take a small town Georgia football player to success in the windy city.

Monday night's football game proved to be a nice distraction from Sunday night's tragic accident that claimed the life of Thomson High alumnus Steven Wilson.

I spent a little time at the accident scene talking with police officers and emergency crews as they waited for state patrol investigators to show up. Showing up at accident scenes is something I've rarely done in the four years The Mirror has been around, but Sunday night I saw something that made my heart feel a little lighter.

Dozens of people - black and white, young and old, rich and poor - gathered in the Doodle Hill trailer park as emergency crews worked at the scene. As word filtered out about the reality of the wreck - a young man dead and several others seriously injured - they cried together, mourned together and prayed together.

It's those silver linings that can sometimes get lost in tragedies.

By Monday morning, the tragedy had set in on my heart.

I knew Steven Wilson, but I didn't know I knew him.

He was a mainstay at Pine Top Farm during equestrian events, scooting along on a four-wheeler running scores from jump judges to the main tent. Over the years, we talked about various things, from school to the people we both knew.

He was a good guy, one that will certainly be missed by his friends and family.

I just hope his life will serve as two lessons to others, both young and old.

First, we can't be too careful, especially behind the wheel of our vehicles. The old cliche is that we must look out for the other drivers. Well, we're all other drivers to someone else.

Second, we can be too careful, especially in the way we appreciate our loved ones. Whether it be an extra hug, one more kind word or another kiss, our time is precious. The ride we're on may last 60 more years or 20 more minutes. Y'all take time to enjoy the ride - even if you sometimes have trouble seeing the road through your tears.

Web posted on Thursday, August 23, 2007

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