I intended to ask for a time to talk with Mike Ragland about a couple of his articles. The last time that I saw him I mentioned in a group setting that I had Cotton in My Blood, and we all laughed, but that was not the time, I thought, to get an appointment. Now that I look back at that time, it was the only time that I was going to have on this side of the sun. I also wanted to talk to him about “The Hanging of Will Dutton” and the many other tantalizing topics that he wrote about.

My appeal to you today is to remember that each day or each mile that we witness gets us closer to our exit. On this expressway on which we travel daily, our exit is numbered. However, that is truly not the part that we must be concerned about. The part that should concern us are the promises that we make to ourselves about the people we want to reach out to, friend or foe. I believe the word that I am searching for is procrastination. How much of our life do we allow to pass while we sit and procrastinate?

When I heard that Mike had died, I realized that I have an enemy who makes me think that he is my friend. His name is Procrastination. I have grown to like him because he makes me think that I have another life to live on this side of the sun. Some people will wonder why I classified his gender as a male. Let us not get ourselves tangled in his gender. You may call him whatever you desire. The point is he/she does exist. That, I believe, you will admit. Do you struggle with putting off or altogether avoiding things you know you should and need to do? Do you put off reaching out to people that you should reach with a phone call, a card or a visit? Join the club with millions of us. This dream crusher, goal crasher and career delayer stands with us all because no one is immune to the strongholds of procrastination. He/she steps up and tells us, “Oh, it can wait until tomorrow,” or, “Oh, you do not have the time to finish it today. You can start fresh tomorrow.” “Oh! You are really tired and do not have the supplies needed.” “Oh, it does not have to be done today, you have plenty of time still.” “Oh, you can visit or call her later.” Just as there are millions of us in this club, that is the number of reasons that this time-sucking tendency will give us.

We all know that this is it, and it is later than we think to leave our best on each other. On this side of the sun, we do leave traces of ourselves on everyone that we encounter directly or indirectly. There is no other life beyond the sun of this nature when the temporal connections are going to mean anything to any of us. My writing this is not to be morbid, but to encourage all of us to step up and do the things that are in our power to do now while we still have time. I feel sad that Mike never knew that he positively impacted my life, and I will not lift a pen again without thinking of him.

When I examined the Rome News-Tribune Sunday, March 24, 2019, to read what was said about Mike or anyone who had transitioned, there was not enough space nor words to give proper treatment to Mike and others about what they meant to this community. My next thought was how many of us allowed people to transition without knowing about our appreciation for them while living.

We cannot do anything about what we missed with Mike or any of the many friends who have transitioned this year, however we all still have time to buy those flowers that they can still smell, to select appropriate cards that they can still read, to bake those cakes that they can still taste, to make those phone calls long overdue, to take those trips to the door of a neglected family member or friend.

By taking intentional steps one at a time, we can reduce the number of dreams Procrastination crushes or careers he delays or goals he crashes. For us to accomplish this takes a determined plan. Procrastination must not win, because he is our enemy!

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome.

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