Just a few short days ago I was exiting a retail store at about the same time Gerald Goss was exiting another. I threw my hand up but he didn’t see me.
On this day, I was a man in a hurry. It seems we are always in a hurry these days. We have no time to say hello.
I got in my vehicle and started to pull up next to him and speak but at the last second I realized the rush I was in so I kept driving.
Gerald and his wife, Jean, have three wonderful daughters, Donna, Wanda, and Lisa. They are all productive members of the community.
There was a 12-month period in my late teens that Donna and I were close friends. This meant I spent almost every day during that year at their home on Hospital Road in Canton.
I feel sure Gerald and Jean privately discussed ways to push me off of the large embankment next to their home, but they didn’t do it because I am still here.
Instead what they did was make me feel like family. They treated me as one of their own.
Gerald and I spent some time golfing together. He took me on a family camping trip. And Jean was the one who kept me in line.
Not that she needed a lot of help. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and Donna had a way of keeping someone in line also.
The Goss family loves the Lord. I went to church with them several times where Gerald’s dad, Dean Goss, was the pastor.
It wasn’t really an option. If you were going to be treated like family you were going to act like family. And this family certainly welcomed me in their homes and in their lives.
And I was too busy to stop for 10 seconds and say hello. Shameful.
It is amazing how we can be so close to people and then drift apart to absolutely no contact. But it happens to all of us and it happens every day.
Our lives went in different directions with little or no contact. However, modern technology has helped people re-connect.
I became friends with Donna on Facebook a while back. It was then that I saw how active she was in providing information on a brave young man, Collins Dixon.
I was honored to hear Collins briefly speak once at Sheriff Roger Garrison’s charity fundraiser at Hawks Ridge.
But it was obvious from Donna’s post on Facebook, that she was far more involved than that. She kept us all updated on the good times and the not so good times this brave young man faced.
She had a relationship that allowed her close contact with Collins and his family. And for that, I know they felt blessed.
Just the other day, she added another post about an upcoming fundraiser for other kids that suffer with brain tumors. So although young Collins slipped away from this world to the next, she continues to work for other kids and their families that face this disease.
Gerald and Jean have much to be proud of in the lives of all of their girls. They provided guidance and made sure their children learned right from wrong. That sounds elementary to a degree, but unfortunately it is not as common as it should be.
For her work with children with brain tumors, Donna may never win an award or be recognized publicly as would a politician or civic leader, although she should.
But I doubt she does it for that reason. Her reward will be greater because she is making the world a better place. I thank her for that!
So Gerald, Jean, Donna, Wanda, and Lisa, thank you for letting a teen-age boy become part of your family for 12 months of my life. I have no doubt that I am better for it.
And Gerald, the next time I see you I will take the time to stop and shake your hand regardless of how busy I think I am. Because I was raised better than that.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.