With all due to respect to one of the greatest speeches ever given (Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”), I want to offer a glimpse of my dreams.
Maybe it’s selfish. Maybe it’s bragging. Maybe you can learn something from it.
My story is humble. I probably had no right to dream, but that didn’t stop me. I dreamed of a life and a world that was very different from how and where I grew up. From an early age, I dreamed of changing the world. The first thing I can remember is the dream of being a Boy Scout. That started with my Den Mother Mrs. Patton and was fostered by really great Boy Scout leaders. I loved everything about it and grew leadership skills there that are still with me.
I dreamed of playing football. I loved everything about it. The teammates, the practices, the games, the helmets, the hitting. My high school football coach remains one of the greatest influences ever on who I became as a man.
I always wanted to have good friends that I could depend on. I’ve had a bunch of them. Even though we don’t talk often, I remain somehow cosmically connected to my best friend from childhood, Ronnie McNabb. I dreamed of being married. It hasn’t always been easy. Anybody that tells you that it will always be easy is lying, but it has been worth it. Now it is both easy and perfect.
I dreamed of finding a job where I was of value, a career that I enjoyed. Growing up, very few from my hometown went to college. Dreaming big was not really part of the culture. I remember all too well being told by a high school teacher that “people like you don’t go to college.”
But I was always going to college. My parents didn’t allow me to even consider anything else. They both worked in local factories, which was what most of my high school classmates did after graduation.
How I stumbled into this one must be the result of divine intervention. Nobody could be so lucky. Every time someone turns to me for help with their physical well-being, I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And when a parent tells me that they feel better because their child is in my hands, well … it doesn’t get any better than that.
I dreamed of having children. I dreamed that those children would become successful adults. I really hit the jackpot on that. And then they brought me grandchildren which may be the greatest blessing a senior citizen could ever have.
I dreamed of staying healthy and being healthy into old age. You’ve heard that story many times as it relates to my dad’s heart problems. From an early age, I took ownership on that one. A lot of what I do today is my effort to sustain that dream.
Never did I dream of being rich or famous. I didn’t dream of living in a big house on a hill. I never wanted fancy cars or expensive clothes. Jeans and T-shirts have always been more my style.
I never dreamed that I would write a newspaper column for 33 years that people would actually read. I know every English teacher I ever had would find that thought pretty funny (or ridiculous … or both).
I never dreamed that I would get to walk on the sidelines of championship football teams year after year. I never dreamed that I would be embraced by a community like I have by this one, where I have lived my dreams for 40 years. Thank you.