Words of a former Farragut Rotarian speak to us today

Tom KingFarragut, Feature

Farragut Rotarians are a close bunch. We become part of one another in Rotary, and we are part of something bigger than ourselves, an organization of some 1.2 million members worldwide. We touch lives and make life better around the world – and close to home.

Last week as I was surfing Facebook, something popped up that resonated in my heart and soul in these troubling and divisive times in our country. We have become a less civil people in a less civil society. That troubles this senior citizen. It should trouble every American.

What caught my eye were the words written by a former member of the Rotary Club of Farragut, a man who was a friend then and who remains a dear friend. I still consider him a Farragut Rotarian to this day. His name is Darryl Mackley and he owns Mackley Jewelers. Ironically, his dedication to his company is what led him to leave our club. Our club meets at noon each Wednesday, and in the jewelry business that’s prime time for customers to drop in – during the lunch hour.

Darryl Mackley

Darryl had a picture of unpolished and dull-looking diamonds on his Facebook page, and next to them he wrote: “Even diamonds aren’t very pretty until someone shapes and polishes them. Works the same way with people. Smiles, kind words, compliments and encouragements go a long way to shaping the people around us. Have a great day.”

We all like smiles. We all like kind words. We all like compliments. We all need encouraging. And we all enjoy having a great day.

Here is a former member of the club who is still making a difference in my life. Yesterday, as our club sat and watched the bright faces and listened to the talented voices of the Webb School Madrigal Singers under the direction of LeAnne Johnson, Darryl’s words and thoughts returned.

The 2018 Christmas and holiday season is picking up speed. No doubt that was part of my thinking as I saw the smiles in the audience around the room, heard the applause and compliments and appreciation for these young people when our club, 90 members strong, gave these students a standing ovation and wished for them the happiest of holidays.

Then we shared some light humor, welcomed our visitors and new friends to our meeting and got on with the business of the club.

Back came Darryl’s words and thoughts.

President Keith Bryson’s agenda included news that almost every slot is filled when we ring the bells at the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign on Dec. 15 and Dec. 22 at Kroger in Farragut.  We’ll be there from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Our club loves doing this. We’ll swap smiles with those who donate. Many will thank us for being there. We’ll thank them. They will encourage us. Some people we’ll know; most we won’t know. But we’re all of the same spirit about helping families during the holidays.

In our meeting we also talked about working on a Habitat for Humanity build this month and into January and February along with members of the five other Rotary clubs in Knoxville. A true labor of love.

A week ago Wednesday, we donated a truckload of toys and clothes to the Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley Angel Tree. We did it with love and with the knowledge that the faces and lives of the children and their families will be happier in these turbulent times.

Happiness matters.

And yesterday, we ended our meeting as we always do, reciting together our Four Way Test of Rotary: First, is it the truth? Second, is it fair to all concerned? Third, will it build goodwill and better friendships? Fourth, will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The meeting adjourned. I hung around and noticed the smiles and the hugs, the laughing and the sharing going on. People, Rotarians, helping shape one another. Pass it on.

Thanks, Darryl. I had a great day.

If you’re interested in exploring membership in Farragut Rotary, drop me an email. We meet at 12:15 p.m. each Wednesday at Fox Den Country Club.

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