A favorite place of mine is the Five Rivers Environmental Center just down the road from where I live. When the kids were young we would hike the many trails, catch frogs in the streams, and visit the educational center.
When by myself now, I run on the trail network, chasing deer and getting chased by Canada geese. There’s one spot I always visit. A small sign with an arrow points from the North Loop Trail to a side spur, where the trail descends steeply to the stream and a lone bench offers a place to rest, catch my breath, and reflect.
There’s a plaque on the bench. Here’s what it says:
Devoted father, husband, friend, and journalist, may he be remembered for his integrity, goodness, wit, and zest for life.
I didn’t know Jay Gallagher, but I take the short detour off the trail and stop by that bench every time I run at Five Rivers and I think: If someone (someday, hopefully not soon) says the same about me, if I can be remembered with similar sentiments, then I will have led a successful life. In reality, it’s a lot to live up to–I hope I can do it.
Here’s to you, Jay.