Master The Moment:Layout 1 10/6/10 12:11 PM Page 198
MASTER THE MOMENT
Time spent working on something you don’t bring to completion
is probably time wasted.
‘Take for example, the period in my life when I stopped school the
first time and joined the Navy,’
Dan said. ‘My father just had a
heart attack, and both my sister and I were in school. My sister
had a scholarship, and I was on a partial scholarship. We still
depended on my Dad financially. He was working three jobs and
my mother was working two jobs.’
‘This was in the 60s,’ he continued. ‘We both chose to go to private
schools. My sister went to Xavier and I went to Tuskegee. It was a
very tumultuous time in the United States. One semester – just
after Martin Luther King got killed – we took over the campus.
George Wallace’s wife, Lurleen, was officially the Governor, but
George was really the one running the state.’
Dan, who is African-American, explained, ‘The Alabama National
Guard, which was all white at the time, came on campus with
tanks and personnel carriers. I can tell you that was a scary time!
Somehow we finally got that all straightened out. Everybody went
home, took a breather, then came back. We had been out five or
six weeks. I was an engineering major. That next fall I was wor-
ried about my Dad and I thought maybe what I should do is leave
Dan went on: ‘The political climate was hard and my Dad had just
had a heart attack. I added it all up and decided to leave. I could
have added it all up and decided to stay. Other people might have
done that. I’m not sure which way was right, but that’s what I did.
I left, joined the Navy, and got married.’
‘Sometimes I think about it and say that others who were with me
finished school and got their degree on time,’ Dan said. ‘Then again,
they may not have had the family problems I had. I thought Debo-
rah, my sister, was smarter than me. I thought it would be easier
for me to go in the military. I just wanted to stay out of Vietnam.