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Eric Douglas: Best wishes for graduates, especially one of them

This week, I hope you’ll allow me to brag a little bit.

Not about me, but about my daughter.

My older daughter, Ashlin, is graduating from high school this weekend and I couldn’t be prouder of her. She’s not the valedictorian or anything like that, but she’s done it. And she’s already planning her next steps and has dreams for her future.

I have no idea how her life will end up. (I’m 51 and mine is still up in the air a lot of the time.) But I know she’ll do well.

As parents, we try a lot of different things -- feeling like we are failing most of the time. You never know what sticks and what doesn’t.

Short answer, it’s rarely the extravagant gift you fought and elbowed your way to the front of the store for.

Ashlin is very creative and has loved to draw and paint and craft since she was very young. I think most kids are like that, but, for whatever reason, they move on or lose interest.

She never did. Her mother and grandmother get credit for that. I can’t draw to save my life.

Ten or 12 years ago, I decided I would write a story for my daughters. I remember sitting on the driveway asking what they wanted it to be about.

We discussed fairies and princesses, but finally settled on sea turtles. Likely they agreed with that to make me happy. Regardless, the story was written and they both enjoyed it.

Over the years, sea turtles have come up from time to time. A few days ago, Ashlin sent me photos of her graduation cap/mortar board. They can paint messages on them if it is pre-approved.

Hers features a sea turtle with the message “There is still so much to ‘sea’.” The spelling is intentional. I guess that stuck with her and it is something special we share.

For all the graduates finishing up school this month, be it high school or college, but especially my #1 graduate, I can only say pursue your dreams. Don’t forget the things that make you happy. Don’t give up just because it is hard or becomes a struggle. Those are the times when it is the most important.

There really is so much left to see and feel and explore.

You are loved and I am proud of you.

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at

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Funerals for Thursday, June 27, 2019

Boggs, Curtis - 2 p.m., Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home, Spencer.
Booth, Richard - 1 p.m., Gatens - Harding Funeral Home, Poca.
Brooks, Tressie - 2 p.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Cantley, Karen - 2 p.m., Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans. 

Cunningham, Gary - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Buffalo.

Davis, Kevin - 1 p.m., Second Baptist Church, Ravenswood.

Fields, Thomas - 11 a.m., Cunningham - Parker - Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Hager, Joseph - Noon, Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.

Herman, Betty - 11 a.m., Forest Lawn Cemetery, Pecks Mill. 

Jenkins, Kittie - 1 p.m., White Funeral Home, Summersvill.

Oxley, Bob - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Sizemore, Roscoe - Noon, Gauley Bridge United Methodist Church, Gauley Bridge.

Stull, Cynthia - 6 p.m., St. Luke’s Methodist Church, Craigsville. 

Thaxton, Hansel - 7 p.m., Cunningham - Parker - Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Thompson, Diane - 11 a.m., Stanley Family Cemetery, Mud River.

Walker, Violet - 1 p.m., Keith Full Gospel Church, Keith.

Woodell, Annette - 11 a.m., Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.