My father had some medical issues in the '60s that sent us to Corpus Christi, Texas. While he received his treatments at the Naval Hospital, I joined other young kids playing in a turquoise swimming pool at a nearby motel.
We got to play for endless hours in the summer sun, swimming, splashing and just enjoying ourselves without a care in the world. It was an idyllic moment.
Some decades later my wife and I returned to Corpus Christi and using directions from my mother, I found that motel. It was no longer idyllic.
It was run down. The buildings were in need of paint, had cracked windows, broken doors and a look of total disrepair.
The worst sight was the pool. Its turquoise paint was faded, the clear water was gone and only dirty storm runoff filled the bottom of this child's dream.
The motel now has a seedy reputation. We made a hasty departure while I struggled to shore up my memories.
A few years ago I ran into the economic development director for Corpus Christi at an Atlanta conference.
While he didn't know the motel by name he knew the area. It had started downhill some years earlier because it never could come together to stay up with the growth of tourism along the Gulf coast. He said the area didn't keep up and it died.
I understood what he was saying.
When I built a house in southern Florida I discovered two types of people in our community: Those that came to enjoy life and those that came to await death.
One camp attended events, threw parties, volunteered their time, continued to learn and loved to create.
The other camp only spoke of gloom, health issues and discussed all their prescriptions. They only attended funerals.
Dawsonville City Councilman Chris Gaines stated it simply: You are either living or you are dying.
Our community is either growing or its falling behind and dying.
Civilization moves on, it grows, it evolves and it changes.
You can join the party, be part of the future or you can fall behind.
No one remembers those that stayed behind. The history books don't record their names.
I am always surprised how many people I meet that fall into that second group.
They are fine with how things are thank you very much, and they have no interest or desire to improve their world, the future for their offspring or even their own lives.
It is even more shocking to me how many of these people are rather religious. It seems they know they have their place in heaven so they quit doing anything about this stop along their way.
I spoke to a very devoted deacon about this type of behavior and he noted that many people abandon this world knowing that their next place will be better. They forget that our Savior worked until His last worldly breath to make this place better and to help all mankind on their present journey, not just their future place in heaven.
That old Corpus Christi motel just gave up. They waited for the tourists to return, not recognizing that they had changed their focus, adopted different standards and were looking in a new direction.
The motel didn't evolve. It didn't look toward tomorrow and it died.
Our community should heed the words of Gaines, the man from Corpus Christi and the deacon. Mankind advances to make our planet better.
Remember our great history and heritage, but also remember that those around us move on. Living people focus on the future.
When someone says they like things just the way they are, what they are really saying is let's just leave it to die.
Because that is exactly what happens to every place that just stays the way it was.
Charlie Auvermann is a longtime Dawson County resident and former editor of the Dawson Community News. He is also the executive director of the local development authority