Blessed event, travel reports

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 28, 2002

This past week for me has been particularly interesting and exciting.

My daughter-in-law gave birth to our third grandson (fourth grandchild), and I stood on the spot which is in the eastern most land point in North America, Cape Spear Newfoundland.

Obviously, these two events are unrelated and the first is far more significant that the second.

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Many of you who read this column have grandchildren so I need not go off in passionate detail about how wonderful the feeling is to experience such a God-given &uot;happening.&uot;

Grandmother Rosalind, mom Pamela, and father Maury, are doing quite well, as is the newest member of our family, John Furman Mitchell.

The grandchild is named, in part, after my late father, Furman G. Mitchell of Luverne.

Dad would be exceedingly proud and honored that his grandson has selected such a name, and I only regret that Dad is not here to enjoy the moment.

Speaking of my dad, I miss him very much, just as you miss your fathers who have passed away.

There is just something special about a father-child relationship.

Of all the people in my life, without question, my Dad influenced my decisions the most.

Furman, as he was known to most, was one of the hardest working persons I have ever observed.

At the same time he was Mayor of Luverne, owner of The Fair Store, the Family Bargain Store, the Western Auto, a 150 acre purebred cattle farm, chairman of the Crenshaw County School Board, and a leader in his church.

He was a founding member of the Luverne Lions Club, member of the regional gas district board and served on boards of numerous charitable organizations.

My dad was a fourth generation &uot;Crenshaw Countian.&uot;

I am a fifth generation and our children are a sixth.

We have direct ancestors; who were born in the 18th century buried in local cemeteries.

Dad died prematurely of a heart attack at age 58 in April of 1969.

His gravestone in the Mount Pleasant Church of Christ cemetery, located 8 miles north of Luverne on US Highway 331, bears the words: &uot;A man who truly believed it was more blessed to give than to receive.&uot;

Several years ago the mayor and council named a public building in Luverne in his honor.

Without question, at least in my mind, Luverne is a better place because dad lived and worked in this community.

You can tell that I am proud of my Dad and his accomplishments, and I am delighted that his name is perpetuated in the person of my latest grandson.

With regard to the other event I mentioned, standing on the eastern most land point in North America, I will share with you that this was quite a special moment.

I was in St. John’s, Newfoundland to welcome the Canadian province of Newfoundland into membership in the National Energy Council, a legislative organization which makes and monitors energy policies in the United States and other worldwide energy producing nations.

I have been serving on the Executive Committee of the Energy Council for the past 12 years and hopefully can continue this important assignment if I am re-elected in November.

St. John’s is the capital city of Newfoundland and is the oldest incorporated city in North America.

Interestingly it is the site of 102 transatlantic emergency airplane landings on September 11 of last year, the day of the terrorist attacks on America.

The United States government, within hours of the attacks, ordered all commercial airlines grounded and 102 such flights en route either to or from Europe were told to land in Newfoundland, the first and last available airport between Europe and North America.

The Mayor of St. John’s addressed our group on Sunday afternoon and told us that 4,621 people were flown into the St. John’s airport within a two hour span of time and were met by 4,000 local volunteers with food and hospitality.

It was quite a remarkable &uot;happening.&uot;

This was my first trip to Newfoundland but hopefully it won’t be my last.

It is a laid back, beautiful spot on our wonderful planet and its citizens are very warm and friendly.

The high temperature was 62 degrees and the low was 48, a welcome change from our humid and hot August weather.

I appreciate your allowing me to share some personal feelings with you this week, and I also want to thank you for the kind comments an increasingly larger number of you share with me about my column.

Remember, &uot;I’ll go with you or I’ll go for you&uot; to help you solve any problem related to state government.

You can contact me at telephone number 334-242-7883 or write me at P O Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.