While in journalism school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, I was required to spend time working the Columbia Missourian news desk.
Part of my duties including answering the telephone and helping customers. I was also required to call families of loved ones who passed away.
The idea was to learn more about that person and possibly turn an obit into a feature story.
Anyway, I called this family and a man answered the telephone.
I explained that I was a student at MU and I was calling to learn a little bit more about the gentleman who had passed.
“You caught me a little off guard,” the fellow said, explaining that he was the brother of the deceased.
I said a few more words and he went on to tell me that he didn’t have much to say.
“No story there,” I’m thinking.
It bit later that day, I received a call from the son of the deceased man that I had earlier called his brother. Apparently, the brother called the son.
The son, who was calling from Kansas City, said he appreciated my call and was honored to share about his father.
When it comes to death and religion, people can sometimes get a little awry.
I don’t remember much about the story today, but I ended up writing a nice feature about the man. It seems that he was a long-time milk man in Columbia.
I think newspapers should do more of that. Calling families and writing about the person who passed. I think it is a great way to honor someone, especially a city leader, business owner or military personnel, who has passed.
Someone once told me that way back in the day, local newspaper editors wrote obits, not the undertaker. If they didn’t like the person, they didn’t say anything nice about him or her. I’m glad they don’t do that today.
Those who know me, know that I love to visit. I have no problem talking to total strangers. I always say, “you don’t get to know people if you don’t talk to them.”
I visited with a lot of people at this year’s Iowa State Fair. On the afternoon of the last Friday of the fair, Debbie and I found ourselves in the Agriculture Building as heavy rains and lightning rolled through Des Moines.
Debbie had earlier found a bench and I joined her.
It wasn’t long until a family took a seat next to us on the bench. I struck up a conversation and found out they were from Marion and that they had a son who was a police officer in the area. They said they were enjoying the fair and afterwards they were headed to Kansas City to see family.
After they moved on, another couple found solace on our bench. It just happened they were from Kansas City and made the trek to Des Moines to attend the fair.
There were three of them, two men and woman. I mentioned I was from Tulsa and one of the men said he knew a lot about Tulsa. He said he knew author Jim Stovall, who resides in Tulsa and has written a number of Christian-based books including, “The Ultimate Gift,” “The Ultimate Legacy,” “You Don’t Have to be Blind to See,” “The Executive Entrepreneur,” and much more. He also has several movies out.
This fellow said he was a cousin of Jim. He was talking about all he had done and the money he had given to the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
Stovall, who is blind, donated more than a million dollars to the ORU to create the Stovall Center for Entrepreneurship. According to the website, the vision of the Stovall Center for Entrepreneurship is three fold: to equip entrepreneurs through a blend of both theory and active engagement, to positively impact our city through social innovation projects and to empower change agents to transform communities all over the world.
It was nice to meet these folks and visit. We told them about our books and the lady gave us her email and asked us to send her some information about Debbie’s novels.
I leave you with this. You may not be able to donate a million dollars, but you can buy a neighbor or family in need a sack of groceries, volunteer at a community event or the local food or clothing pantry, mow someone’s yard or offer to give someone a ride to the doctor or to the store.
I encourage you to take time to say hello or share a good word with someone you meet. The world is full of people from all walks of life and some have a story to tell and some just need to hear a good word.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.