Former Governor Mike Huckabee may have been the unwitting spark that lit a grassfire throughout America by declaring August 1 as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” Huckabee, along with millions of other Americans believe that Dan Cathy, the President of Chickfil- A has the right to say what he believes about marriage, and suggested that Americans show their support by patronizing their local franchise. I’ll go one farther: the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects Mr. Cathy and his right to have an opinion on what constitutes marriage without any qualification whatsoever, and the lines around the block of cars and people spoke loudly that they agree.

Marriage has, from time immemorial, always been defined as either being between a man and his wife, or a man and his wives. It is inherently heterosexual, else there would be no life brought forth, and mankind would cease to exist. It doesn’t involve unions with kids, animals or objects. Does Mr. Cathy have the right to hold to his views, whether they be corporate or private, part of an address or just a sideways comment? He does, and the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco and Boston cannot interfere. People can disagree with Dan Cathy, should they choose to, and there are those who do.

If the President of the United States indicated back a few years ago that he believes marriage is between the sexes, and then changes his mind, as maddening as it is, the Constitution cannot step in and prevail against him. But when it comes to public policy, no mayor can say that a business is unwelcome because their CEO expressed an opinion with which the majority of Americans happen to agree. As Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day gathered steam, many wondered if the mainstream media would report on it or ignore it. At least the network affiliates in the Valley acknowledged what was going on, and has always been the case since the advent of social media, it is the citizen reporters and alternative media that have carried the day. What I found particularly remarkable was that there were reports of Wendy’s outlets that recommended that their customers, just for one day, go have lunch at Chick-fil-A. Perhaps the almighty dollar doesn’t have the power we have thought it has, and Americans actually have some spine.

In Athens, the Chick-fil-A store was packed, the drive thru wrapped around the building, the parking lot full, and cars were parked up both sides of the street. But what I enjoyed was the upbeat feeling that I encountered when I opened the door. People were patient and quietly celebratory. The staff was friendly, and if I hadn’t needed to put the paper to bed, I would have stood in line for as long as it took to get some tea. Hmm, perhaps Americans will now have a second Independence Day, to be celebrated each year on August 1st, where we’ll drink tea, eat chicken, and tell our progeny about the day when we shocked everyone, including ourselves, and defended the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Athens Now Information & Inspiration
256-468-9425 ali@athensnowonline.com
Website: www.athensnowonline.com

Dr. Stephen Covey, author of several books including The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, died on Monday, July 16th from complications from a bicycle accident. He was 79 years old, in great physical shape, and yes, he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

His family, which is reminiscent of the tribes of old, was present at his side, and he died surrounded by love. The man was happily married, had nine kids, and 50 grandkids! But what made him so special was that he was just a regular guy, a smart one, to be sure, but someone who used to go riding small motorcycles through the pineapple fields of Hawaii with his wife hanging on for dear life right behind him. Last year his son Sean spoke to local teachers at a conference held at Athens State University, and I had the privilege of hearing him.

Stephen spent years researching the lives of people whom he wouldn’t refer to as successful, necessarily, because too often success is associated with money. Rather, he referred to them as “highly effective.” He was all about possessing and developing integrity, as well as the power of the internal, unseen victory that he believed always preceded the outward public one. Ideas like writing a personal or corporate mission statement, which are a standard in most business cultures today were revolutionary back when they were introduced by Covey in the late ‘80s.

His books sold by the millions, were translated into myriad languages, and he travelled the globe until just a few years ago to spread his message. So, what was his message? That essentially a well run life was one that was built upon the following seven habits:

  • Be Proactive-Take responsibility for your life and actions, refuse to be a victim, and plan ahead.
  • Begin with the end in mind-Take the time to become very clear about who it is that you want to be and what you want to do.
  • Put first things first- Plan your week and life based on importance rather than urgency.
  • Think Win Win- Don’t settle for solutions in home or business that don’t benefit everyone.
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  • Synergize-Understand that a team accomplishes far more than an individual.
  • Sharpen the Saw- Live with the concept that if you are going to be effective, you must take time to “recharge your batteries” through recreation, creativity and spiritual renewal.

So effective and practical was his approach that our local schools are now using the Seven Habits for kids, and last year I saw their effect in action. On more than one occasion I wrote about how they impressed me, and gave me hope for the future of our kids.
By any stretch, Dr. Stephen Covey was a highly effective person, and he will be missed. I, for one, am glad I came to “know” him, if only through his work, and will spend the rest of my life making the Seven Habits my own.

Ali Elizabeth Turner
Athens Now
Information & Inspiration
256-468-9425
Ali@AthensNowAl.Com
Website: WWW.AthensNowAl.Com

I am just home from having made a difficult, but most memorable trip to Seattle. My sisters and I cleaned out the apartment of my mother who is struggling with Alzheimer’s, and got her settled in assisted living. It is indeed the beginning of “the long goodbye,” and it has been a good while since I have had such a tough week. But while it might be tempting to “kvetch,” (i.e. “fuss” in Yiddish,”) what I was struck by during my time in Seattle was the kindness of strangers.

First there were the staff members at the care facility. They hailed from all over: Ethiopia, the Philippines, India, and the States, and their tender care of my mom helped me to relax. I knew she was in good hands. Then there was the crew who manned the front desk. They were the cheerleaders who treated each victory at getting one more piece of furniture moved and squared away like a touchdown at a ‘bama/Auburn football game. They even bent the rules a bit and allowed my son and me to move some pieces through the lobby out into his waiting truck, rather than use the freight elevator and go out through the parking garage.

There came one day, though, down toward the end of the week where I “hit the wall,” as they say. My heart was breaking over having to watch my mom say goodbye to so many of her treasures because there simply was no room for them in her new location. Nerves were frayed, muscles were tired, tempers were short, and I needed a moment to “leave and grieve.”

The facility, one of the finest in Seattle, was undergoing extensive remodeling, which is always a nightmare. I found what I thought was nearly a secret passage where I figured I could let my tears flow without disturbing anyone, and wouldn’t you know it, I was discovered by the Director of Sales for the whole shootin’ match.

“Are you alright?” she asked. I managed to croak out an “I will be.” She intently listened to my brief description of what was going on, and said the simplest thing: “This is very hard, what you and your family are going through.” All I could do was nod in agreement. And then she, a complete stranger, showed me kindness that gave me the strength and space to settle down and go get back into the fray.

“Here,” she said, “Come into my office. I am going to be away for about 15 minutes, and you can have it all to yourself.” I let her lead me almost like a little child into my newfound “sanctuary,” and she closed the door and left. There I wailed and prayed. I thought of the cautionary tales all around me I was observing, and became more determined than ever to get my own life in order. I thought of the fact that at the age of 92, my mom’s days are limited, and how much I wanted to build the last part of my relationship with her on this earth. I wondered whether her mind would allow it.

Now, while Peggy, the Director of Sales probably has encountered someone in my temporary emotional state on several occasions, I am sure there is no place stated in the facility’s policy manual that she be required to let me use her office to have a come apart.( Hence, the subtitle of this Publisher’s Point: The Kindness Of Strangers.) While I intend to do my best to tell her what a difference her dear gesture
made to me in that hour of great need, I don’t think Peggy will ever know on this side that her spontaneous kindness gave me what I needed to get through a uniquely rough spot, regain my strength, and get back to my post. She made me want to “pay it forward,” and by God’s grace, I will.


Ali Elizabeth Turner
Athens Now
Information & Inspiration
256-468-9425
ali@athensnowal.com
Website: www.athensnowonal.com

I don’t think that anyone could have predicted that one of the most serious assaults on our freedoms would come in the form of trying to control things that have never, ever been considered the purview of the Government homemade food and drink.

Imagine for a moment that you have been taken back in time to the summer when you were 6 or 7, and you are wanting to make some money to save up for a BB gun, or if you are as old as I am, a Davy Crockett coonskin cap. What do you do? Set up a lemonade nor Kool- Aid stand on the top of a wooden crate, set it up on the curb and don’t charge more than 5 cents. Because most folks think you are cute, and they want to be a part of the “village raising the child,” and desire to see to it that you have your first foray into the free market, they’ll pull over, pay you the nickel, buy the lemonade, and make a point of telling you how delicious is your fare.

It is a rite of passage, like going to summer camp, or going to your grandparents, or building your first go-kart. Except now, in many states, even if you are on your own property, you need to have a license to sell lemonade! All of this, of course is “to protect us,” because who knows if the kid has just laced it with cyanide, and we as citizens can’t figure out this stuff on our own, nor dare take the risk of drinking it.

I appreciate the fact that we have regulatory agencies that are looking out for us. My grandfather actually worked in an Armor meat-packing plant in the early part of the 20th century where acid was used to remove the hides of the animals and protective gloves were not a part of the equation. People were so desperate to work that they literally worked their fingers down to a nub. Such horrible working conditions were made public by muckraker authors such as Upton Sinclair, whose whistle blowing journalistic work definitely improved our national quality of life.

But seriously, does it make any sense to require an entrepreneurial child to conform to the constructs of an agency that was designed to monitor the actions of a corporation? Let’s take this a step further, and say that food or drink has been purchased in a licensed outlet. Is it reasonable to have it become illegal in New York to purchase more than 32 oz of Coca-Cola at once? And, more importantly, who is going to police one’s choices or infractions?

Can you imagine getting pulled over and given a ticket for drinking too much soda, or eating trans fat or red meat? Don’t think it is that far out of the realm of possibility, my friends. But do remember this: if you allow others to regulate your personal choices, you will indeed lose your freedoms one cup of lemonade at a time.

Ali Elizabeth Turner
Publisher’s Point
Athens Now Information & Inspiration
256-468-9425
Ali@AthensNowAl.Com
Website: AthensNowAl.Com