A surreal week of firsts
Published 12:34 am Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Having been in the newspaper business for over ten and a half years, I find it quite odd to be facing so many "firsts" in so few days. Some "firsts" I have experienced in the past would be the birth of my first child, Forest, the birth of my first girl, Emerald. My first job in the newspaper business at the University of Georgia's Red &Black. And, my first job as Advertising Director in Alexander City, Alabama at The Outlook newspaper.
When I interviewed for the job of Publisher for The Atmore Advance, I began a surreal journey of firsts. I was offered the job that day and had to be here in Atmore the next. My first drive with my new boss and mentor, Michele Gerlach, down Main Street was one of excitement and anticipation. As we drove into town, I saw my first glimpse of what a powerful and relentless hurricane can do. Ivan spared no one the necessity for blue tarps and tree-stump removal. My first drive over to the local country club made me want to get my golf clubs and grab a cart. They have done a fantastic job restoring the course in such little time. I also enjoyed my first introduction to Mayor Shell as we lunched at McElhaney's. My first meal there was wonderful and I'll be going there again. Michele and I made my first "rounds" in town and I met several of the Atmore business people. They are a part of the glue that keeps this community going and I look forward to meeting more of you.
My first experience of trying to find a place to live in a town where housing is a commodity, has taught me patience and understanding for all of the people of Atmore. Debbie has been great to work with and no doubt will find my family and me a place to call home. I had my first visit from my family who lives in Crestview, Florida and we all had our first lunch at David's Catfish House. Fabulous food at David's and we all agreed, worth going back. I attended my first city council meeting and was warmly welcomed by all. My first Rotary meeting offered me the opportunity to visit with more Atmore business people, and a fine lunch from the Atmore Community Hospital was had by all.
In my few days of firsts here in Atmore, Alabama, I have been greeted by this community with an overwhelming welcome. Such warmth and inviting doesn't always come easily, but in this small town, I think it does. As I look back on all of the firsts I have experienced here in Atmore, I can only wonder how many times I will do these things again and again. Just like the first tree you plant, it will grow its first branch, its first leaf and begin to grow deep roots. I hope to grow deep roots here in this community that embraces newcomers so warmly and helps them grow. I know my family and I will do well here.
Krichelle Halualani is the publisher of the Atmore Advance.