Patience is a virtue

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Patience was the theme of a column I wrote in 2008. I tried to illustrate how some of my friends, family and acquaintances exhibited patience in their trades, hobbies and professions.

I wrote about Cary Powell and Ed Mason and their wives who displayed a lot of patience as they fished on the St. Johns River not too far from Jacksonville, Fla. They made that fishing trip just about every year and they always brought home “big catches.”

Ray Chambliss, a childhood friend who was extremely talented as an artist used patience in his adult life developing a unique “lettering” business. Yes, that’s what he did for his successful livelihood. He lettered (painted) wording and logos on most of Mobile’s fire trucks and other commercial vehicles. His talent was in such demand that he never lacked for business. Ray told me one time that he would get on the cab, lean over and actually letter the words backwards. That, indeed, is real talent.

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C. Williams, former Atmore postmaster, because of his patience, mastered a unique left-handed golf swing, which allowed him to hit a gold ball swinging from the left or right. They call that ambidexterity. The amazing thing about his talents is the fact he won so many local and area golf tournaments and had the trophies to show for it.

Mr. Eddie Staff, Willard Hicks and Willie Ramer displayed unbelievable patience as they worked in their respective woodworking workshops turning out professional furniture and related wood objects. I still have the comfortable swing and related porch furniture crafted by Mr. Staff.

James Norris, who builds colorful and crafty wood Christmas yard scenes including Santa, reindeer and sleighs, must use patience and expertise. Engaging in a hobby that he thoroughly enjoys, hardly a year goes by that he does not get orders from families wanting him to build displays for their yards.

And, then there are those ladies up in Gees Bend who became world famous for sewing those colorful quilts. They told a television reporter during a national broadcast how patience is required in making these beautiful quilts.

My son Mark used patience when he made a four-wheel bike-car using PVC pipe. (There is absolutely no doubt that his patience comes from his mother). You can see his bike-car in our local Christmas parade.

Mr. Ralph Johnson, who lived on the Phillipsville highway south of Perdido patiently constructed miniature trains, tracks and depots for many years prior to his death. His works were displayed at our spring and fall festivals.

Maybe Romans 8 verse 25 could give us a much better definition for patience.

Having said all this I learned about another act of patience last week when I stopped for a sandwich at a quick food restaurant on Hwy. 59 in south Baldwin County.

As I waited in line a lady in front of me turned and asked if I had received a claim check from BP. I told her I had not filed a claim since I was not from the oil spill area. She said, “I want you to know I have just about used up my patience because I have not received one dime from BP.” She further stated “some of my friends have already received their checks and they filed their claims after I did.” She related, “you know those friends should not be entitled to any BP money because their businesses were failing before all that oil spilled down here”. She said, “all they want is some free money”. She added, “everybody is blaming the whole process, I guess the next thing we will hear is let’s blame George Bush.”

As I drove off I began to think about what she had told me. I wondered if all claims were, indeed, legitimate.

Perhaps, Kenneth Feinberg, who is the claims administrator, is actually doing his job the way it should be done. It would appear that his staff is documenting those losses to make sure only those who qualify receive funds. And, there could be many who really do not qualify. I do know that Alabama has submitted about three times more claims than Mississippi and Florida. Feinberg, however, should actually go out of his way to expedite payments to those whose documentation warrant financial recovery.

This claims process reminds me of my 30 years of claims work. I experienced numerous claimants who wanted “all they could get” from their losses. And, I explained to them documentation from previous losses must be submitted before current losses could be settled. Of course, most claimants did not fall into this category. They were kind, understanding and most of all, they had patience.

With the hurricane season coming to an end as we know it, Joe Bacardi has predicted two or three more tropical disturbances forming in the western Caribbean or lower Gulf of Mexico. He says weather conditions will remain favorable for 10 more days allowing these storms to track towards the north and northeast. Bacardi, who is Accuweather’s most accurate meteorologist, feels oncoming cold fronts will stall below us and draw heavy rains into south Florida and possibly up the east coast. He says a tropical storm or hurricane could possibly develop from these atmospherically induced flare-ups.

He describes these storms somewhat akin to the storms that come off the western coast of Africa, one storm occurring after another. He said it was unusual for storms like this to ‘train” (continuous rain in one location) from the Caribbean.

Fox News often uses Accuweather and Joe’s expertise when presenting some tropical and severe weather news. Fox apparently thinks they are tops in tropical and severe weather news. I certainly do. By the way, Accuweather hired some of the good weather reporters after they left the Weather Channel following NBC’s involvement with that station. It didn’t take long for TWC to change their format into what I consider now a very liberal format.

Next week I will try to get back to some news from the year 1966.

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

This week Lowell's column talks about oil drilling.|File Photo