Monday, June 10, 2013
I met Francis shortly after arriving on the island. It was hard to miss him! He was a frequent participant in various island activities. I remember spending time with him after a memorial service I had conducted for another Sanibel pillar. He had story after story to tell about his days on Sanibel! History captured in biography!
Some will laud his dedication to the island, and his long history of government service here, including a stint as mayor. Others will highlight how he was among those who fought for the incorporation of Sanibel in order to protect it from becoming overdeveloped.. Still others will talk of his work with the family business, the Sanibel Packing Company and the renowned Bailey's General Store (where you really can buy nails, nuts and knives!) But in many ways his greatest contribution to the island over the years, has been the way he has embodied our history. His storytelling was and is legendary. And in many ways helped to keep us connected to the real Sanibel.
In a lengthy story about Francis in his college newsletter (he attended Hampden-Sydney College) Francis spoke of the days before our island was connected to the mainland by the Causeway. "We had no paved roads," he said, "no sidewalks, no furniture store, no barber, no beauty shop, no movie theater. It was just here. Nobody felt deprived. That's what we had." (Quoted by John Dudley in "Francis Bailey's Wonderful Life," The Record, March 2012)
We've got all those other things now. And much more besides. But the reality is, we still have this island--so much of it preserved and protected--thanks to folks like Francis Bailey. Folks who understood that "just being here" was and is a gift in iteslf.
(Photo Credit: Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation)
Monday, June 3, 2013
So imagine my surprise when I heard this venerable breakfast cereal was under attack! I should have seen it coming. I shouldn't be surprised. But it is 2013, isn't it?
In case you've missed it, Cheerios has a very delightful and sweet ad running right now about a little girl who asks her mother if it is true Cheerios are good for your heart, and then, when she is told yes they are, she scatters them all over her sleeping father's chest. So what, you ask is the controversy? Has someone determined the heart claims are all a big hoax? Not at all. The problem, according to some folks, boils down to race. The Dad is black, the mother is white, and the little girl is biracial.
Like I said, it is 2013, isn't it? But there are still folks out there who are upset by such a public display of racial equality. That a black man would marry a white woman, horrors, such folks say, horrors! Apparently the attacks against Cheerios on their website got so virulent, so nasty, that they took it offline. But they haven't taken the ad off the air. Bravo! It is good to see a major corporation stand on principle!
My kids are all grown now--and the grandkids are past the Cheerios stage. But I may just go out and
buy a box or two to show my support. It will be good for my heart--just like the ad!