As the Ole Seagull sat down to write a column this morning it hit him. At this stage of his life, with the remaining time he has left to write, he’d much rather be investing the effort and time it takes to write this column each week into writing something that would share what Branson has to offer with the world. Too, this week, as he celebrated his 70th birthday, he was reminded of the biblical passage, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Although perhaps not soon enough for some, the Ole Seagull’s “appointed time” as a weekly columnist ends with this column.
To the best of his ability he has tried to ensure that his columns were not about the “columnist” or whether people agreed or disagreed with what he wrote. What mattered was that he had done his best to express honest opinions and make sure that each column contained the basis upon which those opinions were based.
The last question an Ole Seagull would like to answer, is the one he has been asked the most over the years because, to him, it represents the spirit with which he wrote his columns. That question was, “How did you come up with the name the ‘Ole Seagull?’”
“The Ole Seagull” evolved from a speech given by Jim King, past National Transportation Safety Board Chairman, during the Carter administration. At a presentation given at the FAA Center in Oklahoma City, Jim characterized his position within the political hierarchy of the day as that of, “a lowly seagull walking along after the horse in the parade picking at the droppings.” Even as it gave Jim perspective at that time so too did it keep the Ole Seagull’s roll in perspective as he wrote each column.
In terms of what the Ole Seagull wrote and how he wrote it he would use a slight paraphrase of the words of Abraham Lincoln who said, “I did the very best I knew how – the very best I could; and I did so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
After hundreds of opinions expressed in columns over the years, he would like to take this opportunity to share one final opinion. In terms of personal success and happiness fill your mind with “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things ( Philippians 4:7-9.)
He would thank the publisher, editor and staff of the Branson Daily Independent for their faithful support over the years; the love of his life, his wife Lois, for her editing, advice, encouragement and love and those who took the time to read the opinions of “a lowly ole seagull.” Thank you and Godspeed.