The Star of Alabama

The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares his experience at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast in Huntsville, Alabama.

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Whew, that was close. I almost didn’t make it through security here at the airport in Huntsville, Alabama, for my flight back to New York. The X-ray machine detected a mysterious item in my carry-on and I was singled out for further screening. It’s all cleared up now, though. 

I was in Huntsville—The Star of Alabama, as the city is proudly known—to speak at a prayer breakfast sponsored by the Kiwanis Club for the National Day of Prayer. I’m not sure I would be the person I would ask to speak at such an event; I’ve always wished I could learn to pray better than I do.

Most people understand prayer more than I. But I was glad to talk about the pivotal part prayer plays in the lives of Guideposts readers. You are prayin’ folks for sure. 

Besides, everyone can use a good dose of Southern hospitality every now and again, and I certainly needed mine. My trip was arranged by old Huntsville friends Lou and Carolyn Brown and their CANDL Foundation, with extra hospitality thrown in by their son, Steve and his wife, Allison. The Brown family are long supporters of the Peale Center and Guideposts. I’d fly down and speak at a backyard barbecue, if they asked me. 

The event this morning was held at the Civic Center and I sat on the dais with a mix of politicians and ministers. I was surprised and pleased to see that my nameplate read “Dr. Edward Grinnan.” 

Mayor Battle had a few gifts he wanted to present me with during his introduction. The sweetest one was some bling for Millie—a dog tag inscribed “Millie Jo, Star of Alabama.” MJ’s actually from Florida but she doesn’t mind.

“Julee must be a very patient wife,” said the mayor, “to let you write more about Millie than you do about her.”

“No,” I protested, “Julee wants me to write about Millie ALL the time.”

When it came time to speak I thanked them first for so unexpectantly conferring an honorary doctorate on me, and everyone laughed at the gaffe. I read the introduction of my new book on personal change so they could understand what Guideposts magazine had done for me, how a year turned into a career and my life utterly changed.

Sooner than I thought, the event was over, though I stayed for a while signing people’s Guideposts. Which almost made me too late to catch this plane home.

But I made it. I’m on. And now they are telling us to power down all electronic devices. Wait! Don’t you want to know what almost got me waylaid at security?

The ornate Key to the City of Huntsville, Star of Alabama. I’ll cherish it forever.

P.S. For a look at the local coverage, click here.

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