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Stella Virginia

The lovely Laura Lee has often told me how her grandfather kept a journal every day of his life. One of the more interesting results was that his grandchildren could always go back and read what he wrote on the day of their birth. Wanting to provide a similar experience for my own descendants, herewith is a journal entry written on the birth of my first grandchild, Stella Virginia Samford.

We received a call from my son Daniel at around 5 am this morning reporting that he and his wife Emily had been at St. Vincent’s hospital since around 1 am. He reported that Emily was having contractions about six minutes apart but that her water had not yet broken. He called back about 6:30 am to report that they had been moved into room 342, that he was going to nap, and he would call with any news. I spoke back with him around 10 am and there was little change except that Emily had been given an Epidural and was feeling much better.

And what is going on in the world that young Stella might want to read about some day?

The U.S. is still bogged down in its war in Iraq. What was supposed to be an invasion to get rid of a leader who had weapons of mass destruction has turned into a prolonged occupation to prevent the various factions there from killing each other, all after finding there were no weapons after all. Today, finally, the U.S. is engaged in talks for a planned withdrawal of troops over the next few years. Perhaps we will get out someday, but the loss of life and treasure has been enormous.

The economy in the U.S. is in worse condition than I have seen it in my lifetime. We have experienced a perfect financial storm as a housing bubble ended, properties declined in value, mortgage delinquencies increased, and billions or perhaps trillions of dollars invested in mortgage pools have been lost, all of which has led to tight credit, making housing prices decline further, etc. Add to this inflation, driven by a global boom in commodity prices, and the outlook really becomes bleak. All forecasts call for a few more years of chaos before housing prices and mortgage lending stabilize.

There is a presidential election coming up in November. Barack Obama will be the nominee for the Democratic Party while John McCain will be the Republican nominee. The Democratic convention starts next week followed by the Republican convention. Both candidates are furiously attacking each other over irrelevant things and promising that the government can fix everything wrong in the world. It all leads one to wonder, as Lincoln did, whether this nation can long endure?

The weather here in Birmingham has been typically hot and humid during August, although we seem to have had fewer severe heat days than usual. Today, there is a tropical storm named “Fay” that has come up Florida, gone out slightly into the Atlantic, and come back ashore near Jacksonville. It is now headed west across north Florida. It should bring us some rain later in the weekend but for now it has created a slight northerly wind here giving us a cooler and drier day than usual. It is a perfect day for Stella to come into the world.

Stella’s mother and dad, Daniel and Emily, are going to be great parents. Emily works as a real estate agent while Daniel is a young entrepreneur owning Samford Properties (commercial real estate), Green (landscaping), and a part of Coldwell Banker Red Mountain Realty, the firm where Emily works. And of course Stella will be overwhelmed with doting aunts and uncles, two grandfathers, and three grandmothers. We can hardly wait to spoil her.

Just after noon, Laura Lee and I headed down to the hospital to see what was going on. Of course there was a huge crowd there of Emily and Daniel’s immediate families and a number of Emily’s good friends. Stella was born at 2:16 pm and is perfect in every way. She weighed 7 lbs. and was 20.5 inches long. She has a good head of dark hair and the full complement of 10 fingers and 10 toes. I got to hold her as did everyone else. The poor little girl was passed around the room like a football. Her Aunt Suzanne is on the way to Birmingham to see her and her Aunt Laura will be in next weekend to see her as well.

As we left the hospital, Emily was trying to recover from the experience while Daniel was on cloud nine…high as a kite. I’m happy for them, and for Laura Lee and me as we embark on this new experience of being grandparents.

Here’s to you Stella. Welcome to the world. I hope you read this someday and get a kick out of knowing what was going on the day you came into the world.

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