Nashville father and son: Goodwill is out there
Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2008 10:40 pm
By JOHN BRANNON
Messenger Staff Reporter
Having visited all 50 states — “57,000 miles in 11 months” — Scott Price and his son, Pat, both of Nashville, are visiting all 95 of Tennessee’s counties.
They were in Union City Tuesday for their Obion County visit. They were in Tiptonville Wednesday for their Lake County visit.
While in Union City, they met with Pat Thompson, director of the Obion County Public Library, and presented her with a complimentary copy of their book, “Looking for Good Will.” (Providence House Publishers, Franklin 2006)
Pat, 27, is wheelchair-bound, having been born Feb. 22, 1981, with spinabifida. The disabling condition is defined in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary as “a congenital cleft of the spinal column with hernial protrusion.”
“I can walk, but not very well,” he said.
Pat is a 1999 graduate of Lipscomb High School in Nashville and a 2003 graduate of Lipscomb University, where he majored in history. He characterized himself as community volunteer.
Scott, his father, is a lawyer and owner of a quarry.
Scott said they got the idea for the book from a simple cartoon by artist Joseph Farris. It depicts a man and his small son watching television. The son says, “Has there ever been good news?”
Scott said the cartoon hit him hard. “A young person, if all he or she has ever done is watch TV, might think the world is really grim,” he said. “But there are good people all around doing good things. Pat was ready to go to grad school, but I told him, ‘Before you do that, let’s take a year off and go visit every state in the union.’ And we did.”
From the trip they gleaned the material for the book. In fact, the book’s preface states, “There is good news every day — if you are looking for it.”
They formulated some ground rules: They would interview at least one person in each state, asking a fixed list of questions. They would give each person they interviewed a $10 bill and ask them to do something good with it.
The would tell the recipient, “We want you to help spread some goodwill. Use this $10 to do something good. Anything you choose. … Just send us a note telling how you decided to use it. We’d like to include that in the book, too.”
One of their questions was, “Who is the one person you’d like to meet?”
The most frequent answer? “Jesus. But after that, a family member, a loved one who has passed on,” Scott said.
Other questions included, “What is your favorite place in your state?” and “What’s the best thing about your town?” and “What’s the best decision you ever made?”
“We interviewed a wonderful man, Bob Spencer, at his home at Aurora, Neb.,” Scott said. “I asked him the question about his best decision. Well, he thought and thought. I made an entry in my notebook that I could hear the clock ticking. Just the sound of the clock on the wall ticking. Finally, he said, ‘Well, maybe I haven’t made it yet.’
“He’s the only person who answered that question that way. Most people say, ‘When I married my wife,’ or ‘Serving in World War II,’ something like that.”
The trips begins
The Prices began their 50-state odyssey on July 11, 2003, in Hodgenville, Ky., birthplace of the late President Abraham Lincoln.
From Scott’s notes, this entry:
“A temple-like shrine houses the crude log cabin in which one of America’s greatest presidents was born. Inside, we meet Jim Pankiewicz, the young U.S. Park Service employee on duty. This is our first interview and we are feeling our way along.”
Their next stop was in Wheelersburg, Ohio, on July 12, 2003, where they met “the dapper” Judge Dick Schisler, who presides over a municipal court with county-wide jurisdiction in Portsmouth, Ohio.
“The best thing about Portsmouth is the way people pull together in times of difficulty,” the judge told them.
Stop No. 3, although unplanned, was on July 13, 2003, in Maysville, Ky. There they met Joan Mineer. “We explain our search for goodwill. Joan is so friendly and cooperative; we feel as though she has been our friend for a long time,” Scott records in the book. Pat asked her, “Is there one who stands out for consistently doing good things?” Joan answers, “Oh, No. 1 would be my maternal grandmother, Myrtle.”
Stop No. 50 — also noted as “Trip No. 20” — was on June 6, 2004, in Denali, Alaska. “We sat with a friendly couple from Wisconsin who had traveled on seven continents to pursue bird watching,” Scott writes. “A handsome Indian couple joined us.”
“Our great adventure in doing the book was not about spinabifida, but there is a subtle message that we think a lot of people have seen, and that’s Pat’s spirit and determination,” Scott said.
The Prices have a Web site —www.lookingforgoodwill.com — that can be accessed to order a book.
“They sell for $30. We donate $20 to the spinabifida association based at Washington,” Scott said.