This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA the week of 7/6/2015.

Over the years I have introduced to the readers of this paper people that I had the good fortune to have worked with while living outside the United States. These individuals for the most part had a unique spirit of adventure that allowed them to leave America and relocate to a foreign country. Many had been dissuaded to go due to misunderstood perceptions of what Arabia had in store for the expatriate community. Some that went to Arabia discovered that it was not for them. There was a story of a teacher that walked out of the chartered plane in the middle of summer, looked around and re-boarded the plane and went back to America. Some lasted a year or two but eventually realized that the expatriate life style was not for them. For the most part the Americans did stay.
While living in Arabia in the late eighties through the mid-nineties the primary sport for the men and women living there was softball. Some men would play as many as 120 games a year. The sport had two seasons and covered seven months of the year. In addition to softball for the adults, Aramco had a pretty good Little League Program. It got off the ground in the early 80s and over the years Saudi Arabian All Star Teams dominated the European Little League Tournament and the teams were regulars to the Little League World Series in Williamsport. When a father loved the game on the diamond and he had an opportunity to compete well beyond what many considered the normal playing years in America and then would go home to a wide eyed child holding a ball and glove and be a part of this child’s life, a child is going to receive a remarkable gift.
Mike Robinette was working for a contractor in the early 80s. Lynne Addey was a British secretary working for Aramco in Dhahran. Lynne and Mike met at a party and began dating. Mike was in his early 30s and loved softball for the sake of the sport. He eventually was hired by Aramco and was an integral part of the company’s communication department. He also joined the Dhahran Clippers softball team and eventually Mike and Lynne were married and had a daughter and a son. Mike and Lynne were good parents and Mike would bring his young son to the softball tournaments in Dubai and the other tournament games being played around Arabia. He was a good father and a good employee and retired from the company only a couple of years ago. He also spent endless father and son hours on the Little League diamonds of Aramco. He was truly a good father.
Jim Wilson came to Aramco as a petroleum geologist on loan from one to the four American oil companies that owned Aramco before being purchased by Saudi Arabia. Jim was an outstanding football player in one of the division two schools in Kentucky and went on to play on a taxi squad with a pro football team. After a year he realized his future was not in football but in oil and gas. He was very focused and had enormous drive. Jim received a masters and eventually landed in Arabia with his wife Ann. Ann was also a good athlete and joined the Dhahran women’s softball team while Jim became a force to reckon with at third base for men’s team. Eventually Jim would also join the Clippers and his fiery red hair displayed his personality on the field. Eventually Ann gave birth to their son Alex and he was raised by a loving father that enjoyed supporting and encouraging him with his athletic endeavors. Jim and his family left Arabia in the mid-eighties and I had lost touch with him and his family, however his legacy at third base lived long after his departure.
Two fathers, working for the same company and sharing the same passion for a sport and family values were certain to leave a positive mark on their children. At a time when 40% of American children are born to a single parent, the role of the family unit has never been more important to our nation.
The story of the two fathers did not end with the departure of the families from Arabia and the rewards given to loving parents are apparent.
I had heard that Mike Robinette’s son had been accepted to West Point and would play baseball. A double honor. Then last spring I read that in the last few games of the last season, Alex Robinette not only pitched a no-hitter but also broke the Academy’s strikeout record with 21 strike outs. He has recently reported to Tampa and the Rookie League. Then a week later I heard that Alex Wilson had eventually gone to Texas A&M and was drafted in the ninth round of the baseball draft during his junior season. He declined, finished his senior season and went to the pros in the second round. He is currently pitching for Pittsburg.
Quit a legacy to the love of a father and shows what the effects a strong family unit has on the youth of our country.

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