Ellis crosses China off ‘Bucket List’

Published 2:37 pm Friday, May 29, 2009

Frank C. “Butch” Ellis Jr. recently crossed off an important item on his “to do” list.

Ellis, a prominent Shelby County attorney, and his wife, Diane, recently returned from a three-week tour of China. True to his Shelby County roots, Diane snapped a photo of Ellis holding a copy of the Shelby County Reporter while standing on the Great Wall of China.

“We went to China because it was on my ‘Bucket List.’ It’s someplace I’ve always wanted to go,” Ellis said. “China and its culture will be so much a part of the future for our children and grandchildren, we wanted to visit it. However, we didn’t expect to have a good time. We had a great time.”

The Ellises traveled significantly within China, and were able to meet with a variety of people, including eating lunch with workers at a Chinese factory, talking with a teacher whose classroom was overtaken during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and visiting the homes of several Chinese families.

“We took five flights while inside of China,” he said. “People there pattern themselves after Americans. They extremely want to please American visitors.”

Ellis said he was impressed by the Chinese work ethic.

“They are extremely hard workers and workers do not tolerate others among them who are not hard workers. And, they have begun to reward those who produce more than other workers. One worker could be standing beside another who only made half as much as he did because he didn’t work as hard,” he said.

Ellis said Chinese citizens were eager to speak to them, practice their English while talking to them and ask questions about the American economy.

“I was impressed with how much the Chinese people liked Americans. I went out jogging while I was there and upon seeing this Caucasian man, they would come ride along beside me and talk to me. When we were walking the Great Wall, three students asked if they could walk with us and talk to us. They wanted to know about our economy and if it was going to collapse. They also asked if it’s a good time to get back into the stock market,” Ellis said.

He also noted that he and his wife were surprised by how much they enjoyed the food in China.

“We thought the Chinese food we would find there would be very different than the food we get here,” Ellis said. “We often eat at the China Yan, and we found that the food there is pretty similar to that at China Yan. We took a lot of snacks with us because we didn’t think we’d like the food, but we absolutely loved it.”

Next on Ellis’s Bucket List are trips closer to home — on to Alaska and another to the Grand Canyon.

Editor’s note: If you are vacationing this season, considering taking a copy of the Shelby County Reporter with you. Take a photo holding your community’s newspaper while at your vacation destination, email the photo and pertinent information to us and we’ll send you a Shelby County Reporter coffee mug. Email photos of your Shelby County Reporter on vacation to jan.griffey@shelbycountyreporter.com.