The Fords – Herb, top left – Shirley, bottom right.
This is a personal note that hasn’t much to do with Scouting but I think it’s important, so bear with me for a moment.
Let me introduce you to a couple of people I was thinking about this week.
Although I never met him I am told Herb was a pretty great guy, he was a postmaster, a Mason, a husband, the father of four daughters, and a grandfather,
Herb died in 1957 at the age of 62, two years before I was born.
Shirley was Herb’s daughter, and my mother. Of course it’s difficult to be objective about your mother, but Shirley was special to many, many people.
Shirley was 73 when she lost a long battle with cancer in 1998.
I was thinking about Herb and Shirley his past Tuesday as I was lying on a gurney, a little groggy from a sleepless night and a little frightened. The doctor stopped by before the procedure, “So you have some family history?” he asked.
A cheerful person rolled me into another room and asked (for about the fifth time that morning), “Why are you having a colonoscopy?”
“Mainly so my sister will stop bugging me,” I quipped in a weak attempt at humor, but it wasn’t far from the truth.
When I woke up later on I felt a little groggy, but fine. My wife came into the recovery area as I got dressed. The doctor came in to tell us how things went (Short story – I’m fine, but it was a good thing I was there).
Back to “family history”.
Herb and Shirley both died from colon cancer, something that’s pretty much avoidable now that we have the miracle.
If you haven’t hit fifty yet, I can tell you when you do you’ll hear more about the miracle; the war stories, the folklore, the jokes about “the procedure”. You won’t often hear it called a miracle, but it is.
I took the miracle for granted, I suppose most of us do.
Lying on that gurney, waiting, Herb and Shirley were on my mind. If they had been able to do what I was about to do who knows how their stories would have changed? How would have that changed my story or the stories of the many lives they touched?
We’ll never know.
What I do know is, because of the miracle, my story is changed, and that changes the story of at least one other person I introduced you to a few years back.
This is going to be a big year for her, she’ll be four years old, and get to be a big sister to her new little brother who is due in a couple of months.
So that’s what I wanted to say here, it’s a miracle. If you have some family history, if you are of a certain age, I won’t pester you about getting in gear and arranging for “the procedure”; that’s my sister’s specialty. (I am begrudgingly grateful for that, by the way, count yourself fortunate if you have someone like my sister pestering you).
Jim Green says
Amen! And the beauty of the miracle is that every cartoonish way you can imagine you’d meet your fate–be it the piano dropping from the sky while being moved, a 5000 lb dumbbell, or pounds of undigested chewing gum–each will become more likely than you ever succumbing to colon cancer…
Jeff Freeman says
Spot on. Don’t take life for granted. For me, every day is a blessing, and I need to remember it more. My grandfather, too, died of colon cancer at an early age of 65. My mother from a similar cancer passed at 53. Crude linear extrapolation tells me 41 is the number for my generation. I’d say don’t even wait until that magic age of 50 if your doctor will allow it. My when wife was pregnant with our daughter, the geneticist interviewing her for family history as part of routine prenatal care urged me to have “the miracle” and I was still in my late 30’s. It’s never to soon to check you are healthy.