(Originally published August 4, 2011; edited and republished August 27, 2020)
It all started because the highfalutin Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Clayton, Missouri, a well-heeled inner-ring suburb of St. Louis, didn’t have any Diet Coke in the house.
Hard to believe, I know, but true. All they had was Pepsi. I’m a Southern man, and I don’t cotton well to Yankee pop (HQ in NY), its North Carolina roots notwithstanding. I blame my mama. She filled my baby bottle with original Coke so she could get some precious sleep (pretty sure she didn’t read Dr. Spock).
It worked. She caught some Zs, and I caught an addiction and a mouthful of cavities.… Read the rest
i’ve been in guatemala. i saw around 100 patients and my partner did about 50 eye surgeries. our ortho guy who went with us did a lot of great stuff too. “the lame walked and the blind saw.” it was a great week, until. . . .
we finished up and went for an expedition in the rainforest. it was very primeval, just like avatar, only the people were coffee-brown, not blue, and they didn’t have those long, braid thingies hanging down.
the little children wore loincloths and performed perfect-10 swan dives into the river off a large rock of ages.… Read the rest
A former college professor of mine at Harding, Dr. Joe Pryor, was famous for his bow ties and his nerdy (and charming) way of saying things.
Whenever it snowed or iced in Searcy, Arkansas and the sidewalks around campus grew slick, he would stand behind the podium during chapel and declare, in his best Ben Stein “Ferris Beuller” economics teacher monotone, “Be careful walking around campus today; the coefficient of friction is extremely low.”
I thought of him last Sunday when the coefficient of friction on the roads near my birthplace in southwest Virginia suddenly dropped to near zero. It started snowing that morning, not hard, but enough to capture the attention of my sister’s two curious cats, Twinky and Zinger, who sat on their haunches and stared out the patio window watching the flakes fall.… Read the rest
Robert Rex Meyers was born in 1923 and raised by loving and devout parents on a three hundred acre farm in the eastern hills of Oklahoma near Henrietta. From an early age, he would rise early in the morning and plow the land, sowing seeds in the rich, moist earth in much the same way he would later plant ideas in the fertile minds of eager students. He studied the Bible and was baptized by a traveling black evangelist named R.N. Hogan in a small, fundamentalist Church of Christ, but it was his full-bodied immersion in the deep waters of natural revelation, the whisper of God in the rustling of wind-kissed leaves and the fragrant incense of meadow grass, that would eventually set his heart aflame.… Read the rest
Those were the words that Steve Jobs, CEO and creative backbone of Apple, passed on to the graduating class at Stanford University a few years ago.
After hearing of his death last night, I watched that commencement address and those particular words stuck. I went to bed thinking about them, and they were the first words on my mind when I awoke this morning. I’ll take that as a sign that I should write about them.
Asheville, North Carolina and Seattle are on opposite sides of the country, but they share an unusual passion worthy of mention, even praise–pig statuary.
It was about this time last year that I spotted a memorial to an Unknown Pig in downtown Asheville on my way to the Duke v. Alabama game. That encounter launched a bacony reverie that stirred up enough favorable ju-ju for a stunning, 4th quarter come-from-behind victory for the Tide over the the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville the next week.
Fortunately, nobody had rescinded my diploma. Neither had I landed in one of those fish-out-of-water, “impotence” dreams where the hapless, middle-age man, who has long since forgotten the difference between a sine and cosine, is thrown into an advanced geometry class full of National Merit Scholars.
It was another morning at Clinica Ezell in Montellano, Guatemala, and another case of mistaken identity.
There had been a lot of that going around that week. Since I was doing all the preoperative exams, I had spent the most time with the patients. Many of them thought I was the Big Tamale, the Chief Gringo–The Top Gun. Once they were sedated and lying under the operating microscope waiting for their cataracts to be removed, Dr. C was merely the Upside-Down Man behind the mask.
In reality I was Goose to Dr. C’s Maverick, monitoring a million different things and make sure young Mav was constantly exposed to a “target-rich environment.”… Read the rest
It is approximately 1,436 miles as the plane flies from Huntsville, Alabama to Clinica Ezell in Guatemala, but “Señor Gruñon” was making me feel right at home.
I had once again traveled the road to Montellano, Guatemala to participate in an eye surgery medical mission (Code name: “Operación de Ojos Claros) in conjunction with health professionals representing Health Talents International and a team of students from Lipscomb University, the University of Alabama and the University of West Florida.
I was scooting across the poorly-lit, humid waiting room on a stool which reminded me of a shopping cart with one, misdirected rogue wheel and browsing for the biggest, ripest cataracts in all the land, the kind that literally block out the sun like a noonday eclipse.… Read the rest
“Name them one by one,” the song says. So here goes:
1. I’m running, not far or fast, but pain-free for the first time in quite a while. I’ve shifted my foot strike from my heel, which is where it’s been since fourth grade, to my forefoot. “Barefooting” as it’s sometimes called. I don’t exactly run barefoot on asphalt (ouch!), but I do use a “minimalist” training shoe, the Nike Free. This is supposed to be more “natural,” the way you were meant to run back in the day when your survival meant eluding a predator such as a saber-toothed tiger or that annoying herd of mastodons that lived over in the next valley.… Read the rest
In the end, there was no “Rammer Jammer,” only a circle of prayer.
Such was the scene at the fifty yard line in the middle of the field of battle surrounded by the towering expanse of Bryant Denny, the Temple of All Things Tide. Crimson clad warriors kneeling with maroon and white gladiators, shoulder-to-shoulder, gloved hand-in-gloved hand, pausing to grieve over and remember one of their own who had fallen, a victim caught up and devoured in the cruel maw of contingency and circumstance.
If there was one thing that world of college football needed after the 24/7 melodrama of Cecil and Cam Newton it was perspective.… Read the rest
The Purveyor eyed me warily as I walked into his shop, located on a charming, picturesque side street just off of Main in historic downtown Lexington, Virginia. I apparently didn’t strike him as fellow traveler on the wine tasting circuit. Perhaps his nose was finely attuned to sniffing out “Who’s Who” in the world of high-brow alcoholic beverages.
Maybe he simply smelled the moonshine in my blood.
“So, which of the Villa Appalaccia wines do you like best?” I asked him. Eyegal and I had veered off the beaten path coming up from Alabama for my 30th high school reunion and driven down to Meadows of Dan.… Read the rest
All day long I dream of sausage (and BACON!!). I just can’t help it.
It started last Friday on the drive from Huntsville to Durham, North Carolina where we witnessed a Man (as in Saban)-made disaster: a towering tsunami sweeping over and flooding the horseshoe-shaped bowl of Wallace Wade Stadium, turning it into a mini-Bryant Denny for a day and coloring it all houndstooth and crimson.
I should have been focusing on the game at hand, but I couldn’t avoid looking ahead after I spied those bronze memorials of a mama pig and her little piglets in the plaza in downtown Asheville.… Read the rest
I was finishing up my charting on the last patient of the day last Friday afternoon when DU, a friend from Harding and a longtime blog reader and commenter, left me a message: “Eyeguy, call me when you have a minute. Thanks. RTR!”
DU is a Bama man, born and bred, and I could tell by the excitement in his voice that college football fever was eating up his bones. I’m a relative late-comer to the party, but after reading Warren St. John’s Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, the fundamentalist bible of fanatical Bama fandom, a few years ago, I repented of my childhood allegiances to Virginia Tech and Notre Dame and was washed beneath the Crimson Flood.… Read the rest