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Lucy

Now that the kids are a little older, they can all wipe their own faces and brush their own teeth (mostly), some (with significant harassment) do their own laundry, and they can read their own bedtime stories, I have found a few minutes to read, too. I mean, like, for fun. Like, not journals or textbooks. I recently read JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy and Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America. I believe our family roots...

The Process

Following the invitation to our friends’ lake house for the weekend came one more text…”So glad you guys can come! The big meal is Sunday. But if you want to participate in the cook, y’all should head down on Saturday…” The boys throw on their old t-shirts, grab a cold drink, and head down to the outdoor kitchen. All. Day. The smoker and the grill and the barrel all get warmed up and stoked and prepared; the meat gets a...

Dear Memphis,

Dear Memphis, You are not that pretty. Actually, in some places you are kinda dirty. Your river is muddy, everybody thinks you are dangerous, and you are very expensive to fly to. You are famous for BBQ, the Blues, and a King who never really ruled anyone. You have a strange pyramid in the middle of your city, you have a sports team named for an animal that doesn’t live even remotely close to you, and you have a “island”...

Weary Soul

Yesterday, I came home from work a little early. I just simply could not. do. it. any. longer. Total exhaustion. I wandered around the house aimlessly, in a fog. While trying to get my younger boys ready for the Cub Scouts Pack meeting, I mumbled my words…or couldn’t find words altogether…they got lost somewhere in my head and I couldn’t get them out of my mouth. “C’mon boys! Put on the…you know…the thing. That…whatever it’s called…” I faded quickly at...

A Different Conversation

Last week, Allie, my 14-year-old daughter, and I went to the doctor together. Neither of us are sick. We are preparing to travel out of the country together, so we set up an appointment with a travel medicine physician, to be sure our immunizations are up to date and that we have our malaria prophylaxis covered. I handed the doctor the tattered stack of papers I have been carrying around since medical school, proving I have had my tetanus shots...

It Needs to Hurt a Little

The other week, I finally tackled the job of painting Scott’s office. He works from home now, so we agreed that setting up his office was priority #1 when we moved into this house. I decided on a paint color and blocked off a Sunday afternoon to sequester myself in his office and get it done. I have painted many, many rooms in our homes over the years. I have, what I think, is a pretty good system. Tape on the...

The Sacred Cookie

I’ve been making these chocolate chip cookies for 25 years. These cookies have traveled from my hometown of Troy, Ohio, to my alma mater, Miami University; to Clarksville, Hopkinsville, Villa Park, Chicago, Memphis, New Albany, Columbus, and Indianapolis; they have a connection to Jamaica and Lima, Peru. They have fed hungry tummies, lonely hearts, homeless souls and the sickest of the sick. They show up when the spirit and the stomach need nourishment. When I was in med school, exhausted and...

Password Protected

I have spent many hours this week on hold with several kind customer service representatives trying to help me hack back into my life. Sadly, about two weeks ago, while syncing my phone to my computer, I must have unknowingly checked some box that indicated that I didn’t want to transfer my apps from my phone to my computer…because why, when you are doing a backup, would you want to preserve all of the data from your phone to your computer?...

The Abundance of “No”

Across my desk, sat the Vice Chair of Surgical Education. She was debriefing with me after an observation of my interactions with the residents and students I have the honor of teaching and mentoring in my new job. She offered some kind and complimentary words followed by a few pieces of advice to make me a better teacher. The interaction was comfortable, but matter-of-fact and compulsory as part of my role as academic faculty. But just as she was getting...

Homework is for Parents

Last week, as I was sitting at my desk, mindlessly scrolling through FaceBook, I read that a former colleague, just three years older than me, met an untimely, rather sudden death, leaving behind a wife and two small children. Numb, tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe it. On call over the weekend, I admitted patients much younger than me and watched their grieving parents as I told them there was nothing left to do; I admitted patients much...