I grew up on a farm in northeastern Kentucky. By monetary standards I grew up in poverty, but I did not feel poor. I loved the extra stars in the night sky away from street lights. I loved growing vegetables before organic vegetables were even conceived. I learned to appreciate the quiet, natural beauty, and the wonders of creation. I was blessed with loving parents and one brother, with whom I was never competitive. He was the athlete; I was the student. It was my mother’s dream that both of her children would finish college, which we did though she had no idea how we would pay for it. I was fortunate to receive one of the first David Longnecker scholarships to pursue a career in a health-related field. With that I became a pre-med student at the University of Kentucky. After college I was further blessed with a scholarship to the University of Kentucky medical school provided by the New York Life Insurance Company.
I moved to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky at age seventeen. After completing medical school and residency I practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology for twenty-one years during which time I delivered close to three thousand babies, saved several lives, and, hopefully, helped to make many other lives better. I devoted my life to my patients and in return they taught me much that I know about life, love, and human relationships. In addition, they rewarded me with their trust.
Early in my practice my father was very ill. In November of 1985 he passed away. A few days before he died, he gave all of us a gift. He very anxious and struggling to breathe until while waiting for an X-ray his heart stopped. A young X-ray technician hit him in his chest, and he recovered with no other resuscitation. After that he was fearless, lay flat of his back quietly breathing without difficulty, recognized my secretary whom he had only met twice, told me he had seen the light, and calmly died four days later. I had read about life after life experiences and people claiming to see a light; he had not.
I decided that no matter how irrelevant some intelligent people believe matters of faith to be, I believe and I need to live every day like I do.
Toward the end of my practice, I attended Asbury Seminary, part-time. I knew a number of the Asbury professors from my church and wanted to learn from them. I had only vague thoughts of a career change at the time. About that same time a number of events created an idea and passion for writing a novel. I had always loved to read. In retirement I studied writing as an apprentice with the Christian Writer’s Guild and I am happy to say that at the beginning of 2014 I finished the first draft of “No Easy Way Out,” the tentative title of my novel.
In my retirement, I delivered my great-nephew. I was the labor coach and my niece’s doctor had another delivery at exactly the same time. What are the odds of that? I delivered two litters of puppies to my little Norfolk terrier, Glade. I now live with Mori, Glade’s daughter, one of the puppies. I mothered a teenage girl for a year, an exchange student from Germany. She is now a doctor in Berlin, wife, and mother of two beautiful children. Another nephew lived with me, briefly, when he first came to UK. I enjoyed having these young people in my home. Not having children of my own is one of my few regrets, but I have learned that there is no scarcity of children to love.
Before retirement, I began serving on the Advisory Board of our local Salvation Army. In retirement I served as vice-chairman of the board for four years and chairman of the board for four years. During that time we developed board member expectations that have strengthened our board, and we developed a major donor society that has significantly increased our donor base. Through my connection with the local Salvation Army, I was privileged to serve at ground zero in September of 2001.
In 2004, I ran for State Representative in my district. I have never been very political, but I am a good problem solver and I thought I had something to offer. I was rather naïve. First, I decided to run on the last day before filing. My representative had run unopposed in the last election so I thought I had until November to run. Fortunately, someone else had decided to run so I had to win a primary in May. This was January and I had not raised a dime or developed a piece of printed literature; my opponent had been working for a year. I thought I would hate running for office but love doing the job. I found the opposite to be true. I found the campaigning to be very rewarding, but I began to see that trying to change things in our political system would be totally frustrating. Thus, I say fortunately someone else was running and I lost in the primary after making a respectable showing.
Perhaps the hardest and most rewarding of my serial jobs in retirement was caring for my elderly mother in my home for a year and a half. I was blessed that she had a long and happy old age in her own home until age eighty-nine. I was also blessed that even in her last days at nearly ninety-one she never lost her wonderful sense of humor.
I have spoken to a number of groups about various topics during my retirement. I love doing it, and I hope to have the opportunity to do more of it after my book is published. I learned last week that I have a publisher, which means I have a new job. Hopefully, it will be out by the end of the year.