Friday, February 27, 2015


As my recovery continues my long term memory is slowly returning.  I wondered if the various chemotherapy treatments I have had would permanently suppress my memory. Getting older also has taken a tole on all our memories, I suppose.

Last week Rachel visited while she tried to attend several Millsaps College committee meetings.  Rachel has often had an effect on my memory in a good way.  Maybe it is because she was such a big part of my life growing up.  So many of my recollections are not necessarily of Rachel, but of our family and the life we had together. I can remember details about people and places that most would think uncanny.  In fact, she was amazed at my memories because she was right there when the things I remembered happened but she did not have these memories. So it begs the question. Why can I remember such small often insignificant details of things that happened 50 years ago? How do I remember the places and the tiny details of locations? I really don't know the answer but usually enjoy these memories.

Because I have this memory for past times and the stories of our life growing up I enjoy "story telling" or story writing. Some of my memories often get confused with the stories that I heard from family members like my mother or an aunt or uncle or grandparent. So when I write or tell a story you may realize that I tend to embellish the truth. That's OK as long as I'm true to the people and places who were there. So it it that my memory of the classic Andy Griffith comical record album in the late 1950's is offered.  This record was done before the fame that he enjoyed on television when he was a country spun comedian and singer. I present one of the great story tellers of my youth presenting a classic:  "What It Was, Was Football"
It was my memory of our house in Meridian and the living room where the stereo console record player was located that brought back that Andy Griffith memory. We owned that record along with many others including a racy recording by Brother Dave Garner entitled "Kick Thine On-self". The five of us in my family would gather in the living room and enjoy listening to records together. Later, Daddy remodeled the house and added two new bedrooms and a bathroom. He also converted part of his basement workshop into a full-sized den complete with a wood burning fireplace. The new den was located directly under the living room upstairs so he installed two stereo speakers in the den's ceiling that were connected to the living room stereo. In that way we could remotely play our records and music without having to have a new record player in the den.

These two memories happen for me because I learned to unlock my memory by using a "key".

Mother's Chocolate Chip Cookies

The following post likely has little to do with my health...

My mother could make the best chocolate chip cookies I ever tasted. These morsels were the favorite of everyone in our family and continued to grow in fame and popularity as our family grew.  Over time we would get her to share her recipe and she usually would say she followed the one printed on the back of the Nestle's Chocolate Morsels (Chips) package.  We would do that and our cookies never tasted as good as her's.

In as much as I loved my Mother very much, I also grew to learn in time that she was a liar as far as her cooking went.  All of her great dishes that we loved so much never tasted as good when we cooked them following her exact recipes and instructions.  It was a running joke in the family that she had secret ingredients or techniques that she failed to tell us.  She loved knowing that we could never quite get the taste she could get.

Mind you it wasn't just her cookies. Her pimento cheese sandwiches (spread) was to die for! She made the best salmon croquettes and her homemade peach ice cream is a family classic. However, like so many good cooks of her day she was mostly using recipes passed down through the generations from family or friends and modified to suit the taste of the ones who would enjoy the results.

Sometimes, it was her technique that made things taste so good.  Or it was her cooking utensils or equipment that made the difference.  For example, while we pulverized our peaches in a blender she would use an old school, manual crank meat grinder to prepare her peaches. When you read her recipe it never explained to use a meat grinder. It just said to use 10 to 12 medium sized, ripe peaches, pealed and pulverized.  In the days when she perfected this gem the blender or food processor had not been invented yet.

So it is with the recipe for my health. Is it more about how to stay well than it is to get well? The science of this day and age, the great doctors and loving staff at JOA & MDA and the power of prayer have healed me. Well, maybe that is not totally true since I'm told my MSD can not be healed by mortals but it is still in remission.  Staying well is the challenge for me now.

The old school methods coupled with modern day's science could be the answer, I'm learning.  The best recipes are ones passed on from generations, modified along the way to suite our taste and to make them work better with today's ingredients. I sure could use some of Mother's Chocolate Cookies right now packaged in a gold fruitcake can.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The "Routine" Good

We returned home from a brief trip to the Houston area on Tuesday. The previous Friday morning I had my routine monthly appointments at MD Anderson. It seems strange to now refer to my visits there as routine. However, I suppose familiarity with my surroundings coupled with doing the same or similar things over and over makes for the routine. In my case, this is good.

The drug protocol requires visits every four weeks now that I have made it to the fifth cycle (each cycle being four weeks). So it was that Friday, February 6th found us waiting as usual for one test after another. Then we saw and were seen by our medical team who reviewed the test results giving us positive praise and results. To be as sick as I was, hearing routine good results is nothing short of a miracle. I pray for more of the routine!

Thanks again for all of your prayers and the many acts of kindness for which you continue to shower upon us.