My oldest brother, six years younger than me, hitch-hiked across America.  He left with a back-pack full of […]

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Harold Cole Watkins, PhD, overcome with remorse, killed himself one rainy night in late 1937.  A few months earlier, Dr. Watkins was on cloud nine. His new, sweet, raspberry-flavored, Elixir Sulfanilamide made it possible for parents to administer the bitter sulfa medicine to their children sick with Streptococcus infections, commonly known as strep throat.  A few months earlier, Dr. Watkins was on cloud nine. His new, sweet, raspberry-flavored, Elixir Sulfanilamide made it possible for parents to administer the bitter sulfa medicine to their children sick with Streptococcus infections.  Sore throats.

A pharmacist employed by S.E. Maassengil Co., Dr. Watkins met the company’s goal in response to public demand for a liquid form of the hard to swallow pill.  Now, over a hundred people were dead, most of them children.  Some children died in their mother’s

 

 

crying emoticone

My friend Jan lost her mother this month.  Jan is doing her best to keep the proverbial stiff upper lip.  In the words of her mother:  “Crying never solved anything.  Get out there and do something.”

Although I understand her mother’s sentiment.  My Dad had a similar adage: if you’re feeling low, look around and find someone who needs a helping hand.  We can get bogged down and sometimes we need a change of pace to kick-start us into a better frame of mind.  Still, for the most part, I beg to differ.  Crying is doing something.

Tears provide us great relief.

There are three kinds of tears:

  • Tears that lubricate eyes and make it possible for eyelids to slip effortlessly over our eyes with each blink;
  • Tears that respond to irritants and flood the eyes in an effort to rid them of pollen, dust, or onion odor;
  • Emotional tears brought on by extreme joy, frustration, or sadness.

I’m a crier.  I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m angry.  That last one can really get me going. 

Many of us face Father’s Day without our Dads.  Even for an adult, the process of losing of a father can leave us adrift and bereft.  On an intellectual level, we know it’s inevitable, yet the reality can hit us with a tornado of emotions,  and sometimes when we least expect it.  This piece was written as my Dad was dying, twelve years ago this year.  I mark the years by the age of my first grand-daughter.  My son placed his newborn daughter in the crook of her great-grandpa’s arms, the day before he dyed.  I’ll never forget the look of pure joy on Dad’s face and the way he squeezed little Emma close to his heart.

Grown

 

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child.  But when I became an adult, I grew far beyond my childhood, and now I have put away the childish ways.

                                                            – 1 Corinthians 13, 11

This verse keeps running through my mind.  The one persistent thought among a kaleidoscope of memories that wash over me like waves against a lone rock on the beach.  Each time the passage enters my consciousness; I end it with this thought: I was about eight when I put away my childish ways.

When I was brand new at the job I’ve had for nearly a decade, I called one of my best friends.  She’s been my friend since grade school.

“I’m the Most Responsible Person.”  I explain, over the phone, about my new position as head of Regulatory Affairs for a small pharmaceutical company.  “Whenever I submit papers to the Agency, there’s a line that asks for ‘the most responsible person’.  That’s me!”

This woman, who’s known me for so long, laughs a deep, from the belly laugh.  “You’ve been

Did you know that our property is supposed to revert to the state after our death?  Our Founding Fathers deliberately designed property to be “on loan” in order to prevent a royal class, or a class of the ultra-wealthy.  Imagine how different we might live our lives if we considered ownership temporary.

In my corporate career, centered in science and industry, I learned what gets measured, gets attention.  Measurement is the first step towards improvement.  Thus we pay attention to Gross National Product (GNP), National Debt, Unemployment Rates, etc.  In other words, measurements of national economic prosperity.

Manufacturers measure things like cycle time, re-work, defect rate, variability, and so on.  These are measurements of efficiency and effectiveness.

In our careers, we measure income and percent pay increase, and ratings on our performance reviews.  We measure our success.

On a personal level, we keep track of our HDL/LDL, our BMI, our Blood Pressure, our weight, our dress size, and the hairs left on our brush each morning.  This is how we measure our health and beauty.

What if we took the approach of the Tibetan country of Bhutan?

“I salute you,” said Barb, squeezing my elbow and pointing to my ruby-red stilettos.  “I love those shoes.”
“Oh, I do love these shoes,” I replied.  “But my feet have changed. I’m all flop-footed.  This might be the last time I wear them.”
I love my Sassy Shoes also know as Come-Get-Me Shoes (CMG Shoes.)  I have several pair:  black, red, velvet brown, and a glittery golden faux snake-skin.  When I wear my CGM Shoes, I feel sexy and fashionable.  Until recently.  My heels slip, and the shoes clomp to the floor in a most uncharming way.  Last winter, to my embarrassment, a Good Samaritan grabbed me by the elbow and said, “Here, let me help you.”
“I know, I have the same problem,” said Barb.  She demonstrated her own