It’s another busy beautiful Summer day here in Lake Wobegon, as my favorite radio showman, Garrison Keillor, would say. Up early and out to a men’s bible study, coming home to enjoy a quiet breakfast (fresh peaches on old fashioned Corn Flakes cereal with Vanilla Almond milk, an interesting blend of the old – those corn flakes were our childhood staple – and the new – that almond milk being better for you than the fat free dairy milk that was the last ‘better for you’ change of habits). Reading as I often do at meals, enjoying one of Garrison’s books (on my Kindle that constantly offers a time count down to the end based on current reading speed and a % finished by page count), my memories flash back on mom’s final day. She and I so enjoyed his recorded stories of life in Lake Wobegon. On that day, she had been sent to the local hospital to get a blood transfusion to offset some recently diagnosed anemia. My sister, Betsy, described the day as mom enjoying her Walkman recorded Keillor stories, laughing as the transfusion takes place over several hours. Once completed, they walked out the doors and mom appeared to be not doing well (76 years young?) but eager to “just get me home” at which point she collapsed and died. Sad for the family given how young she still was and engaged with so many grandchildren and family, but we all have a numbered days on this earth and I felt she was accepting and didn’t want to come back, despite the hospital’s efforts to help her.

We couldn’t have wished her a nicer passing, hours of enjoyable laughing at her favorite stories, quickly and painlessly moving on, in the arms of her daughter, Betsy. God’s blessing for a lifetime of caring for others over 55 years of a nursing career.

As my breakfast reading continued, I phased right into lunch (fresh locally grown Jersey tomatoes and American cheese sandwich on fresh soft bread – an annual Summer treat for me), reading and relating to Garrison’s childhood memories as my own were recalled. Inspired by his writings and finally finishing this book that I’ve been slowly savoring over many months of small readings, often feeling guilty at the seemingly meaningless pleasure of such light reading (vs. my deeper but not fully understood books about black holes, the origins of the universe, multi-universes, self-improvement – with too little turning into action – readings, etc). But we are meant to treat ourselves with such enjoyment, so I was moved to come back into my office and write this blog update that is neglected for too many weeks between entries due to a busy life of higher daily priorities – or so I tell myself.

I’m still deeply committed to finishing ‘our’ book that is way back on the back burner of daily life, with ambitions to add a few more new chapters (and add updates to many other now outdated chapters) in my ‘transplant tome’ of a book (over 100+ chapters already). Reading Garrison’s books inspires me, so today I add this blog, tomorrow I will begin that next new chapter of my “A Gift from the Heart” – raising its priority in that daily TO-DO list of other important tasks. ??????????????

Yes, life is good and fulfilling. I hope and pray that your own life is equally so, filled with meaning, fulfillment, fun and inspiration to do whatever it is that gives meaning to your own life each day.

Now off to begin that ‘new chapter’ updating life after heart transplant since the last entry of too many years ago… stay tuned – I will post a notice when its ready for your reading.

– Jim ‘the heart guy’ celebrating 20 years post transplant this Oct 19th