Joys on the Journey

— This is the presentation I gave at tonight's Celebrate Today dinner, Memorial Hospital's quarterly celebration for cancer survivors — Four years ago, I was at this dinner for the first time with my sister. It was Volunteer Appreciation Night, and my sister, Clara Fromme, volunteers at the cancer center and I was her guest. In April of the following year, 2015, I was here again, this time as a newly diagnosed cancer patient. Between my first time here and the next, Clara had become my official health-care representative. She had taken me to the E.R. when I didn’t want to go, and to untold numbers of medical appointments. My oncologist is a 2 ½-hour drive from here, and Clara and my two othe

Days of Moonshine

My “Remember When…?” discussion group at a local nursing home wanted to talk about moonshine last month. Bootlegging in the middle of the last century also has been the topic of compelling conversation in some of my Life Stories classes. Knowing that their stills and unlawful production could be raided by excise police at any time, moonshiners in our rural county put some thought into concealing their work. But hiding jugs of corn liquor under floorboards in the barn or even under manure piles in the barnyard didn’t always let them go undetected. A more fail-proof hiding place, according to a couple of people with firsthand knowledge, was under a couple’s marital bed. When an excise officer