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Hold’em High

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Somehow in the midst of all the turmoil, life goes on and renews itself. On May Day my grandson arrived, and things seem brighter now. Yes, the destruction continues in Washington, wars rage around the world and injustice is even encountered in our City government. But, now a new star shines among us and hope returns.

My Mother’s father was a carpenter and sometimes went by the name, T.O., short for Thomas Oakley Burleson. I have a picture of him holding me aloft in the first months of my life, and clearly visible is the twinkle in his eye and a broad smile across his face. I don’t have a comparative picture of me holding up my grandson above my head; he’s a neonate and is too young for calisthenics, and it might make my daughter faint. We’re especially protective of our first born. My grandson does share something with Jenny’s great-grandfather and for that matter my son-in-law’s grandfather as well. You see, my grandson is their namesake, Oakley Augustine Johnson. And when Oakley squeezes my finger I’m convinced he’ll be as strong as oaken wood.

We all have “gifts differing” observed the Apostle Paul. This great articulator of the Christian message was a learned man and a philosopher. And he must have been a keen observer of the differences between the sexes. Have you ever wondered why men can’t find things? Or, have you ever considered why women are physically and emotionally softer? However, it’s a misconception to think that compassion and empathy are signs of weakness.

Women are the glue of society. You can quote me on that. I have some talents, but my nurturing skills pale in comparison to women in general and my wife’s in particular. Men would be savages without the tempering influences of the women around us. And now I see my daughter growing in grace as she holds and nurtures Oakley, and balances the men in her family.

I remember some years ago a somewhat frantic call from my mother. She said that my father was limping and the back brace his chiropractor neighbor had sold him wasn’t helping his misery. I drove my father to my office and after examining him I told him that his problem wasn’t sciatica. Though my parents put me through medical school, my father was no fan of the medical profession. Perhaps because he was in such misery, he finally agreed to a cortisone injection into his inflamed knee. His pain miraculously abated and on the way home he told me how he now saw me in a new light. It didn’t matter that I was married with two kids and had a thriving medical practice. The point is it’s hard for parents to see their kids as anything but their children. Fortunately, my girls still see me as their daddy; and that’s a blessing.

I find that I am less fearful of the future these days. Most of my milestones have been reached. I do worry about our country and the parallels I see in the lessons of history. I worry that The Spirit is irrelevant to so many and that inevitable void is being filled by the State. Mostly, I have concerns about my girls, and now my grandson.

Times were tough during the Depression years when my grandparents were trying to hold things together gardening and selling eggs door to door in Sequoyah Hills. My life has been, by comparison, a breeze. I’ve told Becky many times that if I died today, “It’s been a good run.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of life left taking care of my patients, developing our property, writing and now I have a new reason to carry on – Oakley.

Everyone thinks their child is the cutest and special; and of course they’re right. This week’s “Piaget” teaching point is the next time someone wants to show you pictures of their kid, be glad that there’s a parent who loves that kid enough to carry pictures and brag a bit. Too many kids don’t have someone to love them or to hold’em high.

If you want to save the world start with your family and follow the advice of the Proverbist in chapter 22:6: “Teach children how they should live and they will remember it all their life.” My teacher’s role has just been extended to another generation.

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