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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Understanding My Age

Last August I turned 74.  That puts me in my "mid-70s."  My life expectancy when born, back in 1943, was 62 years.

I must tell you, dear reader, that I am very thankful to have beaten the forecast, for in the past twelve years a lot of beauty and love and learning and joy have come my way.

Six of my seven grandchildren have been born.  Shirley and I have struggled through some difficult times, but are still together, and in love.

My previous blog, http:/www.dcmcd.blogspot.com was started at the recommendation of my son Jesse, and then this blog became its sequel.  Together, they chronicle my last nine years of travel, teaching in Romania, and other adventures.

When my two strokes came along, the first in September of 2016, and the second in May of 2017, I lost many memories from those recent years, and years before, as well.  Thus, I find these two blogs invaluable records of the places I've been, and the people I've met.

On my recent nine-day visit to Romania, only 3-1/2 months following a "bleeder" in my left frontal lobe, I saw at least ten of the people that I knew from my days living in Romania, back in 2008-2010.  It was great to see them, to hug them, and to recall our friendships.  My blogs played a role in preparing me for some of those meetings.

So today I am writing in my blog at the suggestion of Prof. Dr. Alexandra Muțiu of FSEGA, the Business School of Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.  Dr. Muțiu and I co-taught a course called Accounting for Managers in the spring of 2009.  In a recent chat, she detected what she considered uncharacteristic moodiness in me, which had also been apparent in my Facebook posts.  She suggested that a blog post might prove therapeutic.

 With Dr. Muțiu (and Prof. Roxana Wright from Brașov) at Commencement
 following Alexandra's semester of teaching at Plymouth State University.

What do you know?  Now, as I conclude this post, I am smiling!  Mulțumesc, Profesoara!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Race of the Age

I slept-in, today.  I didn't get up until after 10:30.  That is about four hours later than usual.  I believe it was because yesterday really tired me out!

Yesterday started with my usual 06:30 wake-up, the awkward struggle to get into my T-shirt, jeans, socks and sneakers, replete with foot-brace, and breakfast of oatmeal and a sausage patty.  Then I drove to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) for an 8:30 appointment to have blood drawn at the lab.  DHMC is just over an hour's drive away... and I was there essentially on time, in spite of dense fog on the mountains along Route 118, which runs about 20 miles southward, from Rumney to Canaan, NH. Then, I moved my car around the complex from the Parking Garage to the main parking lot, to shorten my walk to my 9:30 appointment at Dr. Turco's Endocrinology Department.  This was a diabetes visit, entirely unrelated to my strokes.  Dr. Turco is a great man, in my sight.  He has been helping me with my Type II diabetes since 2005, and has brought my A1C test scores from above 10 (dangerously high) to 7.0, which, he told me yesterday, is very good.

After a fine visit with Dr. T., I let the OnStar Navigation System in my new Chevy Equinox guide me to the NH Veterans' Cemetery (NHVC) in Boscawen, where I planned to stand a flag line for a fallen veteran at 2:00 P.M.  Of course, I know well how to find that cemetery, having served as a flag holder at scores of burials over the past 11 years.  But I suspected that OnStar, in choosing the shortest route from Lebanon to Boscawen, might take me through some parts of NH not often, if ever, seen.  In fact, it did just that, guiding me across from I-89 to U.S. 3 via U.S. 4, which is a lovely rural highway over much of that stretch.  I drove past a batch of elegant white buildings in the village of Andover, admiring their bright appearance, then saw that I was passing Proctor Academy, a private boarding and day-school with which two of my sons used to compete in athletics, when they were at Holderness School.

Ariving at NHVC 90 minutes prior to our mission's rendezvous time of 2:00 P.M., I drove on down to have a good lunch at Alan's of Boscawen, just a mile south of the town's center on Rt. 3.

After eating a fried clam strip roll with cole slaw and chips, I took my insulin, went back to NHVC, parked in the shade, and napped for 30 minutes-or-so, awakening at 1:59 (on my phone) to find several fellow NH PGR members also parked there.  As I had been leaned back in my seat, they had not seen me, though Flag Line Captain Lauri Flannery Wayne said, "We noticed that the engine was running, so we figured someone was nearby."

Lauri then led us in a good mission to honor the late Robert R. Rivard, Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army National Guard, a veteran of 35 years' service to our country.

Marching away from the grave site, I was again in the lead, with my flag this time in the hands of my comrade, Bruce Beckley.  I used my cane on the deep grass, but once on the pavement, picked it up by its shaft, and strode as normally as I have been able to do yet, at any point since my May 13th "bleeder."  At the NH PGR pickup truck, where we furl our flags, Bruce said to me, "You did well."
That beats the heck out of tripping, falling, and dropping a flag!

After returning home at about 4:00, I showered, then napped for an hour or so, rising to eat a frozen pizza and watch the Red Sox game on TV.

Can't understand how such a day might tire one out!

In my life, these days, the recovery process is in a race with the aging process.  Dear God, Please, may the former process be the winner!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Amazing Grace

Biserica in Piața Unirii, Cluj-Napoca

I've been home from Romania for ten days, and am only now able to tell you the impact that much-needed and truly beautiful vacation has had on me.


While in Cluj, at Hanul Dacilor for dinner with my former dean (now pro-rector of UBB) Mihaela Luțaș and our FSEGA colleagues Alexandra Muțiu (and her daughter Ingrid), Moni Zaharie (and her daughter Anamaria), Monica Silaghi, as well as our former student Raluca Tarcea, Mihaela told me that she was pleased to see that I had returned to Romania with my intellect intact, following my strokes.  What a relief her remark brought to me!

View from our hotel in Bicaz
While in Bucovina with Alexandra, her daughter Ingrid Love, and Ingrid's friend Georgiana, we visited Manastirea Putna, where we met monk Ambrosie, who had read my earlier Putna posts, and had invited me back. While there, we went into the biserica (church) and reviewed the magnificent iconography which had been painted only a few years ago by Master Mihai Moroșan.

With M. Ambrozie

Then, we all spent a wonderful night in Suceava with my dear friends Mihai and Waltraudi Moroșan.  On the drive back to Cluj, Alexandra expressed the thought that she felt her soul to have been healed.  I felt the same.
A 2017 view of Shirley's and my old building, in 2008-09
Back in Cluj, God sent me the realization that the most important decision of my life was to propose marriage to Shirley, back in 1973.  Our four wonderful offspring are one result... but also, how many husbands have the freedom to live such a life as I have been blessed to live?  Dear Shirley is my wife for life.  Praise be to God!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Visit to Romania Upcoming!

Health and other circumstances permitting, I shall be based in Cluj for ten days, starting at the end of August.

Air tickets are bought, and accommodations have been arranged.

God willing, I'll see again many folks whom I dearly love, and sorely miss.

I was able to spend time in Romania, sometimes only days, other years full semesters, in 2008, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14, and '15.  I missed getting there in 2016 due to problems of family health (including my own).  So, I cannot wait to visit Romania, my second homeland, in 2017!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mission Mishap in PGR Service for a Great Neighbor



10 July 2017

This morning, with my fellow N.H. Patriot Guard Riders, I stood in a flag line at the N.H. Veterans' Cemetery for the late Commander Robert Bergeron of Holderness, the next town south of Campton, New Hampshire, where I live.

Commander Bergeron was a U.S. Navy carrier pilot from January, 1942, until the end of the Korean War. He served in the Navy a total of 28 years, and then became a volunteer and a board member at the Plymouth Area Senior Center for 33 years! He died at 96 years of age.

As we withdrew from the chapel in single file, still holding tall flags at our right sides, Paul Baptiste, our ride captain, had me lead the procession, because with my limp, I had not been able to keep up the pace as we had marched in. I got about 2/3s of the way back to the parking area, when I stumbled and fell onto the concrete sidewalk, dropping my flag to the ground, which shamed me greatly.

I was helped to my feet, and kindly escorted by a comrade back to my car, making sure that my flag had been retrieved and kissed. I suffered only skinned knuckles and a wrist, but as I take a blood thinner to ward off clots, and thus strokes, both bled freely.

I was able soon to stem the bleeding, and drove safely home to Campton, stopping only at the Senior Center, to give a lady there the red carnation that I'd been given by Commander Bergeron's daughter, after the close of the service.

Tonight, I received this wonderful message from our Ride Captain, Paul:

"Hi Duncan,

Just want to touch base with you to make sure you got home okay. You almost fell the last time we stood a flag line. I think maybe from now on we should have someone carry a flag for you to and from the line. That way you would be able to concentrate on your walking without the added distraction of the flag. I can make sure this happens when I'm the Ride Captain; but when I'm not there, we'll have to work up a protocol where all the other Ride Captains will know that you'll need a little extra assistance. 


I sure hope you don't get discouraged and stop attending the flag lines because we can't afford to lose someone with your dedication to our mission.

Thanks for all that you do.

Paul"
_______________________________________________
Photo is of an F4U Corsair, a magnificent carrier fighter that served both Navy and Marine squadrons in both WWII and the Korean War.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Campton Historical Society Talk on Beebe River

In about an hour I shall attend a talk on the Beebe River bobbin plant here in Campton, and on the history of the "once-idyllic company town" that it sponsored. I served as manager of that bobbin mill from 1972 through 1975. Its downfall was to me a sad but educational series of events that led to the subject of my doctoral dissertation: "Manufavturing Strategy in Diversified Firms, Linkages Between Competitive Strategy and Manufacturing Planning in the Divisions."  I hope I can sit through the talk without crying!
http://www.camptonhistorical.org/beebe%20river%20marker%20flyer.pdf

Postscript:  After thinking about my three years at Beebe River for at least three days before the event, I believe it went well for me.  No tears, and I shook hands with many old friends, former associates, and softball teammates.  I contributed one of my Draper shuttles with a package of filament yarn on its bobbin to the Historical Society.  I was happy to see that they have a display case full of many types of bobbins, as well as a few blanks, but I saw no shuttles (which were made at Draper's plant in Marion, S. C.).  Among other comments, I explained to the audience the role that bobbins played in the spinning and weaving processes of our textile industry customers.

When I sat down, the audience were kind to applaud.  Thank you, Tink Taylor, for serving as moderator of this event!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Good News!

My neurologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Rojas-Soto, says that "a healing stroke" is a possibility.  However, she offers an alternative to my theory of clots having been washed away by this latest event.  She suggests that the improvement may well relate to the drugs they have had me on since that stroke.

I saw MRI images of my brain last week. It has a dime-sized black spot in its left frontal region. The doctor tells me that black indicates blood. She said that it was a very small hemorrhage, and that given my condition only three weeks later, that the prognosis is good. 

I am now hoping for a full recovery!

Praise God!