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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.

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!

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!

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Healing Stroke?

They say that God draws straight with crooked lines.

On the 10th of this month, a Wednesday, I felt lousy, suspected another stroke, and called 911.  The ambulance from the Campton-Thornton Fire Dept. came and took me to Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.  There some tests were done, a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) was diagnosed, and I was sent home.  I have only the vaguest of memories of those events, and none of the ensuing two days, except that I was asleep in the living room, and did not eat, nor take my meds for at least 48 hours.

My first memory is of my wetting myself on the couch, Friday afternoon, May 12th.  I managed to stagger into the bathroom, changed into dry clothes, and ate one of our "meals-on-wheels."  Shirl tells me that I slept that night in our bed.  On Saturday morning, 13 May, Shirl again called 911, and had me taken back to Speare.  All I recall is their being skeptical, but deciding this time to do a CT scan of my head.  Thereafter, the attending physician in the E.R. told me, "You're right.  You've had a bleeder.  We're sending you directly to DHMC (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center)."

My next four or five days were spent in the outstanding Neurology Department on 5W at DHMC in Lebanon.  I remember those days somewhat vaguely, but I clearly recall being thoroughly satisfied with the staff.  From doctors to cleaners, they displayed high morale, and a genuine concern for us patients.

By Tuesday the 16th, my condition had stabilized enough that the neurologists told me that they were going to prescribe one week in rehabilitation.  I immediately said, "HealthSouth!"  That rehab hospital in Concord, NH, is where I had spent four weeks last September, when I had my first stroke.

HealthSouth was able to take me on short notice, and I stayed there from  17 to 23 May.  I was discharged this past Tuesday, and picked up by Marcia Litchfield, a friend for decades, and the widow of PSU professor Craig Zamzow, our former Director of the Small Business Institute, and my golf partner for five years.  Marcia, you are a sweetheart, and both Shirl and I are most grateful for your help!


My memory seems spottier than it was after the September stroke, but my right hand is far less swollen, more flexible, and stronger.  I hope to find that this "bleeder" brought some unblocking of blood vessels in my brain that have been blocked since last summer.  Amen, Lord!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April News

These four deer feeding on the stubble of our lawn indicate good news.  It appears that spring is finally here to stay, following a long and snowy winter, during which the plow drifts in our driveway exceeded the height of my car!
 That is the 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe that many of you who have visited our home will recognize, as I have driven it since 2007, before ever venturing to Romania!  But this spring I took the car for some touch-up work on two small rust spots, and my body shop owner, a former near neighbor, said, "Time for a new car!"  He warned me that the rust, though not yet visible, was well-established in the car's body, and would soon show through again.  So, I took the beloved little SUV to Mark at J&M Imports, my trusted mechanic, and asked his opinion.  Mark inspected the car thoroughly, and told me it had a broken front spring, warped brake rotors, a rattling driveshaft, needed four tires, and was overdue for a new timing belt and water pump.  All of these are wear parts, which at 197,800 miles (over 318,000 Km.) had simply worn out.  But, he estimated the cost of complete mechanical repair at about $4000.  Here is the rest of the story:
Free Ad Dept. My Facebook feedback to Cantin Chevrolet in Laconia:
Duncan C. McDougall
I came into Cantin Chevrolet looking for a used white Equinox to replace my beloved, but worn out white 2005 Santa Fe. Thus, I met Jeff Roberts in the Pre-owned Vehicle Dept. He showed me several Equinoxes, but had none in white. Understanding my needs, he remembered that there was a new white 2017 LS model in inventory across the street with the April 16% Off promotional sticker on it. He took me over there, and I made up my mind quickly to spend several thousand more than I came in expecting to spend. And I am delighted that I did so! Jeff then took me through the purchase process quickly, and we had fun doing it, kidding with Cheryl and others in the showroom. I bought my new car because of Jeff! I cannot imagine a more professional sales person! -Duncan C. McDougall, Grille Room Foreman, Plant 2A, Chevrolet-Flint Pressed Metal (1968 model year).

I also posted these words in the comments section of the satisfaction survey that I was sent by the dealership.  When someone treats me well, and shows that he cares, I believe in giving him credit for it!