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Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Poem for the Holidays

A Poem for the Holidays

God bless us all, in all our states,
In all our faiths, in all our fates.
Allah, Jehovah, help us find
A few soft words, our wounds to bind.

May we all see that greater good,
Our gift from Thee, Thy Earth, our home,
Is here for us, for all to share, 
In love and brotherhood, not fear.

All of us here, who think unbarred,
Around Your sun, beneath Your stars,
Know that, in spite of clergy's claims,
You are just One, with many Names.

Call me blasphemer, infidel,
Apostate, devil, bound for Hell.
Call me anything you please,
God showed Himself, in lands, 'cross seas,

In ways that peoples far apart,
Would understand, and take to heart.
Revelation wide was sown.
Let no folk claim it all their own.

-by Duncan C. McDougall,

Campton, New Hampshire, USA.  Copyright 2012, by the author.  All rights reserved, with the specific exception that sharing of this poem is encouraged if done with proper citation of the author, and of this blog page:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Craciun Ferecit, sau "Merry Christmas!"

This YouTube link came to me today from a fellow "Oldrider" with whom I shared a tour of Glacier National Park on my way to Alaska last summer.  You may have seen it already, but I am sharing it because I love it, and because its little canine star reminds me of our dog Ralph, a loving member of our family, some thirty-nine years ago. .

I wish all this blog's readers and their families a warm and happy holiday season, and a safe, happy, and prosperous new year.  As 'tis said in Romania,

Craciun Ferecit!  Şi, La Mulţi Ani!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Sad and Beautiful Milestone

Shirl's visit to Barbara Kimball in March, 2011
On Thursday, 6 December, 2012, the phone rang in my office at about 10:15 A.M.  It was Shirley Kimball McDougall, my wife.  "Can you please come home and take me to Westboro?" she asked.  "Mom has had a heart attack, and she is in heart failure."  I was home twelve minutes later, and we soon left for Massachusetts.  We are still there.

Shirl's mother, Barbara M. (Landon) Kimball, was 96 years, 11 months, and 17 days old at that time.  Though not really in poor health, she had been praying for some months that soon there would come a morning when she simply did not wake up.  This kind, humorous, smart, and ever-caring woman felt that she had fully lived her life.  Barbara had raised three children of her own, all now loving and responsible adults, had contributed mightily to the raising of their 13 children, and was loved also by 14 great-grandchildren.  She had been a loyal and loving wife to her husband Basil Kimball, who had been drafted into the U.S. Army shortly before World War II hit America.  In fact, it was on December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, that the engaged couple decided to move up their marriage from the planned June date, as it suddenly seemed likely Basil would be overseas by that time.  Thus, they were married on 22 December, 1941.  (As it happened, Basil went overseas in 1944, and landed in Normandy at Omaha Beach on D-Day with a battalion of Army Engineers.)  Their marriage lasted until Basil's passing in August of 1990.

When we arrived at the Beaumont nursing home in Westboro, we learned that Barbara had had a pleasant breakfast with her fellow residents in the dining room.  After being wheeled back to her room and put back to bed, she had complained of chest pains.  These got worse, and Shirl's sister Joan Kimball Cichowski, a nurse practitioner, was called.  Joan came to the home, learned the seriousness of the situation, and called Shirl and her brother David, also in New Hampshire at work at the time.  We all came to Westboro as fast as we could.  The Beaumont's staff doctor had told Joan that Barbara had suffered a heart attack, a serious one that likely would be Barbara's "final event."  By the time we arrived, Barbara had been treated three times with an oral pain medication, and seemed comfortable, and awake, though quite groggy.  When Barbara whispered to Shirl that the pain was returning, another dose was administered, and Barbara fell asleep.  She slept all day, and all through the night, with Shirl at her side for 24 straight hours, and the rest of us with her for many of those hours.  Grandson Jesse McDougall and Cally, his bride of last June, drove from their new place in Rockport, Massachusetts, to lend their support.

Yesterday, on December 7th, at 10:50 in the morning, Barbara's slow breathing ceased.  The prayed-for morning had come.  Seventy-one years to the day since they decided to move their marriage forward because of the War, Basil and Barbara were once again united.  It could, in the end, hardly have been more peaceful. 

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change."

I will miss Barbara, whom I have loved as the best mother-in-law imaginable.  Still, I believe that her life was full, that she served us all nobly, and that she has earned her rest.  I trust that now she is hugging her husband in Heaven.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Unu de Decembrie, Ziua Naţionala in Romania!

Contingent din Suceava. Parade of the Villagers, Alba Iulia, 1 December 2010
It is the first of December, and almost noon in Campton, New Hampshire, so it's almost 7:00 P.M. in Romania.  I hope that earlier today my Romanian friends and colleagues have celebrated their beautiful homeland, their freedom, and their colorful culture.   I wish you all a fine evening, and a bright future!  Noroc!

Here are links to a few of my earlier posts that celebrate Romania; I share them in the spirit of this National Day!


The rain could not quell the parade, yet seemed to make the colors more vibrant.




Mihai Viteazul, whom we thank for first unifiying the country.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From Alexandru: Non-coincidence of the Day

Just over a month ago I returned from my last visit to Romania.  While there I spent one day in Timişoara, where I was stopped on the pedestrian mall and asked one question by a young couple with a camera.

Received this day in Yahoo Mail, subject: "Non-coincidence of the day."
Hey Duncan,

Remember the two girls that were here, one of which was Alexandra?

Well this is what she sent me today, hopefully you will enjoy it.

The part that interests you is at 1:40

It was cool
Cu stima / Best Regards,
Alexandru Mican
The question was, "What is your favorite memory?"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Academic Fantasy

The Student Show

The house lights flash for a minute, then slowly fade to black.

A spot light comes on, illuminating a slightly built, yet imposing figure standing in front of the curtain at center stage.  He is gray of hair, and wears narrow wire-rimmed reading glasses on an aquiline nose.  His tweed coat is threadbare but looks comfortable and thoroughly appropriate.  His dark trousers are old, a bit chalky around the pockets, but well-pressed.  He wears a white shirt, and a dark necktie that is narrower than the current fashion, but made of silk.

Glaring at the audience over his glasses. The Professor points his forefinger outward, and sweeps it across the house, as, in a strong bass voice, he starts to sing, a capella:

"You students didn't come here,
To meet a bunch of sweeties,
You came here to meet Meeeeee!

To see if you could cut it!
And then, if you cut it,
To be proud that you cut it with Meeeeee!"

The spot goes out, The Professor exits silently and invisibly, and the curtain opens on a raucous tailgate party in the stadium parking lot, just prior to The Big Game.

[There is your opening, dear students.  You write the rest, and I shall audition for the part of "The Professor."]

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving at Hotel New Hampshire

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing... ."   Shirl, seven Romanian friends, and I joined to give thanks at our table in Campton this year.  Here is a photo essay.

Moni's first lesson.  Great form, and many solid hits!

Shirl made it home from her Mom's place, just in time for dinner!

Alex Mican din Bistriţa, Danny Rusu din Cluj, Titiana Morariu din Sebeş, and Valer Şuteu din Satu Mare, Romanii unu, doi, trei şi patru.

Sandra Chioralia din Târgu Mureş, şi Profesor Dr. Roxana Wright, din Braşov.  Romanii cinci şi şase.
Dr. Monica Zaharie din Sighetu Marmaţiei, Romăn nr. şapte!

Alex swears his cell phone is behind him on the shelf.  Hmm.

Danny and Titiana

Vali has a great heart, which shines through his smile.

Roxana, my esteemed colleague in both operations management and international business.

And again, my beloved wife Shirl (on the left), and Sandra, soon to be an MBA from Plymouth State University, New Hampshire.

Miki, Roxy, and Maria (six months)
Missing at our Campton table, but celebrating together at Miki and Gus DeMaggio's home in Meriden, NH, were Roxana Fera din Sibiu, her sister Mihaela (Miki), and Miki's three children, the youngest of whom is Maria, shown here.  Miki and Maria came to pick up Roxy for the holiday.

It has been a great Thanksgiving day.  Thanks to all, and especially to The Force that has brought us all together.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Images from the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Business and Transitions for Sustainable Development, Konya and Aksehir, Turkey, October, 2012 (Photos provided by Miruna Nachescu)

"Nasreddin Hoca was hired to take ten donkeys to market.  He was careful to keep count of them often.  But, it was a long way to the market.  So, he decided to ride on the lead donkey.  He sat on it backwards, so he could keep count of his charges.  But when he counted them next, he was disappointed to see only nine."  (Thus, the seal of the city of Aksehir, Turkey.)
Dean of the Aksehir Campus of Selcuk University, Prof. Dr. Fehmi Karasioglu, with colleagues at the opening of the conference.
A troupe of folk dancers from the local high school performed a dance for the attendees, clacking spoons to set the rhythms.

Their costumes were beautiful.

And their synchronicity was a delight.
Speakers seated in the Auditorium in Aksehir.

Prof. Alexandra Muțiu of Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, was a keynote speaker.

That evening, a traditional Turkish dinner party was held.

Miruna and Alexandra at the dinner.

Marc Guiraud worships Miruna, at the Center of the World.

Nasreddin Hoca

Good friends, Alexandra and Miruna
The ladies at the Karasioglu home in Konya, following the conference.

And the men.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day, 2012

The National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida
My Dad.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Love Cluj! (And this family.)

My friends Alexandra, Tibor, Ida and Ingrid, at dinner in their apartment just two weeks ago, today.  I love Cluj!
Photo by the blogger with a cheap Nokia phone, and an unsteady hand.  But aren't they a beautiful family?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Got 'Em!

Shirl says I am now acceptable "for several more decades."  That was the best part of the whole 18-month "self-improvement project."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Non-Coincidence of 3 November 2012

Moni, Diana, and Loredana
On Saturday night I had the great pleasure of hosting a dinner in Stamford, Connecticut, with these three Maramuresan ladies.  As we walked through town after dinner, we found that the film current at the local cinema was quite apropos.  Da, da, da, da!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Functional Gap Yesterday, New Teeth Tomorrow.

At the risk of jinxing myself, I will report yet another trip to the Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University, this time with the assurance of Dr. Aleksander Vojdanowski that my three porcelain crowns are in hand, and that they will be permanently installed atop the three custom abutments mounted to the three titanium implants already screwed into my upper jaw!

The gap in my teeth, however, served me well at last evening's PSU International Students' Halloween Party.  Dressed in a black shirt, I removed my plate, grinned at the girls, and said "I vant to bite your neck," in my best Romanian accent.  To a one, they jumped!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Approaches New Hampshire

"Brother Noah,
Brother Noah,
Can I come with you,
On the ark of the Lord,
'Cause it's gettin' very dark,
Gonna rain very hard,
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

No you can't Sir,
No you can't Sir.
No you can't come with me,
On the Ark of the Lord,
Though it's getting very dark,
Gonna rain very hard,
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

Go to Hell then.
Go to Hell then.
You can go to Hell
With your damned old scow,
'Cause it ain't a-gonna rain
Very hard anyhow!
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

Young fellow,
Young fellow,
It's the folly of youth
To deny the truth,
'Cause you know damned well
It's gonna rain like Hell!
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

Song sung to us by our father, Dugald S. McDougall, 1916-2007.  (Author unknown.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eden was just like this.*

Covasinț, Județ Arad, Banat, Romania
21 October 2012. 05:31 A.M.

 I am in the home of Sebastian and Ileana Fera.  Seba is 75, and Ileana 68.  They are the parents of Mihaela (Miki) Fera DeMaggio and of Roxana Fera, both now living in New Hampshire, and the grandparents of Elena, Cayou, and Maria DeMaggio.  We met at our home in Campton almost a year ago, and now I am visiting their home.

Theirs is a wonderful home. 

On a hill some 18 Km to the northeast of Arad is Comuna Covasinț, and in it a village of the same name.  At the town hall (Primeria) in Covasinț, at about 1:20 PM yesterday, I met up with Ileana, who came down from their house in their white Dacia 1310 to pick me up.  I had driven that morning from Cluj in Alexandra Muțiu’s Renault Clio.  Ileana told me we would park it in the village at the home of their friends, and I should follow her there.  I was reluctant to leave a borrowed car anywhere, but I followed her to the spot.  Within the solidly gated yard of this retired teacher and his wife, I adjudged Clio to be quite safe, so I took my rucksack and computer case, loaded them and the flowers and wine I’d bought for the Feras into the trunk of the Dacia, and got in its front passenger seat.

Ileana’s route home soon convinced me of the wisdom of her decision to park my borrowed car in town.  We went to her house through a forest on a jeep road full of rocks and mud puddles, then climbed a steep hill to their gate.  Seba opened the gate, and after six or seven clutch-burning tries, Ileana succeeded in backing the Dacia up the steep roadbank and into its place in their yard, beneath a sheet of heavy once-clear plastic, suspended from trees, that protected it from the sun and rare rain.
Speaking of rain, this house, built largely by Sebastian years ago while Ileana covered his sports classes at Sibiu, is equipped with a 10,000 liter rain-water collection tank beneath the porch, which provides water for washing and bathing.  Brilliant.  Until this year, there has been no well, but now that the Feras have retired here and made this their home, a well of some 200 m depth has been drilled at the back of the property, and this next week its water will be tested by the state for purity.

I cannot well-express the efficiency and comfort of this place.  I can only say that I understand the Feras' peace here, and their love of it.  Shirl and I felt the same for our first home in New Hampshire, which we lived in when first married, and which served as a second home for our eight years in Westborough, Massachusetts, while I was teaching at Boston University.  This house feels similar.  It is simple, yet well-equipped.  It is quiet, the nights are jet black, the air is clean, the surroundings natural.  Deer and wild boar populate the adjacent woods, and sheep graze in the nearby fields.  Wild berries of many species provide vitamin-rich snacks as one walks the hills, and in the yard is a garden of vegetables and fruit trees that emulates Eden.
When I arrived, the three of us sat in the garden at a much-used table, and enjoyed a lunch of some ten dishes, most made from home-grown ingredients, including breaded mushrooms (ciuperci pane), cooked as one sizzles a schnitzel (snițel), home-made pickles (castraveț muraț), chicken thighs stewed with red bell peppers and onions (pulpa de pui cu arde rosu dulce și ceapa), etc., etc.  It was marvelous.  After a nap and a walk on the hill, all we needed for supper was the delicious honey-sweetened cake Ileana had baked, and a cup of tea made from the flowers and leaves of their garden.

* From the title of a song by Harry Belafonte.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seriously Screwed

Two days after Alex's wedding on 6 October, our son Jamie left for his Florida home aboard the 1983 Suzuki GS1100E that I had just given him.  Big Red Suzi is not new, but he is running like a new motorcycle, thanks to the years of TLC that Matt Gordon at QBR in Littleton (Phone: 1 (603) 444-2359) and I have given him.

A couple of weeks earlier, I had equipped Suzi with a new Metzler rear tire, to keep my fine son Jamie, 35, who will become a father in March, from riding so far on a rather worn rear tire.

On the first day of his ride South, near Poughkeepsie, New York, at an estimated 60 MPH (~100 KPH), Jamie acquired the large Phillips Head screw seen here.

Thanks to his many years' experience, much spent in the uncertain traction of dirt riding, Jamie "saved" the heavily laden and surely squirrelly superbike from a crash.  With the help of a tow truck and Shirl's Internet research, he had a another new tire installed at a Poughkeepsie motorcycle dealer, and was back on the road that evening.

JJ is home now in Orlando.  Thank you, dear God!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alex and Yvonne are one!

Yesterday we welcomed Yvonne Wolfson into the Clan McDougall,  "Von" and our youngest son Alex were married in a beautiful lakeside ceremony in New Hampton, New Hampshire, followed by a lively reception held in Paul Wolfson's garden in Campton.  The party lasted late into the night, culminating with fireworks, and a bonfire.

Draga Yvonne şi Alexander, Casa de Piatra!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Big 6! October 6, 2012

Tomorrow, on Shirley's and my 39th wedding anniversary, our son Alexander Barclay McDougall will marry the smart and lovely Yvonne Wolfson of Plymouth, New Hampshire.  The ceremony will be held at Yvonne's grandparents' home in New Hampton, on the shore of Lake Winona.  It is a pastoral setting.  At this afternoon's rehearsal, the autumn leaves across the lake, glowing golden in the late afternoon sun, appeared again in reflections from the lake's surface, rippled by a family of mallard ducks swimming by.  On a raft a hundred meters out in the lake, a great blue heron basked in the sun's low-angled rays.

May tomorrow's wedding be glorious, and may these two fine kids also see a 39th anniversary together!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First: See Link in Adalino's E-Mail


My musical obsession... the tune I whistle most frequently, the song I sing most often to myself while driving, is "The Song from Moulin Rouge," aka "Where is Your Heart."  Last night, after an online chat with my MBA students, I started to whistle it, then stopped, and said to myself, "Something different tonight."  I sang "Unchained Melody" all the way home, then still more at home, until my off-key singing drove my wife to put in her ear-buds, and turn to her laptop.

This morning I watched your latest video, and believed again that "There are no coincidences."


Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 7:26:19 AM
Subject: ~ ~ ~ Um copo de vinho tinto ~ ~ ~  A glass of red wine ~ ~ ~ SPF! ~ ~ ~Adalino ~

Watch until the end
.~~~Ver ate' ao fim.

A Glass of Red Wine.
 ~ ~ ~ Um copo de vinho tinto.

Sempre p'ra frente!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Today's Rant: "You don't know what you've got, until you lose it."

Click to enlarge.  
Source:, Accessed 28 September, 2012
An early rock 'n' roll song said, "You don't know what you've got, until you lose it."*

That is America's present plight.

Perhaps it is the plight of all the "industrialized" states of The West. 

We have lost much of our industrial base, most especially in high-volume industrial products such as steel, textiles, automobiles, and electrical and electronic devices, but increasingly in the technically sophisticated products that make other products, such as punch presses, machine tools, plastic molding equipment, textile machinery, mining machinery, as well as tool-and-die work and software manufacturing.

I fear that the next World War will be a nuclear war.  We in the West have not the industrial capacity to fight a global conventional war anymore.  Nor, I fear, do we have the know-how in our imaginations and in our fingertips to create in needed volumes the tools, machines, and factories necessary to build such capacity quickly enough to respond to a major conflict without resorting to the nukes.  I find that downright frightening.

Over the past 50 years, we in the West have shipped these industrial capabilities to the East.

Many companies have sent their best (and often most senior) toolmakers, millwrights, and production engineers overseas to teach the newcomers to heavy industry how to do that at which we were once the best.  And the bright and skilled young people in our western societies who, in the 1930s or 1940s would have become skilled tradesmen, are now going to college, never again to dirty their hands.  This is the meaning of effete: to prefer any white-collar job, no matter how low-paying, to being seen as a member of the "working class."  Such thinking (and such public policy) has made plumbers scarce and rich, and teachers and bank tellers plentiful and poor.  The questionable quality of their education aside, Western universities produce far more graduates than our economies need, and our societies have far too few skilled technicians of many kinds.

After the "successful" invasion of Iraq in 2003, we failed to get the electricity to work in that country's major cities for three or more years!  We built in that much time the myriad armaments, thousands of ships and tens of thousands of airplanes with which to fight World War II on three continents, and in five oceans!  Why, in 2003, couldn't our President have called the CEOs of GE and Westinghouse together and said, "Your country needs you to get the lights on in Baghdad, and do it in three months!"  I fear it was because Westinghouse was no more, and GE was largely a hollow corporation.  I fear we have become industrially incompetent.

And it is not only Americans who have invested in this easterly tidal wave of industrial know-how.  Was not Volkswagen the leading producers of passenger cars in China throughout the 1990s?  (GM/Buick was a distant second.)

Meanwhile, even as much of The East has embraced the profit motive, The West has pursued socialism, albeit "creeping socialism," promising ever-more to its less productive citizens in the name of invented "rights," and misconstrued "compassion." Is it not more compassionate to get a family off welfare by providing a job that pays a living wage than to trap that family in dependency on governmental handouts?  Where is human dignity?  Where is one's pride?  Once the majority of citizens live off the government, who will be left to pay taxes?  Has the West learned nothing from the collapse of Communism?

If we live past 21 December 2012, which some predict we shall not, we may find that we miss our freedom, and the self-reliance that won it for us, and that built our great Western Civilization.  Where is Ralph Waldo Emerson, when we need him?

Oh, but Emerson's "Self-Reliance" is an essay longer than two pages!  In fact, I just printed it out on 15 pages.  It may be the most important set of ideas ever written about democracy, and about what makes democracy work.  But, will anyone take the time to read it?

I am a blessed man of a blessed generation.  I have lived in a golden age.  So, I do not begrudge prosperity and happiness to anyone.  If the peoples of the East  and South are willing to work hard and to learn industrial skills, then I shall applaud the economic progress that those efforts bring them.  It might become a great thing for Humanity, if the wealth of industrialization is more broadly distributed across the globe.  But, should we in the West be exiting the manufacturing sector?  Should decisions to outsource be made without any thought of their national or regional strategic effects?

Manufacturing, the function wherein I trained at General Motors, and in which I managed at two subsequent corporations, is little-appreciated in the boardrooms of too many American corporations.  A factory is not a black box from which flow products and problems, costs and strikes.   A factory is a strategic resource, filled with can-do people and creative talent.  It produces not just "goods," but also flexibility, on-time deliveries, quality, and ideas for improvements in all of those.  Without a factory, a product-company is hollow.  It becomes like a fortune-teller on the boardwalk, selling what it knows little about to people it cares nothing about, albeit at high margins.  Do we want to be such pure marketeers?  Or do we want to create real goods and real value?

Think twice, dear reader, before you allow your company to outsource your products.  You don't know what you've got, until you lose it.
* "You don't know what you've got, until you lose it," by songwriters Paul Hampton and George Burton, 1961.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tooth Problemth and Prothetheth

Sylvester from Looney Tunes (Warner Bros)
found at
When this story began, Ralu Tarcea was still living at "Hotel New Hampshire," Valer Şuteu had yet to arrive to begin his MBA program at Plymouth State University, and Roxana Fera was still teaching in Hangzhou, China, and working to get a student visa to come for graduate school at PSU.

It was the late spring of 2011.  I had never seen Panama, Alaska, or India.  It seems ages ago.

I am now, in the late summer of 2012, in the final stages of having three upper front teeth replaced with titanium implants, custom gold abutments, and porcelain crowns.  The job is being done at the Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University.  They have done a wonderful job so far, and I cannot say enough positives about the work done for me there.

The periodontal work by Dr. Konstantina (Tina) Thomadaki was outstanding.  When I met her over a year ago, I had two broken teeth at stations 8 and 10, the positions that had for almost eight years supported a bridge that included a prosthetic #9.  (For the uninitiated, teeth 8 and 9 are the "Two Front Teeth" of "All I want for Christmas..." fame.)  Dr. Tina's first job in the process, after preparing my chart and examining my x-rays, was to extract both those roots.  She eased both out whole, with no cracks or chips, and without injury to my upper jawbone (aka, my skull).  This was particularly worthy of note in that # 8 had had a root canal after being killed in a bicycle accident when I was 13, in 1956.  It was, no doubt, as brittle as a tooth can get.  Dr. Tina then placed "socket preservation" grafts in both the empty tooth sockets, a material made from powdered human bone.  The graft is assimilated into one's natural bone structure over the ensuing few months, and forms a solid base into which to screw titanium implants in the place of tooth roots.  Tina sutured my gums, and we waited.

Months passed.  Ralu dubbed me "Sylvester" for my prominent lisp, unavoidable when speaking without my temporary partial denture plate ("flipper").  Valer arrived and excelled in his master's courses.  Shirl and I drove over Christmas break to Florida and back with Valer, and in January flew to Panama to visit Melinda Pleşcan at Isla Contadora.  Professor Alexandra Mutiu (A3) arrived from Cluj to teach at PSU for the spring semester of  2012.  Ralu graduated with her MBA degree, and flew home to Romania.  Son Alex McDougall and Yvonne Wolfson set a date to be married.  Life went on.

After four months of healing, Dr. Tina went to work surgically, opening my gums to drill the holes for the implants, then implanting three tapered titanum tubes, threaded inside and out, to a measured torque.  This was a touchy job, as the three implants had to line up and be positioned precisely as indicated following a CAT scan of my head that allowed the prosthetics expert Dr. Aleksandar Vojdanoski to specify the ideal placements.  Tina again closed my gums with sutures, and again we waited months for the bone to bond permanently to the implants.

Son Jesse and Cally Wheeler got married in Vermont in one of the most perfect weddings ever seen on the planet.  Valer moved into Hotel New Hampshire for the summer to help at the house as I rode Rocinante to Alaska and back for six weeks.  Enroute, I lost my flipper, and lisped helplessly for three days, only to have the device turn up where I'd put it "for safe keeping," in my little-used right saddlebag, which I'd filled with my tools, spare water, and emergency gasoline (and my false teeth).  After I returned from the summer's long ride, Roxana Fera arrived after two years of teaching in China, and moved into Hotel New Hampshire as a new M.Ed. student at Plymouth State. Then I went to India on an ACBSP mission for ten days.  The months passed, as life went on.

This past Monday in Boston, the custom abutments were placed and their alignment approved.  It was perfect, according to Dr. Aleks: "Better than good!"  Now, under the able direction of Dr. Vojdanoski, the Goldman School's lab is making a frame to mount to the abutments to support the crowns.  Once that frame has been fitted, the lab will make my crowns.  Two more appointments, no more healing, and I shall have new teeth.  (God willing! Insh'Allah!)

Why did I not simply have another bridge made?  The answer is that I have been told, over and over, by dentists and recipients alike, that implants are the best way to replace missing teeth.  As I am only 69, and intend to live at least to 100.126 years of age (so as to celebrate Shirl's and my 70th Wedding Anniversary on 6 October, 2043), I decided to invest the time and money to do it right.  What's a year-and-a-half of minor inconvenience relative to thirty-one more years of comfortable eating?  A no-brainer, if you ask me!