05/01/19

Norman Regional Hospital’s Bill Burrows, 68, completed the half marathon course at the recent Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

On Monday, April 29, Bill Burrows showed up for his regular 2:30-11 p.m. shift at the engineering plant at Norman Regional Health System just like has been doing for the previous five years.
A little stiff, a little sore, Burrows went on about his day like always.
Not bad for a 68-year-old who had just run a half marathon with half a lung.
“It was pretty good,” Burrows said. “Kind of the first time out so I didn’t know how I would do. I was kind of optimistic so I wouldn’t know until I did it.
“It went well. The temperature was good and I moved along pretty well considering my physical condition.”
Not bad at all considering just three years earlier he was staring a lung cancer diagnosis right in the face.
BUMP IN THE ROAD
The Norman resident and Norman Regional Health System employee, trained this past winter for the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon—his longest run since conquering lung cancer.
Burrows previously completed six full marathons and three half marathons before his lung cancer in 2016.
He has since ran one 5K this past fall but nothing like the distance he covered the final Sunday in April.
Burrows was diagnosed with lung cancer after seeing one of Norman Regional’s internal promotions for their $79 lung scan. The low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan is a noninvasive and painless way to screen for lung cancer.
Burrows said he decided to have the scan since it was a good price and would only take about 10 minutes.
Since he was a healthy runner he expected no problems to show on the scan, but his doctor called and said he wanted to have a specialist look it over just to make sure everything was fine.
Burrows had a stroke in 2010 and made it back from that so he figured this was nothing.
“I got it and they saw something,” he said. “I had a previous scan years before and this wasn’t there then.”
Burrows met with Norman Regional’s interventional pulmonary specialist Sergio Garcia, MD.
A biopsy was taken which revealed he had non-small cell carcinoma.
Soon after the news, Burrows was contacted by Norman Regional’s oncology nurse navigator Sherri Jo Johnson, R.N, who explained his diagnosis, the steps to deal with it and helped guide him throughout the treatment process.
Next Burrows had surgery to remove the top right lobe of his lung and became cancer free. Since the cancer was detected before it spread anywhere else in his body, Burrows did not need further treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy.
“Mr. Burrows is a prime example of why the lung screening program offered at Norman Regional Health System is very important,” Dr. Garcia said. “It provides early detection. This one simple scan saved his life.”
“I knew I would run again,” said Burrows, who helps maintain the system’s infrastructure. “I knew some day I was going to run from my house back to room 5207 at the Healthplex and back. That was a goal. The first year or so I was afraid to do too much because I didn’t want to blow anything up.”
When Burrows decided he wanted to run another half marathon, he knew it wouldn’t be easy.
Functionally, 50% of his total lung capacity remained.
Things would have to advance slowly.
He bought a $50 used treadmill and set it up at his house. He’d run for a few minutes, walk for a few more.
His main reasoning for wanting to push himself to run another half marathon and full marathons in the future is that he wants to do it for those who can’t—those who are going through chemotherapy, those who have a terminal diagnosis, and those who were unable to conquer their cancer.
After hearing about Burrows’ desire to run the half marathon, Dr. Garcia, Cardiothoracic Surgeon Kyle Toal, MD; Chief Nursing Officer Brittni McGill and Norman Regional’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation staff came together to provide Burrows an exercise plan and offer him the support he needed to ensure he was able to run safely.
Part of his exercise plan was monthly visits to Dr. Garcia’s office for cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) – a non-invasive procedure where a patient uses a treadmill while monitored by their physician or a respiratory therapist.
“I’m addicted again,” said Burrows, who plans on running the full marathon next April.
Quitting was never an option for the the Navy vet and New Jersey-born Burrows.
“I didn’t have the breath but it seemed like my muscles and legs were working,” he said. “I wasn’t going to stop. I just went mile by mile.”
One by one the miles added up as Burrows was counting them down.
“I’ll keep going,” Burrows said. “I refuse to get old.”

Dr. and Mrs. Bailey McBride use Tealridge Retirement Community as their home base while they travel the world.

story and photos by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

For 48 years, Dr. Bailey McBride taught and lived at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond.
“I love the students. The students were just so good,” Dr. McBride said. “They have great hearts. They have great sense of purpose and destiny for their own lives. They’re fun to work with and get to know.”
So when the time came after nearly a half century to stop teaching, McBride couldn’t imagine leaving campus.
Turns out he didn’t have to.
Nestled right on the 200-acre college campus is Tealridge Retirement Community, a full-service community providing independent, assisted living and memory care services to the community of Edmond.
The all-inclusive retirement community located in Edmond is designed for maintenance-free comfort, which freed up McBride to retire on his terms.
Dr. McBride remembers his decades at Oklahoma Christian fondly.
“Over the years there was a lot of changes in the way students looked at life,” he said. “When I first came to OC they looked at life much more positively than students nowadays do but I’ve seen some cycling back. “The last year I taught I had some of the most positive and optimistic freshman I had ever had. I really enjoyed it.”
Tealridge Retirement Community was also where he met his wife, Linda.
The two went out for lunch and things were never the same.
Now the pair will celebrate their second wedding anniversary this June in London. Linda’s grandchildren will come along for a trip of a lifetime.
“I really like the people who are a part of this community,” Dr. McBride said. “There isn’t anybody here that I don’t really enjoy being around. They’ve got great stories to tell and they’ve had great life experiences.”
“Good people.”
One of those people Dr. McBride admires is Cheryl Parker.
At 92, Parker has called Tealridge home for the better part of 12 years.
Along the way she was able to help guide two sisters through health issues, all the while coming back to Tealridge to rest and recharge.
“When they were beginning to build this they sent people out to different congregations to let them know what was happening,” Parker said. “We weren’t ready then to think about it but we put it in the back of our mind.”
“When it became time to think about coming over here my husband really was ready.”
Even after the passing of her husband, Parker knew Tealridge would always be her home.
“I knew several people and that helps a lot,” she explained of the feeling of comfort she felt when she moved in.
Across the hall from Parker lives Sarah Fleming, a relatively new Tealridge resident.
Fleming found her way to Tealridge the hard way from Lake Tenkiller.
“I fell four times in January flat on my face out in public of course,” she laughed. “My daughter lives in Edmond and had heard about Tealridge.”
Keeping up with a large house on an acre of land had become too much for Fleming. Living at the lake was fun, but being close to family and services when she needed them the most was more important.
Fleming found her faith at 15 and she believes it led her to where she is today.
“I have no doubt that this is where God wants me. I love people. I love getting to know people,” she said.
It only took a week before Tealridge Executive Director Melissa Mahaffey, MHA, asked Fleming to come visit her in her office.
The offer was extended for Fleming to help welcome new residents.
“I know this is where I’m supposed to be,” she laughed.
After seven houses in 14 states, Fleming says this is the first time she’s ever lived in a city.
And she loves it.
Dr. McBride and wife, Linda, are a different story.
Linda has two daughters – one in Colorado Springs and one in Edmond.
“When they decided I needed to be close to one of them the one with the grandchildren won out,” she said. “I told them up front I wasn’t playing favorites but … that certainly entered into the decision.”
Todd Markum and his wife, Nancy, sold their home just a half mile away to move to Tealridge.
“We always wanted to be here,” he said.“ We got the chance to do it and came.”
Their third-floor residence has a view overlooking geese, ducks and people fishing in the nearby pond. Ask around and the stories are similar among residents.
Tealridge Retirement Community was a choice. And one that everyone is glad they made.

Emerald Square Assisted Living Center is undergoing an exciting transformation under Heart Living Centers and new Executive Director Polly Milligan.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

Polly Milligan officially started her career in senior health as a dietary aide in a small Perry, Oklahoma residence as a young girl.
But truth be known the executive director of Emerald Square Assisted Living in Oklahoma City was born for working with seniors.
“I’ve literally known nothing else my entire life other than geriatrics,” Milligan said. “This is where I’m comfortable, this age group. I fit right in.”
That first dietary aide position quickly advanced when the dietary manager took ill and Milligan stepped in.
“One day no one showed up to work the floor and they said they needed some help,” Milligan said. “I did that and the steps kept going.”
The experiences of a lifetime spent taking care of others has landed her in the driver’s seat at Emerald Square Assisted Living where new ownership is investing in renovation and expansion with an eye on becoming the leading choice for thoughtfully-planned senior living in the metro.
A NEW HEART
With two decades spent in senior living, Milligan was comfortable right where she was at, leading a local residence owned by a nationwide company.
That was before the owners of Heart Living Centers called.
“I’m not one for small corporations much but there’s just something about this husband and wife that started this that I just knew was right,” Milligan said of the Colorado-based Heart Living Centers.
As the owners shared their passion for what they were doing, Milligan began to open up about hers.
“I was adopted by my grandmother when I was six weeks old out of an orphanage,” Milligan said. “My mother and father, when they divorced, neither wanted the kids. There were three of us so they put us in an orphanage.”
“My mother was 67 years old when she adopted me and she was taking care of her two oldest sisters.”
Due to her age, the orphanage would only let Milligan’s new mother, a Pentecostal preacher, adopt one child.
“Being an infant girl, she knew if I got adopted she would never see me again so she adopted me and bought the house across the street to the orphanage so she could stay next door to my brothers,” Milligan said.
Milligan still remembers going across the street every day to play with her siblings at the orphanage.
It was all about family and honoring that bond.
Milligan has carried that with her ever since, building relationships wherever she has gone.
At Emerald she called on those relationships to begin putting her touch on the facility immediately.
VETERAN APPROVED
Milligan leads one of only a handful of residences in the metro that carries a special Veteran’s Administration approved designation.
“We have a lot of veterans here,” Milligan said. “The VA’s representatives come here frequently and visit their veterans and insure their needs are met. If we need something for them we can just call them and they will bring it to us. They take care of their transportation to their doctor’s visits.”
“It’s a whole working system.”
The designation means that approximately half of Emerald’s residents have served our country with pride.
Building on that program is on her to-do list.
Overseeing construction of more independent cottages in the back of the facility is also on her radar.
A new memory care will soon be offered.
“I’m so excited,” Milligan beamed. “It totally has blown my mind.”
Milligan’s staff is all hand picked through her years of experience in the industry.
They’ve helped initiate resident-favorite amenities.
Soon, Emerald Square residents will experience all-day dining, allowing them total control of when and what they will eat.
“It’s essentially a restaurant open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at night,” Milligan said. “They’ll be able to order and eat whenever they are ready.”
There so much excitement around Emerald Square right now but some things will not change.
“The biggest thing is I have one expectation,” Milligan began. “The expectation I have of everyone is to take care of the residents to the best of your ability. Everything else will take care of itself. Your finances will be fine. Your staff will be happy. Your residents will be happy.”
“You have to provide the best care you can. You never tell a resident they can’t do something. You find a way to make it happen because we are in their house.”

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

A new healthcare delivery concept partnering Integris and Emerus Holdings, Inc. is popping up all over the metro.
And the move is creating more options for local nurses.
As part of its expansion initiative, Integris, the state’s largest nonprofit health care system, entered into a joint venture partnership with Emerus, the nation’s first and largest operator of micro-hospitals, to build and manage four new community hospitals.
“Oklahomans have told us they want quicker, more convenient medical care without compromising quality or safety,” said Timothy Pehrson, president and chief executive officer at Integris. “These community hospitals allow us to do just that, bring high-quality care closer to home for many of the residents we serve.”
In February, Integris Community Hospital at Council Crossing, 9417 N. Council Road., opened followed by Integris Moore Community Hospital at 1401 SW 34th St. at the end of the month.
In March, Integris Del City Community Hospital, 4801 SE 15th St, began accepting patients.
Later in May, the Integris OKC West Community Hospital at 300 S. Rockwell Ave., will open.
Emerus Holdings Inc., is the nation’s first and largest operator of these small-format facilities and promises the new sites will bring a transformative concept of health care to Central Oklahoma.
Emerus Chief Executive Officer Craig Goguen said the company is honored to partner with INTEGRIS, an award-winning, highly respected health system brand, as it expands its footprint throughout central Oklahoma.
“Our transformative concept of health care allows great health systems like Integris to expand its reach into the community to provide a variety of patient services that are fast, convenient and economical,” Goguen said.
Christopher McAuliffe, BSN, MBA, RN, CAPA is the Emerus market chief nursing officer and says the new concept will bring options for both consumers and health care workers.
“In addition to serving areas considered underserved in their healthcare needs, the small-scale, fully licensed inpatient hospital is open 24 hours, seven days a week,” McAuliffe said. “It is conveniently located in communities where patients live, work and play, providing them with quick and easy access when they have emergency medical needs. If the patient requires additional specialty services, working with our partner, INTEGRIS Health, we can quickly access appropriate services and make transfers, as needed.”
McAuliffe said the concept is using the same electronic medical record system used by Integris.
The small-scale inpatient hospital provides many efficiencies resulting from its smaller footprint. Parking is ample and accessible, compared to the large hospital setting.
“There are several resources, from a clinical standpoint, that improve quality of care,” McAuliffe said. “We have a CT/X-ray room dedicated specifically to our patients. We do not do any outpatient diagnostics, leaving the RT to focus only on those patients who come through the ED or an ordered inpatient test.
“We also have staff cross-trained to do many different roles. All clinical staff, RT, ED Tech and Nursing staff are thoroughly trained in our lab. This allows us to quickly complete a lab order, from start to finish, without having to wait on the tube system or on another department in a remote location to complete.”
McAuliffe stressed that the hospitals will operate through a teamwork concept that has Emerus numerous awards including the Guardian of Excellence Award for Superior Patient Experience from 2013 to 2017.
These new community hospitals will serve a variety of patient needs including emergency medical care, inpatient care and other comprehensive health services. While the ancillary services vary, each community hospital has a set of core services including the emergency department, pharmacy, lab and imaging.
The rest of the services depend on the needs of the community, but common examples include primary care, dietary services, women’s services and low-acuity outpatient surgeries. The community hospitals offer:
* Health system integration — allowing for care coordination, consultation and seamless transition across the care continuum
* Fully licensed as a hospital and subject to all hospital conditions of participation and regulatory requirements
*Emergency-trained physicians and outpatient ambulatory clinical services on site — ensuring patients receive the highest quality care, when they need it
* Inpatient bed capacity — allowing patients to stay closer to home when lower level admissions/recoveries are needed
* All patients accepted without regard to insurance or ability to pay, including Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare
* Community-based hospitals open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – offering ease of access to our patients
“The joint venture with Integris greatly benefits patients,” McAuliffe said. “In the metro, several of the Integris facilities have been experiencing large volumes of patients, resulting in some challenges. Our 32 additional inpatient beds allow Integris the opportunity to have additional clinical resources.
“The 32 additional ED beds help reduce the strain on the often overcrowded Emergency Rooms Integris frequently experiences.”

SHAWNEE, OK – Two of the many incredible facts about the Monarch Butterfly is that they are important and beautiful. Join the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and several conservation partners for the FREE pollinator workshop and lunch on May 29 in Shawnee. This workshop is titled, “Monarch Butterfly, Importance of Pollinators” and it is certainly one in which you will want to bring a friend.
At this workshop, Michael Sams of NRCS will talk about NRCS Monarch and Pollinator Conservation Efforts in Oklahoma.
Tonee Wolf of the Choctaw Nation will provide a Choctaw Nation Pollinator Project update. Also, the Chickasaw Nation Pollinator Initiatives will be covered.
Plus, Jane Breckinridge will share about projects of the Euchee Butterfly Farms.
NRCS partners for the workshop include, the Oklahoma Tribal Conservation Advisory Council (OTCAC), other USDA agencies and conservation groups. The Seminole, Shawnee and Konawa Conservation Districts are the district partners for the workshop.
Our conservation program discussions will be led by Farm Service Agency, National Agriculture Statistics Service, NRCS, and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and others.
The workshop will be held on May 29th and will start at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held at Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) South Reunion Hall, located at 1702 Gordon Cooper Dr., in Shawnee, 74801. The South Reunion Hall is located behind the CPN Putt Putt and on the south side of Firelake grocery store.
Attendees are encouraged to pre-register by May 23rd by calling Marie Youngblood, (405) 273-2076, ext. 3 or emailing Jane Breckinridge, jbreckinridget@hotmail.com or contacting Dr. Carol Crouch carol.crouch@usda.gov , (405) 742-1203. The workshop is open to the public.
Questions?
Email nrcsinfo@ok.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
If reasonable accommodation is needed please notify when you RSVP to Dr. Carol Crouch at 405-742-1203 or carol.couch@usda.gov.
Who: Open to the Public
When: 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 29 – RSVP DUE May 23rd
Where: Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) South Reunion Hall, located at 1702 Gordon Cooper Dr., in Shawnee, 74801. The South Reunion Hall is located behind the CPN Putt Putt and on the south side of Firelake grocery store.

What brings you the most joy in life? Tealridge Retirement Community

Family. We have seven grand kids and I love being around them.

Todd Markum

Seeing my kids, grand kids and great grand kids. All of them came for my 90th birthday.

Cheryl Parker

People, because I don’t get to see my family often.

Sarah Fleming

Family, friends and travel. I like to see all that God has made in the world.

Dr. Bailey McBride

James Brigida is a Certified Flight Registered Nurse and a National Registered Paramedic for Medi Flight based out of Chickasha, OK. He has exceptional medical skills while on the ground and in flight.

by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

If you find yourself looking for James Brigida, you will most likely have to look up in the sky. He will be one of the three crew members on the Medi Flight helicopter. James is a Flight Nurse and a National Registered Paramedic.
Born in Las Angeles, CA and raised in the bay area, James was in his early twenties when he decided to visit a cousin in Oklahoma. He liked Oklahoma so much, he decided to move here and go to nursing school. That was sixteen years ago and he has enjoyed his job ever since. Having a job as a paramedic in 1998, he soon had the opportunity to be a flight paramedic. From there, he became an RN, and then a Certified Flight Registered Nurse. “I was getting great critical care experience and good basic knowledge. Now, I work for Medi Flight based out of Chickasha, OK and the parent company, Air Methods is based out of Denver, CO,” he said.
James explained how the helicopter crew consisted of one pilot, one nurse and one paramedic. “We have to do some life-threatening actions. There are two different types of flight emergencies calls. 1. Scene flight; a call made by a firefighter or a policeman. 2. Transfer call; these are the phone calls usually coming from smaller towns where there is no hospital; needing to transfer the person by helicopter,” James said. “Either way, the flight nurse and paramedic have to know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. We have seconds to take care of that patient in a unique and isolated situation while we are 1,000 feet in the air. We have to have critical thinking skills, performing emergency procedures. Seconds count! The flight nurse and flight paramedic work as equals,” he added.
“Flight nurses have bits of the same schedule as a firefighter. We work 24 hours, twice a week. We have eight flight nurses and eight flight paramedics with four shifts, rotating the schedule. Medi Flight is at Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha, OK. Mr. Deacon Vice is the Medical Director of the ER there,” James commented.
Does the helicopter fly in any weather? “Actually, the pilot of the helicopter is like a weatherman. They have to know all of the weather conditions before taking off. There has to be 1,000 feet from the ground to the ceiling (clouds) and be able to see two miles ahead for visibility. In the winter, they have to watch for the helicopter freezing over,” James replied.
Asking James to describe himself, he said, “I’m an outgoing, passionate guy that has a true desire to help. I am a great team player and have a lot of empathy for others.”
What advice would you give to someone if they wanted to be a flight nurse? “I would encourage them to start out by getting experience in the critical care unit. The reason is the fact that all of this training and experience will get them closer to becoming a flight nurse. Also, get all of the certifications you can. It will be even better when you try to get a job as a flight nurse,” James answered.
James isn’t always up in the sky though. “I also have a second job,” James said. “I work at the OU Trauma Center in the ER. This is the one and only Trauma Center in Oklahoma. I am blessed to have a job that I love, doing what I love to do, helping others and fulfilling my passion for flying.”
Living in Edmond, OK, James is married to the love of his life, Patty. They have three children, Matthew, 18, Dante, 20 and Alejandra 22.
James’ hobbies include exercise; working out at a great place called True Grit in Edmond, OK. “It can be a great stress-reliever,” James said. “That’s pretty much my hobby. Working out and sleeping. I love to sleep,” he said with a laugh.
From the days of his childhood, dreaming of aviation and flying, James is blessed to have the title Flight Nurse. “I get to take care of patients and fly in a helicopter. I continue to learn and use my critical thinking skills in my everyday job. I have a wonderful family and I continue to help others in any way that I can, in the air and on the ground,” James said.
Asking James to sum up his life in one word, he answered, “passionate”.

Danna Johnson, RN is the Executive Director of The Veraden, where you will find independent living, assisted living and memory care.

by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

Located in the sought after city of Edmond, OK, you will find The Veraden, a clear choice for today’s retirees and their families. With medical services, shopping, restaurants and hospital all close by, conveniences are built right it. Danna Johnson, RN is the Executive Director at The Veraden. Danna Johnson has been a nurse for over 25 years and an Executive Director at other long-term care for 11 years.
Opening in January in 2017, The Veraden modernizes and redefines the retirement experience. With independent, assisted living and memory care apartments, every need is addressed with styles and compassion.
Born and raised in Dodge City Kansas, Danna attended school in Kansas and the Belleview University of Nebraska. She moved to Oklahoma City, OK in 2010.
What qualities make a good nurse? “A nurse needs to be caring and compassionate, striving for excellence in everything they do, have a positive attitude and make the residents happy. The residents come before anything else,” Danna replied. “There are 142 residents here and each one of them is special in their own way. Their care is the main focus of the caregivers here at The Veraden,” she added. “The title of Executive Director is only as good as the people underneath them,” Danna commented. “Here, we care about the one-on-one with the families. Everyone works very hard making the residents happy. Their happiness makes the whole day brighter.”
What is your favorite part of your job? “I love spending time with each of the residents and I like helping serve their lunch to them, helping any way I can. I think I spend more time in the dining area than anywhere else because I want to visit with all of the residents,” she said. “The number one concern is to make the resident feel loved, cared for and happy. I like to make them smile and laugh!” Danna answered.
“The biggest challenge in healthcare is the turnover in our 3-11 shift. Sometimes, the third shift can be the hardest shift to cover. We always seem to manage though and I think that is because everyone is willing to help out the other. Teamwork plays a very important part in working here, “Danna said.
Danna enjoys her job as Executive Director and sees herself here at The Veraden in five years from now or longer. “I like my work here and there are a lot of great nurses, caregivers and staff here. We support each other and we all help out in any way that we can,” Danna said. “That can be hard to do in a workplace such as nursing and long term care, “she added.
Asking Danna to describe herself, she replied: “I am a happy-go-lucky person; I smile a lot and laugh a big portion of the time. People say that I have a contagious laugh and the residents know when I am coming down the hallway. We try to keep the residents happy. None of us want to let the residents feel sad about anything,” Danna commented.
Recognition speaks volumes here at The Veraden. “We got voted as being the best Senior Care facility in Edmond, OK for 2018. It was such an honor because the people of Edmond voted for us and votes were announced in the Edmond Sun newspaper that we won! We even won over the winners that had been chosen for the last nine years. What a great feeling to be honored as the best senior facility in Edmond, OK,” Danna said. “In April 2019, there will be an Awards Banquet and one person from each area (The best of the best) of Veraden will be chosen and for that reason will attend the Annual Banquet.”
Danna enjoys spending time with her husband, Tony and her daughter Hannah – 16 and son Dean – 10. “Family time is very important to me,” Danna said. When asked what her favorite T.V. medical show was. “I hardly ever have time to watch T.V. but when I did; my favorite medical show was ER. I guess that tells you how long it has been since I watched a show like that,” she said with a laugh.
“Every day at work, I start off with a positive quote for our nurses, caregivers and staff. I like to set a positive attitude first thing in the morning. It seems to brighten everyone’s day, along with the residents,” Danna said. On a personal note, Danna’s daily words of encouragement are live, laugh and love. “I live by those words every day,” she said.

Darlene Franklin is both a resident of Crossroads of Love and Grace in Oklahoma City, and a full-time writer.

By Darlene Franklin

(Happy Mother’s Day)

In my childhood, I thought my mother knew everything. In my teens and early twenties, I thought I knew everything and she knew nothing. In my thirties, I decided Mom knew more than I thought and by my forties, I realized she knew a whole lot more than I do, and she was right most of the time. Now In my fifties and sixties, I wish she was here so I could just talk with her.
(paraphrase of an anonymous saying about fathers)
This bit of folk wisdom gets me every time. The older I get, the more I recognize my mother’s wisdom and forbearance. I miss her, terribly.
Then I wonder, “am I turning into her?” I am, after all, now the matriarch of my family.
Although Mom and I made a point of preparing for motherhood, we shared feelings of doing a sub-par performance at the most important job in our lives. My son, in spite of his rocky beginnings, handles the task of raising a family in today’s world much better than I ever did. That gives me hope that I did something right.
Did my mother feel the same way? Did she wonder where I found the grace to be strong and grow in wisdom and persevere in the midst of the trials I faced? Did she doubt herself or did she give herself any credit?
If I could ask her, I suspect we would both agree to a reversal of the saying I used above. It would read something like this:
When I became a mother, I had to know everything, or pretend I did. I was responsible for this helpless human being.
Then my children became teenagers. I didn’t know how to lead them in the right direction. What I did say, they misunderstood and dismissed.
In their twenties, they found a steady home, and love, I decided they had learned something after all, and I respected their right to make their own decisions.
(True for too many) Then my child was imprisoned/lost to drug addiction/committed suicide, and I knew I had utterly failed.
But my son married and started a family and actually me for help. In his thirties, he bragged about my growing writing career. He called me several times a week, to talk about two common passions—the Bible and movies—to brag on the grandkids and to ask my opinion. I wondered how this marvelous, mature young man had come out of me.
And now, as I am drawing nearer to death, my grandchildren think I know the answer to every question—because they haven’t stumped me yet—and they want me to life forever.
Dearest son, dearest daughter-in-law, dearest grandchildren. I won’t. I can’t. Besides, you don’t need me. You need the Lord, the fountain of wisdom. But you already know that.
As human beings, we all go through a spell where we question our family’s values and establish our own. I suppose that’s our free will at work, the same principle that t allows us to say “no” to God.
Yes, our children often pick up some of our bad habits. But here’s the good news: they also practice some of our good habits, too.
Take my family. Some of our less than endearing family traits? A tendency to obesity. We sometimes lose ourselves in a dreamworld instead of staying grounded in reality. We find it easy to procrastinate and inconvenience those around us. We struggle with a family history of sexual and physical abuse.
Sounds ugly, and it can be.
Some of our good traits? A faith that is a strong in my granddaughter as it was in my mother. We’re smart, creative, and love to learn.
Now I sound like I’m bragging. Not really. Have you ever heard how our strengths are our weaknesses turned inside out, and vice versa? Rejoice when our children reflect our strong points. Share with them what we’ve learned about our weaknesses. They’ll treasure that wisdom later in life. Daughter learns from mother. Daughter becomes a mother. Now daughter teaches her children.
What a beautiful cycle God designed for us. Although I use the words “mother” and “daughter” here, in honor of Mother’s Day. the sentiment rings true across the family board, Celebrate it!

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn t4z@aol.com

Here are more options for your travel comfort tour as we continue our Palm Springs tasting which began in last months issue. Restaurants abound in Greater Palm Springs. I say Greater Palm Springs as that includes the adjacent towns of Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs, and Rancho Mirage. Each city has its own upscale resorts and dining options too numerous to mention here.
Concentrating on Palm Springs proper we find, Spencer’s, https://www.spencersrestaurant.com, next to the racket club, also with welcomed valet parking, which offers an excellent and cozy patio dining beneath an ancient spreading ficus tree. Very very popular and busy in a friendly way, but when I ordered my Martini with “ice on the pond”, meaning so cold and diligently shaken that tiny ice floats on the top, I got my beverage but with ice on the side in a glass, which I found amusing. It was so busy the waiter must have misheard my instructions. The well-dressed luncheon clientele were also enjoying the exquisite tomato basil bisque with the a little too dry honey brine pork chops, and delicious corn cake. Eaves dropping on neighboring tables juicy conversations can be intriguing. Spencer’s has a strict dining scheduled and reservations are mandatory, even for lunch.
For a touch of French dining, Le Vallauris, www.levallauris.com, on West Tahquitz Canyon Way, is your choice. Tucked up near a canyon cliff, Le Vallauris with its fresh roses distributed throughout the dining areas, the chalk board type menus, and the congenial and efficient wait staff lets you know you are in a special place. With upscale elegance, dining inside or preferred out, was the perfect bon voyage for me as I was flying out that afternoon. I saved the best for last. The many items on the luncheon menu all were tempting, but with my theme of comfort food I had the Eggs Benedict with prosciutto. I like a super lemony Hollandaise but did not need to ask for more of it on the side, as it was generously served. When I think of this dish in the future, it will always be compared to mine at Le Vallauris. Owner Omar, who travels the world was kind enough to join me for a brief conversation and pose for a photo as he was explaining the chalkboard menu to other eager patrons. In keeping with seasonal best gourmet dishes, Le Vallauris offers frequent email updates to the menu, to remind you of their expertise in freshness and an initiation to return,
Of course reservations are needed in Palm Springs whether for dining or of course for overnight lodgings. I had no reservation at the poolside/patio at the Riviera Resort (psriviera.com) but had a delight lunch lounging around the pool like I was a guest. I think the accommodations there would be perfect for a mid-range budget.
On the upscale side of Palm Springs is the new downtown Kimpton Rowen. (rowanpalmsprings.com) The posh high-rise roof top restaurant, Four Saints, is a touch of elegance from the liquor bottles floating above the bar and the see and be seen dining area which is topped off only by the adjacent roof top pool and specialty bar. You need not order a full meal as an $18 appetizer and beverage can satisfy your palate. An eccentric Palm Springs sight was a well-behaved dog rolled into the dining room in a black baby stroller. I asked my entertaining waiter about this and he said,”You can see anything in Palm Springs.”
If you are an adventurous male, the all male clothing optional accommodation at INNdulge, https://inndulge.com/, in the Warm Springs neighborhood will be a most comfortable experience, with morning Continental breakfast, evening cocktail time, congenial guests and heated pool and hot tub. The staff is most helpful in offering suggestions for your Greater Palm Springs experience. The bars clustered on E Arenas Road is a hit and miss pleasure.
Comfort can easily be discovered in Greater Palms Springs with prepared planning. Due to a recent flash flood the aerial tramway was closed, but is recommended. With a car it can be entertaining just driving around with no real destination in mind. You might find you self at the Palm Springs original sight or the botanical gardens or an unexpected stop at an art gallery or antique shop. Having visited there several times over the years, I had an idea of what would suit my comfort level, and in retrospect I accomplished another happy destination experience.
While the personnel is over whelmed at the CVB they can be contacted at www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com Their hard copy visitor’s guide, more like a magazine, is more helpful than their online edition. In it you will find shopping suggestions for each greater Palm Springs city. They will send you one but you must request such several weeks in advance of your browsing.

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