Among Friends

Yesterday, I stood at a point about equidistant between our first and second homes–the first, in town on a wide street in what has become a designated “historic district”; and the second, our little farm house just outside town that bordered the cemetery of Berea Church. At noon, I read to the rotary club the tale in the book I called “Like a Dog.” The “Euell” of that story (and others in the book) was in the audience, an invited guest, near eighty now.

To have him there, such a good friend, mentor and surrogate parent all those years, and share our lives since Wytheville with him and with other faces from our past was truly wonderful. The college president who hired me in 1974 was there. Wow. And from that meeting, I will now have an opportunity in March to speak at the community college to an audience of townspeople and students. I taught there for 12 years. Now I come back wearing another hat, with another voice, before an altogether different population of “students”. Life is good.

And life goes on.

Whatever bug had me yesterday morning relented under the force of adrenalin and responsibility, and other than being a little nauseous and unable to eat the nice lunch buffet at the rotary gathering, I wasn’t too ill during the day yesterday—until last night, when the malaise (achy joints, raw skin, too-cold/hot) fell with a vengeance. Ann slept upstairs out of the influence of my toxic cloud.

And I slept like a baby. And at least right this minute at 5 a.m., I feel super! (Way to go, Immune System!) And that is a good thing for many reasons, not the least of which the fact that I will be forced to sit and act attentive all day in Roanoke at the last of my mandatory continuing ed meetings that I need before Dec 31 to keep my PT license. (I couldn’t NOT go just because I was deathly ill.)

So maybe I’ll be fit enough to feign attention and read the latest Orion magazine I’ll hide in my notebook. May even be able to get a seat on the outside where I can plug in the laptop and browse. Or blog?

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. glad you’re feeling better. and you just proved a theory i’ve heard right……that teacher’s make the worst students….sneaking in a magazine or blogging during class? tsk,tsk,tsk! (just kidding…)