Thursday, November 22, 2012

22 NOV 2012

For me, there's a double significance to this date.

Primarily, it is the Thanksgiving holiday. I have many things for which to be grateful, most having to do with family and friends. Life’s not perfect, but things are SO much better than they might have been.

Holly’s lovely daughter is hosting the holiday dinner today, a first for her. She is betrothed to a fine young man. Holly’s son has the duty today and lives too distant to come visit for only one day anyway. David, my younger son will be present, but Matt has other commitments today.

I am reminded that 22NOV is the 49th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It seems that most generations have some signal event, one from which we can date ‘most everything that went before or came later. Everyone alive and aware on certain dates can tell where they were and what was happening when they heard of the Pearly Harbor attack, or the terrorist acts of 11SEP2001.

My first such recollection came with the murder of our president. I was a college student at TCU in Fort Worth, and worked full time at a major hospital as a surgical technician. That day, I was running late for my lunch break, having been asked to assist Doctor Joe Wise with removal of a woman’s gall bladder. I was flattered that the old surgeon respected my ability enough to ask for me to help him. In retrospect, perhaps he simply appreciated that I was tall enough to see what he was doing, without getting in his way. It was a simple enough procedure, and it wasn’t necessary to tie up another surgeon as first assistant.

Of that procedure, I recall only that it was proceeding smoothly and that we were something over halfway done. Mrs. Ruby Sargis, RN, was the surgical department supervisor. She stepped inside the door of our OR, holding a mask to her face. She said something like, “President Kennedy has been shot. It happened in downtown Dallas.” She has no other information but said she’d let us know when she learned more.

Doctor Wise was a solid professional, and I like to think that the rest of the staff were steady. We broke no speed records in completing the cholecystectomy, but neither did we tarry. Later, we took turns watching the few (two?) television receivers in the OR suite, but we took care of business. Some employees were released early. As I recall, I finished my shift..

I’ll not rehash the history of that day and those following. If you don’t recall the history, it’s easy to find huge gouts of information --and MISinformation-- on the ’net. None of my observations or memories are of historical value. I’d been within a mile or two of the president as he left Fort Worth an flew to Dallas that morning. I was something over 30 miles distant when he was killed. My activities during that time were of interest only to me, and perhaps a few friends. It was a significant day in my life, but in no way due to anything I did or said.

I’m glad that this Thanksgiving is so much happier that the one in 1963.