The extent of opposition from parents to having their children immunized against measles is surprising, at least to me.
Even in the “dark ages” in the rural North Carolina foothills, my parents believed in having their children vaccinated against whatever affliction we might contact. Furthermore, we had to walk 3 miles to town under a hot summer sun to the annual clinic for those free “shots.”
One summer, one of my older brothers became a folk hero of sorts when the nurse’s needle broke in half as she tried to plunge it into his sun-toughened and hard-muscled arm.
The word quickly spread around the county: “They broke off the needle in Grady Snow’s arm!”
The ominous news discouraged some from getting the typhoid and diphtheria immunizations, resulting in lower-than-normal participation.
We were later spared the long walk to town for our “shots” when my sister graduated from nursing school and vaccinated the entire family.
Usually, I was the last to be vaccinated. Someone first had to find me hiding in the barn loft or at the top of a tree and drag me, yelling and kicking, within range of the dreaded needle.
I’m not criticizing parents who, out of fear that the vaccine causes autism, are wrestling with the decision on whether to have their kids vaccinated.
But much of the medical community is in agreement that a Lancet magazine report linking the two has been totally disproved.
The big literary news of the season is the impending publication of Harper Lee’s other novel, a book we thought would never materialize after her 1960 Pulitzer Prize classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Now, “Go Set a Watchman,” said to have been completed in the mid-1950s, hidden away and almost forgotten, is eagerly anticipated. Written before “Mockingbird,” “Go Set A Watchman” takes place 20 years later.
When I think of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I am reminded of one of my wife’s students at N.C. State.
For her oral interpretation of literature class, students were required to view videos of former students’ performances and write analyses of them.
One night as she was grading the papers, my wife handed me one from a student who had analyzed a reading from “To Kill A Mockingbird.” He titled his paper, “Tequila Mockingbird.”
I’ll bet even the serious, reclusive Harper Lee would be amused.
Our new U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis lost no time in making news. His suggestion that requiring food service employees to wash their hands after using the toilet is unnecessary government intervention caused quite a stir.
He would ban the mandate.
Personally, I like to think that the person who puts my Big Mac together has clean hands, even if there is no enforcement process behind the rule.
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley asked, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
With the kind of cold we’ve had this winter, I sincerely hope spring is not going to be tardy. Nineteen degrees is a bit much for us warm weather devotees.
Cold is actually physically painful to me.
Yet recently I glanced out the dining room window at the construction crew remodeling the house next door. Among the workers milling about was a young man with no shirt on.
I checked the porch thermometer. 42 degrees!
But while I whine about the local weather, I keep in mind this winter’s devastating attacks on those living north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Look soon for a migration South, not just by birds, but by northern natives who will decide, “I just can’t take it anymore,” pull up stakes and move to warmer climes.
How we strain our senses for signals of spring.
Minute by minute, the days are getting longer, pushing night’s curtain a bit further back.
The hoot owl behind the house has resumed his plaintive questioning, “Whooo? Whooo?”
At breakfast, my wife opens the back door so we can better hear the house wren’s concerto as she sits on the bird feeder, her tiny chest rising and falling with her arias.