, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

20160509_160929“You win some and you lose some, huh?” I asked my new doctor as she came into the room.

“What’s that?” she responded politely but puzzled by the question.

“I’m just wondering about what’s in your back yard,” I said.

While awaiting her arrival, rather than fiddling with my phone, I decided to get up and look around the room at the various pamphlets and models, eventually adjusting the blinds to look out the window. That’s when I beheld the sprawling cemetery. I took a picture.

“Oh, yeah,” she said and gave a pretty sizeable laugh. “The graveyard! I try to keep those blinds closed.”

“So,” I added, “what’s your success rate looking like these days? Did I choose wisely?”

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about, Reverend,” she said with a grin and sat down in the swivel chair near the examination table.

“Sure,” I said sounding much less confident. “Let’s just wait until we see the results from my physical.”

The conversation continued along jovially enough, even though I was being teed up for some things that would most likely skew the results of the blood pressure check.

The first was that I was about to be stabbed a few hundred times, gored by a nurse with a pack full of syringes and vials intent upon emptying my veins for the sake of “lab work.” Yeah, whatever. I already peed in a cup, and I’m sure there’s more than enough data to be mined right there.

The second, and while I know it may seem somewhat silly since almost everybody my age experiences the situation, has to do with the fact that I’m a very protected guy when it comes to my personal space, and my new doctor – a woman wearing rubber gloves – a woman who is not my wife – was about to breach the blessedness of my most sanctified nether-regions under the guise of “examination.”

I could not help but explain to her the uncomfortable nature of the whole thing. She laughed, of course, and said she’s been doing this for thirteen years and I wouldn’t be her first.

“You have other patients that are clergy, folks you might discover one day before you in a pulpit preaching of sin and grace? You have clergy you’ve asked to drop trow?”


“Then, yes, I am your first.”

And then at that point, I relented and began to glaze over into a stare through the window toward the not-too-distant horizon pocked with headstones and flowers.


Ah, the grave. Just through the pane and beyond the fence, a gentle and serene sight. Sunlit and verdant. And beneath the emerald gilding, no cares, no commotion, no turning and coughing.

But, wait. What cares are there for this moment? There are other concerns as I contemplate the beyond. What about Scotch? Will there be whiskies there in the eternal glories to receive me? Will they be waiting just after the woman with the rubber gloves pronounces my impending doom and I am soon found in the keep of the earth’s bosom? The Scriptures do not speak to this.

Survive, Chris. Fight on through this moment. Take hold of today and live on, for your home is well stocked with respectful editions that would never seek to pierce you nor violate your holy spaces, but would instead bring comfort.

Speaking of “verdant,” the Springbank 12-year-old Green edition was the first companion from my cabinet to be enlisted at the close of the traumatic day, and oh, what a comforting involvement it was.

On the nose, this Campbeltown prize brought serenity in a wafting litany of cranberry cookies and kippered caramel. This carried over into the first sip, which added a mere pinch of oatmeal and orange peel zest.

The finish left in a medium stroke, being sure to paint the whole mouth with an oily excess of citric salt.

Glass in hand, on second thought, there will most certainly be Scotch within the everlasting boundaries of heaven. But syringe-slinging brutes and rubber gloves, now, those will be as a fast-fleeting memory.