Last Wednesday was a good day. Not that every day I can work and talk to my friends is not a good day. They are all good days. But yesterday was exceptional. I received two pieces of good news.
One is what I learned from a good friend. It was a possible good ending to three hundred years of oversight. It was a government mistake, which affected my friend and all his relatives.
Vince Syphax, a longtime friend, stopped by. We sat on my front porch, as Cleo listened from where she sat a few feet away, while he told me the purpose of his visit. He told me he had been asked to direct a reenactment of a part of American History of which Vince and his ancestors are a part.
Three hundred years ago, Martha Washington, before she married George, had slaves. Upon her marriage, she freed her slaves. Two of them were married and as a wedding present, were deeded sixteen acres of land, a part of what is now Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.They were Vince’s ancestors.
Later an ancestor of George Washington and Martha Custis’ union married Robert E. Lee. Lee lived in the same house and on the same land that George and Martha owned, a part of that same land, now Arlington National Cemetery. I told that story in Chapter 64 of Lake County History.
My second good news is more personal. My friends will understand that such things may happen as we grow older. It was what Dr. Sanford, my doctor told me last Wednesday. It meant I would be able to continue writing my stories.
Two years ago, the doctors in San Francisco discovered a bean-sized cancer on my left kidney. The excellent medical people in Ft. Miley went to work to find out what could be done to send that unwelcome visitor packing. Every six months, thereafter, they knocked me out and sent a small camera into my plumbing to investigate.
The first time their miniature camera spotted the thing, my unwelcome guest, a miniature laser burned it to smithereens. A second time the cancer, apparently, had not got the message. It came back. These investigations, which they call Minor Procedures, include all the attachments and features of any surgery. They were fun times I experienced every six months for all of the two years. The doctors had to keep checking to make sure my intruder understood it was not welcome. They kept checking every six months.
Last Wednesday, I went to the VA in San Francisco for the seventh Minor Procedure. When I woke up, Dr. Sanford gave me his report. After checking seven times, my unwelcome visitor seems to have taken the hint and gone away. For good, I hope. It had not reappeared.
Dr. Sanford said, “Mr. Paleno, don’t come back for a year before we look again.”
A year is as good as forever. So you see why last Wednesday was great news for my friend and great news for me.