Friday, October 28, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #260

Journal of a Living Lady #260

Nancy White Kelly

I was looking through old family pictures last week and found a photograph of a middle-aged man I didn’t know. The picture was black and white and was probably taken in the sixties. The heavy-set man had bushy, undisciplined eyebrows atop twinkling eyes.

Then I remembered. That was Jake, the one and only Lucius Jacob McKinney. I met Jake at a writing seminar in Minneapolis, Minnesota years ago. We sat together for a few classes and had conversations that ran the gamut from serious to down-right funny. Jake could tell some tall tales, taller than any building Superman could have scaled. I think the story about his Uncle Robert and Cousin Luke was just that, a story. You be the judge.

According to Jake, Uncle Robert would frequently take his son, Luke, to the Mississippi River bank. For the entire week-end they would camp and troll for catfish. After a particularly good day of fishing, the father and son decided to fry up a few of catfish for supper. Luke’s mother always sent along oil and meal for frying.
It took a whit to get the fire going, but when the oil was hot, Uncle Robert quickly battered the catfish and dropped them into the boiling grease. After a few minutes, the crust turned a golden brown, but there was something different about this batch. White bubbles formed in the oil and a strange odor filled the air.

Uncle Robert figured maybe the fish were polluted or sick. Before taking a chance that his son would eat something toxic, he took a small taste. Without a moment’s hesitation, he immediately spit it back out.

Along with white corn meal, it seems that Jake’s wife had sent along some Tide washing powder. According to Jake, Uncle Robert and Luke had the cleanest fish in town.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady

Journal of a Living Lady #259

Nancy White Kelly

Where did the week go? The last few days are a blur. Thinking back, it has been a typical week. Routine chores: groceries, laundry, bill paying. Then there were the usual mid-week church activities. We visited a sick neighbor. Yesterday some friends invited Buddy and me for a spur-of –the moment pontoon boat ride, probably the last one of the season.

Today I have been studying and typing, preparing for a weekly Bible study that I teach. The subject has been The Case for Faith. As a class, we have examined ancient manuscripts, extra-biblical writings, and first-century eye-witness reports. PowerPoint slides illustrated scientific data that confirms Bible statements written centuries ago. Recent archaeological finds identify specific places, people, and events documented in the scriptures. The class has examined a few of the thousands of fulfilled biblical prophecies and is concluding with the best case for faith: Answered prayer.

Most regular readers are aware of my case, but wonder how this column came to be. My second diagnosis of cancer in the late 1990’s was considered terminal. On one of my good days, the publisher of this newspaper and I talked about death over lunch. We acknowledged it was a taboo subject that few people will discuss. Even fewer write about it. She wanted to know what it was like to know your life’s clock was winding down.

Our serious conversation was punctuated with more than a few laughs. Then the idea hit us both. Before dessert, I agreed to write a journal, chronicling a supposedly losing battle with cancer. It was to be objective but not maudlin. The column began as Journal of a Dying Lady, but eventually became the Journal of a Living Lady. The rest is history.

Quite often I am introduced as a local celebrity. That thought is amusing to me and was never a goal. Yet, being on Oprah, publishing a book about this cancer journey and having national TV cameras in town has brought notoriety. Frankly, it has been a hoot of a ride in spite of my dogged battle with the big C.

Even when in the hospital, tied to IV’s laced with Morphine, I wrote on scraps of yellow-lined paper that became my next column. My parents must have done something right. I grew up with a high regard for dependability and punctuality. While my older brother models tenacity, my spiritual faith is a tribute to a godly grandmother.  

Which brings me back to the subject of faith. I am a believer. With all my heart I revere the Bible. I defend its authenticity from cover to cover and even believe the cover because its says “Holy.” Some scoffing sophisticates suggest that you park your intellect at the door of the church before you enter. I respectfully disagree. Everything I have studied, past and present, supports intelligent design. It takes far more faith to accept something like the Big Bang theory than to trust what is written in the scriptures.

There is a vacuum within all of us that only God can fill. The Bible says, “Seek and ye shall find.” When I teach, I look around the classroom and notice the judges, professors, attorneys, and doctors seeking to know more about the Bible. The only losers are those who don’t open their minds and hearts to the sovereign, omnipotent Creator who hung the moon and the stars.

I believe in miracles. I am one.