Three of nature's seasons take their places on the calendar in a gentle, “May I” sort of way. It's as if they need permission to succeed seasons whose courses have been run.
Spring, summer and fall enter with gracious smiles, unhurried to take the spotlight.
Winter, however, bulls its way in like a bovine amongst finest china, nipping at the tail feathers of geese flying south.
The coldest of seasons, winter is like the four-year-old crashing a birthday party. No matter if it’s his or not, all of him says, “I'm here, and I'm taking over.”
Yes, winter blusters right in. Recalled are years of youth when we backed up to space heaters or roaring fireplaces. Warming one side at a time was the best we could do.
It is hot chocolate season, with thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas warm to the memory. We yearn for accounts of “man's humanity to man,” eager to find kindnesses that might go unnoticed at other times of the year. Sometimes tidings are so good that previously unwarmable cockles glow from the inside out. Warm/fuzzy happenings are marvelous indeed, and two are connected with World Series baseball teams from Denver and Boston.
To set the stage, you may recall the freakish accident that claimed the life of 35-year-old Mike Coolbaugh in July. The new coach for the Tulsa Drillers baseball team was felled by a screaming line drive. (The Drillers are a Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.)
Surviving are his wife, Mandy, and sons Joseph, 5, and Jacob, 4. A third child is due at any moment.
Though Mike's association with the Rockies was distant, Colorado players rallied to assist his family. They voted to extend a full share of play-off earnings, some $300,000, to the San Antonio family.
In Dallas recently, 13-year-old Andrew Madden of Odessa was a patient at Children's Medical Center, desperately needing a heart transplant. He mentioned his life-long support of the Boston Red Sox.
Turns out that his surgeon, Dr. Kristine Guleserian, also cheers for Boston. She gave Andrew a Red Sox cap for good luck.
In her sparkling feature written for the Dallas Morning News, Katie Menzer described the “what ifs” discussed between doctor and patient.
Thrilling possibilities included finding a suitable heart donor, successful surgery, textbook recovery permitting travel to Boston and securing World Series tickets.
Unless everything worked out perfectly, the vignette could well have ended in the cavernous bin of “what might have been.
But, things did work out. Did they ever.
On September 30, a donor heart was flown to Dallas. Dr. Guleserian performed the six-hour transplant surgery. (It was Children’s 100th such procedure and her 40th.)
She believes Andrew's preoccupation with the baseball team provided a necessary diversion from the stress engulfing him since his recent 13th birthday.
His enlarged heart, diagnosed at birth, was failing. He stopped eating, breathing was difficult and his feet began to swell. His heart measured twice the normal size. A transplant was mandatory.
That's when “baseball talk” began. The doctor told her young patient about her growing up years in Boston. Included were fond memories of Fenway Park.
Thankfully, Andrew’s recovery has been remarkable; he's gained 10 pounds since the transplant after a full year devoid of any weight gain.
Dallas media told his story well. It ballooned when Dr. Guleserian spoke of accompanying Andrew and his mom, Lauri Wemmer, on a trip to Boston for a World Series game.
Switchboards at Children’s Medical Center lit up. “How can we help?” queries were fielded by the dozens.
Grace Flight, an organization providing compassionate air transportation, offered a Hawker 700 jet with two volunteer pilots from Dallas.
Boston media picked up the story, and you can probably guess the rest.
The trio didn't need game tickets. They sat in the Red Sox owner's luxury suite.
Young Andrew, during his first visit to Boston, saw many landmarks, and he met his surgeon's parents. And they got to meet his mom.
Looming large were the sights and sounds of Fenway. Andrew was a bit late settling in for the game, but he did have a great view of the ceremonial first pitch. He threw it.
Dr. Newbury is a speaker and writer in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Send e-mail to email@example.com or call 817-447-3872.
His Web site is www.speakerdoc.com.