A Distant Memory About an Emigre

“I believe that we write about, and out of, our obsessions, the things that haunt our souls, things we never get over.” (https://www.jstor.org/stable/3299998?seq=1). So said Randall Keenan, an American Author.

Today I think about Irish whiskey, four leaf clovers and a touch of the Irish. That Irish blood is shared by my spouse and our two adult children. They have a touch of the UK running through their veins as well.

My DNA harkens far south of there to East Asia. I am 100 per cent Ashkenazi Jew. Israel is just in my blood. I felt the connection when my spouse, Kristine, and I visited that blooming, desert land in 2019.

But something of the UK still haunts my soul which dates back almost 60 years. It was September, 1967. It wasn’t a draft physical for which I was in line. It was a medical school physical, prior to my first day of class in Gainesville, FL. To say I was nervous and apprehensive about the challenges before me in the next four years would be a gross understatement. I felt really vulnerable.

There was a white-coated physician, who spoke with a memorable accent near me. He wore a distinctive, name tag, and his last name began with “Mc.” I said, “Are you Scotch?”

He looked at me with a condescending glare and said, “Young man, Scotch is something you drink. I am Scottish.”

That remark and its tone burned a hole in my long term memory, which, just won’t go away. Now years later, I suspect that emigre was broken, in part, by a broken father, just like me. I have not gotten over my father’s impact, but, by the grace of God, see him through a healthier lens at 76, than I did at 40 or 25.