An Extraordinary Effort

Some events are just memorable…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

Time is precious. Eating a fine meal. Enjoying a beautiful, sunlit day. Reading an extremely well-written essay or novel. Seeing the Ohio State Buckeyes, who I have followed as a fan for 67 years play an inspired football (not soccer for the non-American or Canadian readers) game with a courageous hurting QB, Justin Fields.

In the first half, as some players are wont to do when a great QB is is the open field, Fields was targeted in a tackle. The tackler slammed the top of his helmet into the QB’s ribs.

That player was disqualified from play. Justin left the field for only one play. When he practiced on the sidelines he would grimace as he threw.

With the ups and downs of watching this great team for all these years, tears came to my eyes as I watched Fields throw six touchdown passes, two of which, after the…

View original post 24 more words

Small Rooms

“Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world.” Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author. If you have never read her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, for which she won that award, you are missing a splendid work. 

I write in a small room, though, I face a window revealing a wooded walking area in our small corner of suburbia. I have a God-given gift I had nothing to do with. It is a good long-term memory, recalling that “…real world.” It got me through school and it gets me through the deep experience of putting “pen to paper” for you. 

My arthritic hands aren’t quite right for playing guitar or opening jars for my spouse. But it is practically effortless to tap the keys of my tablet. My wandering imagination that can cause trouble fills the pages. 

In God’s mercy, He offered the love of my life and me a roof over our heads, food on our table, and, for me, this meaningful gift of authorship in the last quarter (?) of my life. If unretired, may God bless you with an affordable retirement, filled with experience that gives you and others deep joy.  

Another Look at Maturity

I realized life was getting more serious, when, in medical school, I was handed three kits with which to do three lumbar punctures (LPs) on three patients on the hospital floor. I was left alone to draw off that spinal fluid essential to the patients’ well-being.

I had never performed the procedure, particularly alone. I had only observed the lumbar picture. I had learned that following the patient’s back to the lumbar region and the posterior superior iliac crests, one could find the vertical level at which the needle should enter between the vertebrae in the spine. I was also warned about the many possible serious complications, including hitting the spinal cord. Obviously it was not an overly difficult procedure or I wouldn’t have been given the kits.

Nonetheless the complication(s) could be serious. No one had ever given me that much responsibility. These are the kind of events in growing up one never forgets.

Each puncture with its seemingly, mildly painful result heightened my confidence for the next LP. In a sense, that was the day I grew up.

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon writer and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? Please Save the Third Dance for Me (memoirs) and The Bloom is on the Rose (novelette), all available on Amazon.

JD Salinger

“I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” JD Salinger, renowned author of Catcher in the Rye. The late recluse’s fine novel about the disenchanted adolescent Holden Caulfied still sells a quarter of a million copies a year.

It is difficult to connect to many of our adolescents. Salinger succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

And yet, the precious aspect of our lives that is the human connection seemed sadly wanting in his life. In WWII, he landed on Utah Beach on D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

He also interrogated prisoners of war. Had he become one, as a Jew, there is no telling what the Nazis would have done to him. He had to live with that as well.

Perhaps, this sensitive writer never recovered from his wartime experience. Many of the quiet survivors of those clashes had lasting pain in their lives because of the necessary trials by fire.

The Moon Landing, 51 Years Ago, a Different Slant

It’s getting close to 53 years since Armstrong’s famous step…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

It was July 20, 1969. I was preparing for my first medical, case presentation ever. Nervous you say? I was spinning with anxiety about my oral presentation the following morning.

Naval, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Armstrong was part of my problem the night I prepared my talk. NASA just had to pick that night to have him take his historic step for humankind.

The medical resident teaching me at the time was thrilled to have the night “off”, as, he watched the historic events of the first moon landing unfold. More than once, he was rudely and anxiously interrupted by what were, likely, my stupid questions. At some point, given his conflicted emotional state, he hung me out to dry. He requested I stop calling, which guaranteed a night of insomnia.

I am here to testify, I got through it that next morning. I missed the event of the century, but…

View original post 29 more words

Laughter, Jam and Apricots

“Laughter is the jam on the toast of life. It adds flavour, keeps it from being too dry, and makes it easier to swallow.” Diane Johnson, an American novelist. I looked at this quote a year ago with a slightly different slant. Today is different as are all our days.

Apricot is my favorite jam. It is distinct, and exceptionally fruity. 

I first learned to enjoy it when I had dinner at my college roommate’s home in the 60s. They were Sephardic Jews, who served a wonderful ground beef dish with unique spices and apricot jam. It was unlike anything I had ever eaten, unforgettable. 

 There is nothing like whole-grain toast, Dave’s if you haven’t tried it, with Smart Balance and low sugar apricot jam, You can relish the flavor of the grain, the butter replacement, and the jam without life’s lesser, lingering contaminants. 

I have to laugh when I consider the garbage I used to eat, though I have binged on it now and then. Better to laugh at one’s self. Don’t you think? Sometimes I just take life too seriously.

Time, and So the Years Pass

Felt this was worth a third look, slightly updated.

Time is a word that can only be defined relatively. It appears to move quickly as one gets older. For instance when my wife was driving, I have never asked her on a road trip ” Are we there yet?”

Time doesn’t slog along anymore. It moves as though it were shot out of a cannon to a 76 year old like me.

Recently Kristine and I traveled to the Middle East and return via Los Angeles. I had some concern the one way plane trip of about 20 hours would begin to drag.

Unlike the plane trip home, the first trip lacked a USB connection for my cellphone. I was surprised and concerned. I watched several movies including one of my favorites, The Notebook. To my surprise the trip seemed over rather quickly. The same was true of the return journey. The flights were in essence objective tests of how life seems to get past you in the blink of an eye.

Our time in the Middle East itself was intended to stop and smell the roses. Frequently, time stood still, worshiping our God, and inspiring the overwhelming beauty of that Holy Place.


Some changes are delightful. Losing my adolescence. Improvement in my ability to do my life’s work. The unexpected appearance of my spouse and the life-changing delivery of our two children. A deepening faith in our Maker.

Some changes were clouds or even storms. Major surgeries for my children. My mother’s death. A worldwide Pandemic with my age group the targeted demographic.

Life is change. By God’s grace, my family has survived a lot of it.

The difficult changes, despite the greater serenity of my old age, seem to have more impact with the passing years. Realizing it is 2022, and I was born in the mid-40s is disconcerting. I have gained some peace but lost some of the painless movement in my hands.

I am a very fortunate person. God’s grace has lifted my spirits and drawn me closer to Him. It’s ALL good.  


“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” Morris West, the late Australian novelist. 

Ninety percent of the things worried about never happen. Life-threatening, natural, medical events frequently come as a complete surprise.

Life is complicated. Why make it worse with worry? 

The substance of the Judeo-Christian faith can engender a life-giving shalom. It’s not the absence of problems. It’s the “…rivers of living water…” one needs to get through the difficulties with peace in your heart.

Even old age, with its physical infirmities, can have an abundance that is hard to achieve when you are young. Studies have shown our elders seem to be amongst the happiest people on earth. Thank God for huge blessings as I push the double seven on the calendar.