Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"I'll Take the First Circus"

I suppose that every family has “in” expressions, mottos or slogans in much the same way that they have “in” jokes. While you may hear only a phrase -the family knows the entire story behind those few words.

For our family, we all understand and get inspired by this expression, “I’ll take the first circus.”

It came from an anecdote that my husband and I read in the Readers’ Digest about a little girl in a town soon to be visited by three circuses. Her father explained to her that the family was not financially able to take her to all three circuses and could take her only to one. The first circus would be just a small one, while the third would be the best and biggest, and presumably the most expensive. “I’ll take the first circus,” she said, and so her parents took her to the first. A few months later, when the second circus came, the family’s finances had improved and they were able to take her to the second. And finally, they found that they could afford to get tickets to the third and most expensive circus.

In 1989, my husband had a photography assignment in Germany. It was going to be his first trip to Europe. While he was there, I faxed him that I could go when his job was finished so he and I could travel together. We had very little money so he said that maybe it would be better to wait for another time when we could afford to visit other European countries as well. Pleading, I faxed him again “I’ll take the first circus.” Remembering the story, he said yes!

Like the little girl who chose to take the first circus, I have managed to go to Europe three times - to Germany and France in 1989, then again in 1992 (six countries) with my eldest daughter, and in 1996, in a trip with the entire family – my husband and three young daughters.

In our family, a prospect of limited opportunity will not be turned down. Instead, you will hear us say, “I’ll take the first circus.”

Friday, June 08, 2007

"Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal"

It's a New York Times bestseller by Rachel Naomi Remen M.D. It is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read, and should make a great gift to family and friends. I've already given a copy to a medical student whom I know, and I will get a few more copies to give to doctor-friends. I think it should be required reading for all doctors, nurses and caregivers no matter how long they have been practicing. The lessons, truths and insights contained in the stories that she shares are not only for those in the medical profession, but for anyone who calls himself or herself "human."