Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ninety And Still Driving

For the ninetieth birthday of Beverly Morsey, my patient and friend for thirty years, who at eighty eight, queried when submitting to significant dental care, “Am I going to be able to have my golfing lesson afterwards?” She remains an inspiration to us all!

If I were turning ninety, and my friends were gathering near
It would be a grand occasion that would be very clear
And I’d say, when the cake is cut, with my glass raised to toast
That of all my life’s occasions this one I’d remember most.
I’d tell them I’d recall this day for my whole life, I guess,
Which, if I were young, might be a phrase that would impress.
Then I’d thank them all for coming and for making such a fuss,
And in a quiet moment, I’d thank God for all of us.

I have been to lots of birthdays ever since I was a child,
And some of them were swell affairs and others were quite mild.
There were many for the six year olds, and for the sweet sixteens,
I still wish I were twenty one, but only in my dreams.
There were parties for the thirties and the forties don’t you know,
And lots of folks they’ll make a splash on reaching the ‘Five O’.
After that they’re not so many, though of course they still come by
And I recall I thanked The Lord when I reached seventy five.

I’m ninety and still driving, in fact I’m going strong
If you want to shop or go to lunch, why yes, you come along.
I don’t take any chances I just try to do it right,
Although I’m getting nervous when I have to drive at night.
I have some pals who ’tween themselves they privately have joked,
About the folks they know who had their licences revoked.
And should they pine to be behind the wheel again, I’d say,
“If you want to keep on driving I’m not standing in your way.”

I’m ninety and still driving, next time we’re on the links
Take care who you bet on, or you might be buying drinks
I may not make a birdie every time I take a swing,
But if I make a hole in one, I’ll dance the Highland Fling.
There may not be too much time left, and not a lot to waste
I’m picky what I choose to do, it must have style and taste.
With golf lessons and painting and shopping I feel grand,
I think I may have just enough for what The Lord had planned.

Neil McLeod - 9.1.2007.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Good Doctor Isidore K.B. Kwaw M.D.

This extraordinarily well qualified compassionate physician provides emergency care at his "Urgent Care" facility at 9201 Sunset Boulevard. I meet a lot of doctors one way any another, and I share my respect for this colleague so that we all may benefit.

Isidore K.B. Kwaw M.D.

Doctor Kwaw’s a physician of note,
An amiable, affable bloke
Who labors away
Be it night time or day
For the patient whose arm might be broke.

If a fellar falls flat on his face
And needs his neck put in a brace,
If he’s cut and he’s bleeding
What ever he’s needing
It’s to Doctor Kwaw he should race.

For the Doc will ride in on his bike
If you’re names Thomas or Dickie or Mike,
And he’ll do what it takes
To patch up the brakes,
Or a wound from a sword or a pike.

There’ll not be a word of dismay
No matter how sad your array,
But with kindness and skill
He will fix you until
You’re fit to get back in the fray.

So you don’t have to have it said twice
Should life deal a blow that ain’t nice,
If your bladder is burning
Or tummy is squirming,
See Kwaw for a fix in a trice.

Write Me Some Lines

for Terry Becker a visiting emergency patient 9.7.2007

A patient who said just to tease
While I fixed his teeth up, Sir, please,
Write me a few lines
Mid the groans and the whines
For you, Sir, it should be a breeze.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


There is a legend that if you should gather twelve caurie shells on the coral beach, the fairy folk will weave a spell that will bring you back to Skye.

There's an island I know made of heather and peat
Where the mountains rise sheer from the sands,
And out in the loch there are seals at play
While the mist hides the craggy headlands.

My love for the island is calling me back
To the land of my tartan my home,
To the Waternish beach above Suardal,
It's there in my heart that I roam.

There to the west a trophy you'll find
Blessed with its own special spell.
The great old Dame at the Castle
Knew of this magic well.....

They say if you go to the Coral Beach
With the wish in your heart to remain
On the isle with the mist and the magic
You shall come to this island again.

You must go to the beach with your wishes,
When the tide is low look and find
Twelve wee shells of the Caurie
On the beach there all at one time.

So take the road north from the Castle,
Go to Claigen below Beinn Bhreac,
Then follow the path by the cliff tops
To the beach there away to the left.

There look with you love for an hour
While the tide is out lying low,
For the wee crinkled shells of the Caurie
Till you have all twelve in a row.

Then look to the loch and the shoreline,
And south where the great Tables lie,
And imagine the lofty pinnacles
Of the Cuillins against the wild sky.

In your heart you've cemented the blessing
Of the peat and the heather and moor,
And by keeping those twelve little Cauries
You will find your way back to the shore.

So remember the Old Chief who called you,
To come back to the Isle, with a sigh,
And your treasure will guide your steps swiftly
Back home to the Isle of Skye.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Called to Torah - Bar Mitzvah

For a son who is being called to the Torah this year October 6th 2007

Show me a dark-eyed handsome lad
Whose face is like the full moon,
Whose long eye lashes when his eye flashes
Might cause a maiden to swoon.
I’ll show you a mother like many another
Whose anxious heartfelt pride,
Is reaching out with love not doubt
To the son who is leaving her side.

Show me the diligent Torah scholar
Who is ready to hear his aliyah
And rabbi-willed his heart is filled
With atavistic fire.
I’ll show you a father standing tall
Part of a line of tradition
Ready to make that minyan call
To a son that has come to fruition.

Show me the throng filled synagogue
Ranked on both sides of the aisle,
When gabbai or rabbi stand by his side
To prompt with a word or a smile.
And I will show you a family
Who are moved by the moment to sigh,
As he takes his place in that long long line
And never an eye will be dry.

I am the mother who like any other
Has a heart that is filled with pride
Who bore the dark-eyed handsome lad
That stood by the altar side,
Who answered the call to Torah
To consider the question “Why”,
We follow in this long tradition
And it’s hard to keep my eye dry.

Like the Roman Catholic Confirmation service which takes place when a boy reaches the age of fourteen or so, the Jewish Bar Mitzvah is a sort of coming of age and is a celebration for the family and the community of a young man’s right of passage. The candidates answer the call (aliyah) to read a passage from the Bible (Torah-the first five books or Pentateuch) and explain its meaning. In so doing they publicly display that they are mature enough to understand the laws and traditions of society and why they should adhere to them.

This is and age old process, and in Jewish culture qualifies them to participate in the minyan, the communal prayer in which at least ten men are to be present, and at which matters of significance may be discussed. Any parent will naturally feel a deep sense of emotion when witnessing this religious service, and in western culture a great deal is made of the occasion to include family and friends in what can be extravagant festivals.

A mother asked me the other day if I would write a poem for her son who was about to answer his call to the Torah. She is confident that he is
going to do a good job, and she wants to express her love and admiration and pride for him as he comes of age, already committed to following his father’s career as a cardiologist. This then is my offering.

Neil McLeod 8.26.2007.

Gabbai - The Gabbai the rabbi's assistant stands next to the Torah reader holding a version of the text with vowels and trop markings