I wrote very briefly in December about the life-altering surgery undergone by an old friend. I didn’t name him, as I did not have permission to do so at the time. That friend, as some might have guessed, was my pal Rob, who had a cancerous portion of his jaw replaced with a piece of titanium in December and went through a long bout of radiation therapy in the early portion of this year.

Yesterday, he and I met at the little burg of Big Lake southeast of here, rode the Northstar light rail down to Target Field in Minneapolis and watched the Minnesota Twins play the Oakland Athletics. Never, in the fifty-seven years I’ve known Rob, have I been as glad to see him as I was yesterday. As we sat in the sun in the outfield seats and sipped a couple of pale ales, yesterday afternoon was a time to be grateful for friendship, for years, for modern medical technology and for the simple joys of baseball, sunshine and beer.

He has hurdles ahead of him yet. Eating solid food remains on the horizon, as does dental work and frequent examinations to check for the return of the disease. But he’s come through so far with his sense of humor and joy in living intact. If things can be arranged, he and his brother Rick and our pal Schultz will show up here on a Saturday next month to play some Strat-O-Matic baseball, probably with a heightened awareness that our time here is temporary and a renewed appreciation of the sweet things in life.

A while back, in reference to my aching elbow (it’s much better now), I shared Jimmy McGriff’s version of “Healin’ Feeling” from 1972. Today, for Rob and all of his family and friends, I offer Richard “Groove” Holmes’ single version of the same tune, this time titled “That Healin’ Feeling.” It was released on the Pacific Jazz label in 1961.


2 Responses to “Healing”

  1. Paco Malo says:

    I’m saying a little prayer for Rob.

  2. Yah Shure says:

    Thanks for sharing the great news. Will spin “Magneto And Titanium Man” with Rob in mind.

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