With daytime temperatures in the mid-50s about our
hometown it is easy to believe we could be outside planting peas on Valentine's
Day, as was the way of our parents and theirs too.
At the risk of repeating myself, and so what, I repeat
myself. Did I tell you about Della McNabb's missing pet dog? The story came to
me through her daughter, Cocke County Clerk Janice Butler. Otis is a Newport
Animal Shelter dog whose photo appeared with other pets up for adoption. When
Della saw the photo in the Plain Talk she said, "He just jumped out at
me." I met the little fellow when she and another daughter, Jenny Gray,
were breaking green beans at Della's home last summer. Later that summer, the
Jack Russell-mix disappeared and had wandered over to Douglas Lake. Somehow
Otis got a cut the length of his back, when he was found by a Good Samaritan
who took the dog to the animal shelter. Because he had an embedded microchip
placed by the animal shelter, they were able to contact the owner, and Otis is
back home where the cookin' is mighty fine. County Transportation Supervisor
Jimmy McNabb helped his mother out by going to pick up the wayward Otis. Della
explained that she got Otis about four years ago because "the squirrels
were taking over." Otis put a stop to that.
Cancer only slowed him down
Last week we began talking with Larry "Yogi"
and Lydia Shelton about their passion for running and how the sport is helping
Yogi recover from early 2012 colon cancer surgery.
As I mentioned, Yogi has always been a worker and cancer
did not slow him down for long. We will talk more about this soon. Workers from
the Newline Furniture plant might recall him as a young man, and then he joined
Berkline in Morristown for 19 years where he handled steam boiler operations.
When the plant shutdown, he was able to join ConAgra in Newport. "For me,
the Berkline closing was good. I got a better job and less driving." He
works in Van Camp bean processing; loves the work and appreciates his co-workers
and the ConAgra company. Because both Lydia and Yogi live in Northport they are
a short jog to work.
It is true that Lydia has been running for more years
than Yogi, and I did not ask who is the fastest, as not to provoke an argument.
What seems to have motivated him was a cancer diagnoses in March 2012. Yogi had
some stomach ailments that caused him to get a colonoscopy at Newport Medical
Center by Dr. Thomas Bolling. I am a big fan of this surgeon having been
invited into the operating room years ago to watch a gallbladder extraction he
performed. "He is awesome," said Yogi. Fortunately, the baseball-size
tumor was a non-aggressive form of colon cancer and required no chemotherapy
after surgery and thanks to the professional staff at Newport Medical Center.
By September, Yogi started running with Lydia and the kids: Amber, 21, a senior
at East Tennessee State University, and Paul, a coach and teacher. Given muscle
soreness and injuries often suffered by runners, it's a good thing that Amber
is studying to be a physical therapist and plans to graduate December 2013 from
the Quillen School of Medicine.
Always good to seek therapy
Speaking of physical therapy, I had to return for more
back attention after coughing so much during the recent bout of viruses I
pulled muscles. I am in the good hands of Dr. Megan Stinson, who told me she is
expecting her second child in June. Also working with me again, is Jenny Zmich,
and as you know her father and Plain Talk friend Lenny Zmich died just days ago
of pancreatic cancer. At Brown Funeral Home where friends and family gathered
Jan. 27, many kind, funny, loving, and true words were spoken by reverends Rich
Lloyd, Mike Hensley, Edwin Franks, and also Lenny's close friends William
"Bill" Shults and Jim Cole Overholt.
So Yogi is free of cancer and becoming an avid runner
himself putting in four miles at a clip three times per week at age 59. He has
been inspired by the Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church program, "Run for
God." Yogi ran his first five kilometer in December in Newport and another
in Knoxville January 1, Calhoun's 5K. It was an easy race taking about 33
minutes and he felt good even though an 84-year-old runner beat Yogi by five
minutes. Yogi's running causes him to drink more water and Gatorade and keeps
him hungrier but weight gain has not been a problem. He also likes the support
and comfort when the family runs together, including Paul's wife, Sarah.