I’ve been preoccupied of late – my father has had a major stroke.
As I write this, Dad is resting, albeit unconscious, in a hospital room in another state.
To top it off, a longtime mentor died on Wednesday. Dr. Nancy Spalding was just 65 years young – died unexpectedly from complications arising from surgery.
Thus I need to write so as to better process what’s happening.
My father worked long hours as a salesman most of his life. Man could sell sand in the desert.
He is a devoted family man – always made time to attend our sporting events, listen to our problems, be there for our successes, failures. He is always there for us – a loving person who always puts others first.
To be candid, there were times I took Dad for granted and wish I had called more often especially we moved away from eastern North Carolina. I should’ve called more. I should’ve visited more often.
The last time I saw my father face to face, we were at the Outer Banks about a year ago in late June. Though Dad needed knee surgery and could barely walk, he rode with us to the beach so he could see the kids go swimming and see us off on our grand adventure to come. That’s the kind of person Dad is.
God willing, prayers will be answered, Dad will recover from this stroke. I view this as a warning to spend more time with him, my mother and loved ones because time is a precious.
Wednesday, Dr. Nancy Spalding died. She was just 65 years young.
A professor at East Carolina University, I considered her as my mentor.
Many years after I earned my diploma, Dr. Spalding invited me to one of her lectures. Using the Socratic method, Spalding was fearless in her questioning of self assured students who came away as I did long ago learning that there is more than one side to an issue and that the beginning of wisdom is evaluating all views so as to come to an informed and intelligent conclusion.
Spalding spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar teaching in Nigeria, and has published in several journals, including Polity, Third World Quarterly, Studies in Comparative International.
Spalding’s dissertation was “The Poverty of Wealth: Developmental Policies and Their Relationship to Quality of Life Indicators in Less Developed Countries.”
Spalding opened my eyes as to how government aid to developing nations may not necessarily be the best way of helping people.
Having lived in the hills of Appalachia and rural Eastern NC, I’ve seen firsthand how federal and state policies have made a mess of things.
I was thinking about her the other day – thinking I needed to call her since it has been a long time since we last talked, discussed the state of the nation.
Time is short.
Embrace the day and those you love.
Circleville Herald Editor Miles Layton may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org