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Stupid Human Tricks Preface for Suck it Up

When I think of my earliest memories, they are of people I found amazing. The kid in my kindergarten class who could perform the delicate surgery needed to remove the white cream from an oreo's chocolate cookies without breaking the perfect white center. The big kids on the bus who could sit in the back confidently as if their word was law of the land. The stitches I watched a doctor put into my forehead with a steady hand while I screamed: up, down... scream....up, down, scream.

To my way of thinking, there were acts that made you "a hero" in my simple life. My older brother was the coolest kid I knew because he was epic: my Atari "Decathlon" playing, Tolkien reading, red chopper riding (no it was a bike- not a motorcycle) brother Toby. Only just behind him was my best friend, Debbie Grayco, who of course, wore the coolest outfits (we had a matching dress), rode in the coolest yellow car (a Pinto) and ate the tastiest food: chicken with star soup.

Yet above them all, without a doubt, was a force that you did not reckon with. One you never swore in front of, you always listened to and you NEVER questioned (until you were a pain in the ass teen), my "Ma." She could walk so fast-- I was forever trying to catch up. She always sang loudest and best in church, and she had, hands down, the best voice for reading. If she read aloud, I went silent truly enjoying every word. She knew poems by heart and fun songs with "downy swans" and "appleseeds" and, of course, she knew the love of God. My Ma knew the stories of God like I knew Cinderella; just as awe inspiring and sacred was her God as my hero.

God decided early on that Penelope Ford was a nurse. It was her role in life; her destiny that started as a natural passion and eventually, her pursuit. An emergency would occur, and where other mere non-nurses froze, my mother took charge, reacted calmly and acted quickly.

For example, I remember in a grocery store in my early years, a man started having a seizure and fell to the floor. There were bags of dog food close by. My mother grabbed a bag, put it under his head, and proceeded to take care of this person I had never met. After that, I always knew, "If a person has a seizure, put his wallet or something in his mouth so he doesn't choke on his tongue."

How did I know this? My Ma. Where health issues were concerned, her word was law.

Why am I telling you this? How do you think I survived an aggressive, malignant bone cancer followed by 49 weeks of poisonous chemotherapy?

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