Thursday, 3 September 2009

Emeritus Professor Whitehead

brilliant, sunny day, warm, temps 25 - full moon

Gorgeous, perfect, still day. We're finally back in Sutton and wow does it feel great!

As you might be able to tell from the title, we returned to find a wonderful letter from McGill University, where Michael was a full professor of Medicine - that he has been awarded the honorific of Professor Emeritus!!!

We are both so moved and thrilled! What a remarkable career he has enjoyed. Teaching, research, his clinical practice, and running the hematology department at the Montreal Children's hospital...helping, or at least trying to help, so many children with cancer.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of him - and how wonderful this recognition is - and how well deserved!

Congratulations, Michael!!

I'm sorry not to have written sooner, but I headed off to New York City early Tuesday morning for publishers meetings, and returned fairly late last night. Shouldn't have been all that late except my flight got in at 5pm into Dorval airport, along with every huge plane in the world...and the customs was packed. It was ridiculous. On top of that, there were only 6 customs agents on duty for almost a thousand people. the line snaked around and around like a very ill-tempered colon. At one stage I thought they must have added lots more agents because the line suddenly seemed to move. Then I realized my metabolism must have slowed down and my body gone into survival/hibernation mode - so that a small shuffle forward felt like a sprint. The customs line lasted way longer than the flight. If I was a visitor to Canada I would never return.


I spent the time composing stern letters to my MP - which I then forgot in the euphoria of being through.

Oh, the power has been restored next door, which is good, since our friend Susan came down with us to stay the long labour day weekend. It's the Brome County Fair weekend, and we're off to see it tomorrow. Visit the animals (Michael has a thing for goats, but don't tell anyone) - we need to eat a famous Derby Burger, made by our neighbors down the dirt road, Charlie Derby - though they have competition at the fair these days from the bison burgers.

There's fresh cooked corn on the cob, and candy floss, and licorice sticks and pipes and fragrant, sweet apples.

Michael had another eye doctor's appointment with mixed results...but some hope! The leak is still there, and his eye pressure has dropped to dangerous levels, but the doc now thinks he can probably operate, close the tear and put in a shunt (which, of course I immediate associate with freight cars but suspect and hope that isn't accurate).

The Doc wants to take it slowly and give the eye a chance to heal on its own, so we'll go back in 2 weeks and the operation is scheduled for october 1st.

We have every hope it will work.

We both want to sincerely thank all of you for your well wishes...both those of you who wrote to us, and those of you who might not have written but who thought of us with kindness. We could feel it. And this comes with my sincerely gratitude.

New York City was wonderful. I'm slowly getting to know it. Feeling more comfortable, though I still get turned around, which is nigh-on impossible since it's a grid actually have to work at getting lost.

I walked from 52nd street where my hotel was, down to 20th for a lunch date, then back up - so lost in my own thoughts and imagination that I overshot it and finally ground to a hot halt at 59th street. 70 blocks of NYC...and adoring every moment. Of course, the weather was glorious.

I'm very, very glad to be getting to know New York, and feel less alienated. Such a shame not to appreciate one of the great cities of the world - and what a relief to feel that happening. Familiarity...and perseverance.

This has been yet another unexpected blessing of my writing career. Without it I would never have kept returning to New York... and would never have grown to really like it.

Well, off to the bedroom....haven't even been upstairs yet. We arrived in the country around 2pm - unloaded the car - then I went over the the guest cottage and Susan and I hopped in the car and drove across the border to the Hannaford in Enosburg, Vermont. She had a shopping list almost as long as the customs line. I, of course, impulse of my favorite things. Then we headed home - arriving about 5pm...then I replenished the flowers in vases around the home and cut some to take over to susan...then Michael and Trudy and I walked through the woods to the cottage for dinner.

Susan's a fabulous cook!

And now we're home and I wanted to write you with an update, and to tell you about the Emeritus news, which we're excited about - and the very hopeful news about Michael's eye.

And to thank you, for your support!

Thank you.


Brenda B. said...

Dear Louise and Michael,

So happy to hear this encouraging news about Michael's eye and this wonderful news about his Emeritus status.

I'm glad you can feel all the supportive thoughts coming your way.


Brenda B. in Maine

lil Gluckstern said...

Hi Louise, and Michael,

I'm with Brenda. Congratulations to Michael on his Emeritus, abd on his hopeful news regarding his eye. You are a remarkably talented and wonderful couple. And you are allowed to be grumpy when the line is too long. I was raised in New York, and returned many times to marvel at such a vibrant and interesting city. Enjoy, Louise, and I will enjoy how you make Montreal come alive!

Marjorie said...

Congratuations to Michael for the McGill honor. And congratulations to you for getting to know my beloved New York City just a little better. And you will know that you are really at home there when you have left the areas that are on the gridded streets and avenues and gone into places like Greenwich Village where nothing makes any sense direction-wise, but getting lost is the best possible thing to be. It's the best way to discover things!

Now, I know you both know this, but Michael should not be petting any of the goats or any livestock at the fair this year because you can get exposed to some infections that way and with his eye, I wouldn't want him to take any chances. And I know that my favorite thing at the tiny local Orange County Fair is buying animal feed pellets and letting the animals there lick the feed out of my hands (I love sheep). But Michael should refrain this year. And by next year he will be all healed and can pet goats and chickens and bunnies to his heart's content!

--Marjorie from Connecticut

Anonymous said...

Dear Louise and Michael,
What an outstanding and talented couple you are!!! There is so much room for your having the best kind of pride in your achievements and the positive impact you have on others. Congratulations to Michael on his Emeritus honour (that's Ozzie spelling sorry!)- he must have made such a difference with all he's done. I just wanted to say too, that I had similar surgery for glaucoma a little over three years ago now, and honestly, I haven't looked back! My sight is not perfect, but the anxiety about dangerous eye pressure has gone and life is less of a roller coaster eye-wise. I am still able to read and sew and drive ... so thankful that the surgery was an option. I will certainly be wishing you well Michael and as you say, knowing you're in Louise's capable and loving hands must be very reassuring. All the very best.

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations to Michael. The two of you are a most remarkable couple. Best wishes for the eye and in the meantime, enjoy the fair. And how do you manage to shop in Vermont and not pay duty on your groceries? Just curious (I promise not to report to Customs Canada!)

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Brenda,

thank you! It was so great meeting you and your partner in Ottawa at Bloody words - when I see your comments I see you. (and not just the photo!)

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Lil,

What an interesting life you've led, from one side of the continent to the other...and God only knows what happened in between!! The mind boggles.

thank you, Lil, for your kindness.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Marjorie,

Oh, wish I'd read your comments before we went, but Michael was careful not to pet the goats, or sheep etc. And yes, feeding those little pellets of food to the animals is such fun - if you can just elbow the kids out of the way!

Thanks for your kind advice, and I will go right down and give him some of that antiseptic rub!

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Caroline,

Oh, I LOVE hearing success stories...thank you. Will tell Michael about that. And I'm so happy for you and relieved. You must be thrilled.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth,

Ha - we actually declared everything, even showed them the bill - and they just waved us through. The car was packed with food. Apparently we don't pay duty or tax or anything on groceries. Or we got a VERY lax customs agent.