I look rather odd, so I’m keeping close to home. I have an appointment in four days for the doctor to remove the bandage he taped across the left side of my nose.

Yes, I’m counting down the days, grateful he removed a basal cell carcinoma before it spread beyond my nostril. He also removed some skin beside my left ear to repair my nose. The first, and hopefully last, skin graft of my life.

You might be a bit squeamish thinking of such things, but I must point out that my left eardrum sent the sound of his scalpel slicing my skin to my brain. The remarkable moment is now banked in memory until I perish. Another “hopefully”.
Megan, Dr. David Byrd’s nurse, opened our conversation with, “Are you retired?”

I’d noticed most of his patients in the surgical waiting room were of my generation, Baby Boomers born before sun screen hit the market. Matter of fact, my sisters and I slathered on Johnson’s Baby Oil and sunbathed on the garage roof. Our mother said, “You girls are crazy! Don’t come to me crying with sunburns!”

“No, not quite,” I replied to Megan’s question. “I retired my lavender farm years ago, yet I’ll never stop writing every day and gardening throughout growing season.”

“What do you write?” Megan asked.

Oh, how precious is a captive audience! I visualized my 51 journals placed in chronological order on two shelves in my bedroom, the first journal dated July 1984.

“I begin my day journaling,” I replied. “That’s also how I began my professional writing life, teaching people how to begin writing their legacy.”

“What else do you write?” Megan asked.

“So, you’re a reader? I asked.


“A weekly column for the Tri-City Times Newspaper, poetry, fiction, and memoir. I have a memoir cookbook to complete,” I said as Dr. Byrd sewed my nose together.

“Have you published books?” he asked.

“Yes, you can find them on my website, irisunderwoodbooks.com However, my purpose in life is to encourage people to write their story and leave their legacy. And you’ve quite the legacy, Dr. Byrd. One of a great service to me and thousands of other people. I saw just a handful in the waiting room.”

“You’re right,” the young doctor replied.

“How many surgeries do you perform each day?” I asked.

“Nine, sometimes ten.”

“That’s remarkable stamina,” I said.

“Isn’t that why we’re all here? To serve one another?” he said.

I took a deep breath as the doctor pulled and snipped stitches. “I believe so.”

Dear Reader, in these homebound days when I cannot lift anything heavy or bend at the waist, I’m weeding on my rear. In the shade of day, lifting handfuls of weeds into buckets. Watching my gardens transform into their orderly, blooming places.

Come next Tuesday morning, I’ll gather a gorgeous bouquet, carry the flowers and foliage into Dr. David Byrd’s office. Perhaps in a bag I’ll include some roots of wild geranium and columbine for my captive audience.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com