03 Jan New Year, Old Friend
Happy New Year! While I had intended to write another tribute to dazzling technology, aka PicoSure, an outing to the University of Oklahoma to see an exhibit of marble busts from Rome’s Capitoline Museums and to examine several first editions of Galileo’s works caused me to put PicoSure on the back burner for a short time, to become nostalgic, and to wonder at the oft-times unexpected fullness of life.
Yesterday, amidst the rubble and sentiments of Christmas turned to New Year’s, my husband and I decided to take a brief sojourn to Norman to visit museums and exhibits celebrating the 125th anniversary of the University of Oklahoma.
Our first stop was the Bizzell Memorial Library where we were disappointed to learn that the University’s astonishing collection of Galileo first editions was closed until January 4. Being suckers for a good library (with or without special exhibits) we prowled around stacks and visited the marvelous Helmerich Great Reading Room. Returning to the first floor and preparing to leave the library we paused to admire a substantial collection of Native American art donated to the library by Mark Allen Everett, M.D., former chairman of OU’s Department of Dermatology and the individual most directly responsible for me leaving the world of ophthalmology to pursue a career in dermatology. My husband’s sharp eye spotted the small and unobtrusive plaque acknowledging the bequest that I had overlooked.
In the bright sun of a crisp January day we proceeded to the Fred Jones Museum in search of ancient Rome and to visit galleries well known. Before heading to the special exhibit area we stopped to study a 16th century oil of Ganymede by Passignomo. A smile crossed my lips as I read the attribution stating that the painting was a gift from Mark Allen Everett, M.D. This made we think back to hours of conversation in attending clinics regarding art, literature, history, world figures and events, and, dare I say, hearsay and gossip, at musical soirees, dermatological meetings, and social gatherings. He was a man of enormous intellect and gifts. Dr. Everett was decidedly eccentric, challenging, and generous beyond imagination. He cared deeply about his department and the greater worlds of dermatology and dermatopathology, his community, education, the arts, those whom he trained and nurtured in multiple disciplines, and philanthropy.
Dr. Everett expected his residents not only to excel in dermatology, but also to read and participate in various realms, expand individual horizons, and engage society on multiple levels. While this appealed to my various outside interests, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I always welcomed the mental jousts and calculated episodes of personal second guessing and discomfiture that ensued.
Immediately following his funeral mass before anyone dare leave the sanctuary of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral, the congregation was bade listen to Massenet’s Meditation from the opera “Thais.” It was quintessential Dr. Everett… one last invitation, charge, and expression of earthly desire from one no longer with us.
The take away message was and remains that each of us is called to be the best whole person that we can be. It is a quest rather that a destination. The arrival of a New Year with celebrations and attendant resolutions allows the opportunity of accessing and tweaking that journey, introspection, re-definition of desires and goals. It is, in its essence, renewal and an opportunity to move forward unfettered.
Next weekend Richard and I will return to Norman hoping to come face to face with Galileo’s texts. Equally exciting will be the opportunity to see Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623) at the Sam Noble Museum. Surely, the Bard’s work will be nested amongst other bequests of Dr. Everett. And for those of us who have been admonished for not knowing our Shakespearean plays and quotes I will add, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” (Et tu, Prospero!)
Happy 2016, indeed!