Monday, September 21, 2009

The Spiritual Biologist

The recent death of Mary Travers of Peter Paul and Mary got me to thinking about a concert I went to during a break from college. The group was playing at small women’s college in Upstate New York called Wells College. I went with my friend Susan Higgins. Wondering what she was doing I Googled her and after 3 phone calls I caught her just before she was going to get on a conference call with the Sudan.

She wanted to catch up, and promised to call me back. I gave her my numbers-hoping. When she did call we spent about thirty minutes catching up about our lives, our kids etc. Sue got her degree in biology, now she works for a great organization called The Tributary Fund. You can find it at They educate village leaders like monks in Mongolia on conservation, it is activism on a global scale. Besides feeding the villagers important protein, Mongolia is becoming a mecca of sort for eco tourists especially fly fisherman. She spends a good chunk of her year in places like Mongolia making this connection happen to save one of their most valuable resources.

We remembered the concert and I asked after her parents. I first met her parents when I ran into Sue at a small ski area in Central New York near our homes. She was skiing with her parents and introduced me. We chatted and then we were on our way.

I saw Sue back at school, and asked how her parents were. Sue said they went on and on about what a great guy I was and could you believe that he took his glove off when we shook hands. I learned this from my Dad, who was the editor of a newspaper. It did not matter what the temperature was outside he always shook hands barehanded.

It seemed to me pretty quaint at the time and I could not believe what an impression it made on Mrs. Higgins but it did. Sue got to the point around our junior year she would roll her eyes when she said, “My parents said to say hello to you.”

You See Timmy
There are two things: sometimes finding the less obvious connection can make all the difference, and a small gesture like taking your glove off can make all the difference too.

Next up The Entrepreneurial Obstetrician

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