“Who was that masked man…?”

Community Foundation Higher Ground 0 Comments

If my memory serves me correctly those were the last words at the end of each radio Lone Ranger show just before the concluding words “Hiyo Silver and away!”
How, as a youngster, I used to eagerly await each Lone Ranger episode. I probably wondered what it would be like to be the masked man, hiding behind a hidden identity, riding with my faithful partner, Tonto, helping those in distress and catching outlaws.

Well, for the last six weeks I have had the ‘opportunity’ to be a “masked man.” No, I have not captured any outlaws or rescued anyone in distress. My faithful partner goes by the name, not of Tonto, but Barbara, my loving wife.

The mask I have been wearing is not the sleek black mask the Lone Ranger wore, but a yellow surgical mask I wear back and forth to Emory’s Winship Cancer Center, and on the round trips to Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Since my leukemia was diagnosed in early 2010, I have pretty much been in classic denial. The outstanding medical care, the clinical trial I have been on for two and a half years, and the unbounded love of my life-partner, Barbara, our children and grandchildren, and all our family and friends have kept my disease at bay.

Until…my bone marrow stopped adequately producing something called neutrophils, which helps fight off infections. Thus, the wearing of the mask when necessary and staying out of public places, until my immune system strengthens.

When, on one of my first visits to Emory wearing the mask, I asked Barbara, “How will people know when am I smiling?”

I believe in my question to Barbara, there is a lesson for us all. Never, ever keep a smile hidden.

Let your smiles multiply so they may touch others with the warmth and joy that dwells within us…