Time, It Was… And What A Time It Was


Run For The Cure

When we started Grand Rants, the premise was something Alan, Stoutcat, and I came up with together: “Our World Discussed.” Sometimes we get caught up in the day-to-day current events , and when that happens, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that “Our World” is more than just about politics. So we periodically put together something that we hope you all can relate to, be it humor-based or serious. Sadly, this is one of the latter.

And I share this with you all, not to elicit sympathy, for I am fine.  Rather, it’s to share an experience that is a part of life and, in this case, the acknowledgment of  the passages that mark our lives. There’s something gained for every loss. Sometimes the gain is realized prior to the loss, other gains aren’t realized until afterward.

If I may…

I recently found out that my childhood sweetheart has passed away.  I’ll call her “Kathy.” She was just 55 years old when she passed. I came upon the news in a jarring way. I was trying to locate her to share some news about a mutual friend. While doing a Google search, I came upon an article in her alma mater publication in the “In Memoriam” section. Further research uncovered that she died of Breast Cancer.

Kathy and I remained good friends as our lives took different paths. We kept in touch over the years. But when she married a young man from England and moved there to start a family, I knew our contact would slowly ebb. Still, we kept in touch. It was during those years that I realized what a kindred spirit she was. My love for her as a young man was based on passion. My love for her as an adult was based in appreciation and respect.

What bothers me most about this is that her death may have been avoidable:  She discovered a lump on one of her breasts at a stage that should have been treatable, although there are never any guarantees where cancer is concerned. But by the time she was able to get a biopsy, the cancer had metastasized, spreading to lymph nodes. She died while waiting for medical treatment under England’s socialized medicine. And that is why I wanted to share this with all of you.

She and her husband didn’t have the means to fly to the United States for treatment. Indeed, they didn’t think it necessary until she was finally seen at a clinic in England and given the news.  “Go home and prepare your family” she was told.  This is what socialized medicine is like.

We are not out of the woods in this country regarding nationalized health Nancy Pelosi has made it clear she intends to ram this down our throats. For her and for President Obama, this is more about saving face and ego than it is doing the right thing. I encourage all of our readers to continue to write or otherwise contact your U.S. Representatives and state categorically what Obama and Pelosi refuse to acknowledge: The system of healthcare we have is the best in the world and can be made even better, but not by destroying it.

In memory of Kathy, I’m sponsoring a young lady who will be running in next month’s 3rd annual Marathon To Finish Breast Cancer in Jacksonville, Florida.

Kathy will live on in my memory.  Sadly, that’s all I have left as it dawned on me since her passing that I have no photographs of her. Somewhere during one of my moves, they must have slipped away.

As a young man, I used to play songs for her on my guitar. One came to mind as I sat down to write this. The lyrics struck me as especially poignant:

“Time it was
And what a time it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences…

Long ago (it must be)
I have a photograph.
Preserve your memories:
They’re all that’s left you…”

Gerry Ashley

7 Responses to Time, It Was… And What A Time It Was

  1. ol' hack says:


    Bookends came out shortly before I lost my brother in a tragic accident. He enjoyed Simon & Garfunkel. Every time I’ve heard it, I can’t help but to pause and reflect…. As you will every time you hear it.

    My condolences, sir. May God comfort Kathy’s family and friends.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Thank you for sharing that. I thought long and hard about whether I should share this publicly. But then I realized how needlessly she was forced to suffer by such an inefficient system of socialized medicine. With the prospects of that still hanging over our heads in this country, I figured “Kathy” would want me to speak on her behalf and on behalf of those whose lives might be spared if we’re allowed to keep the system we have. I hate politicizing the death of a friend – God knows I do. But the disdain I have for that is far outweighed by the disdain of allowing others to be forced into the same fate.

      After I finished writing this up, I found my CD of Simon & Garfunkle’s “Bookends” And played “Old Friends.” When it came to the part where Art Garfunkle’s angelic voice softly sings, “Can you imagine us years from today? Sharing a park bench quietly… how terribly strange to be seventy!” the full measure of her loss hit me.

      You’re right. Every time I hear either of these two songs, I’ll look back fondly on the memories. My message, if there is one, is simply, “Cherish your friends and love ones… don’t assume you will have that chance later.” That opportunity may not come again.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

  2. Chris in Maine says:


    I have not been here, but shall return. I lost my
    Julie like the photos in a move. The tears in my
    eyes are from “appreciation and respect”. For, indeed, what a time it was…


    • Gerry Ashley says:


      Thank you for sharing this. It was my hope that by sharing Kathy’s story, it would be cathartic to those who have lost loved ones similarly, but also help inspire even those not touched by this horrid disease to stay vigilant. There is much to be done in the way of research and treatment.

      And while some might fault me for politicizing this, my fear is that is we radically change the way healthcare and medical research is interwined in this country, much of the money available for research will dry up, eaten up by the ensuing beauracracy and inefficiencies of a socialized medical system.

      Again, I’m sorry for your loss. Even WITH the best system in the world, sometimes even that’s not enough.

      Thank you for visiting Grand Rants. I hope you will return to visit again under happier circumstrances.

  3. Sissy Willis says:

    Very powerful, heartwrenching stuff

    You’ve done the right thing, I know, in letting your loving memories illuminate the unnecessary suffering that would inevitably follow implementation of this awful thing our national leaders are trying to foist upon us.

    Thank you.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Thank-you, Sissy.

      What I find astounding is that people like Nancy “we’ll parachute in” Pelosi see this as just a notch in their belt. Never mind that it will kill what’s left of the economy (not to mention who knows how many people who will die waiting for treatment).

      This is just another way the Obama administration is attempting to rip apart the America we have known and loved for over 200 years and was created with the blood, sweat, tears and lives of so many.

      I’m a former liberal and I’m absolutely disgusted at the way the Democrats are so hell-bent to give this all away… and how so many Americans still don’t get it. Fortunately, many more DO get it now.

      But we MUST continue to call and write our US Senators and Representatives and DEMAND that they vote AGAINST this bill if, for no other reason that our economy simply cannot support this. There are other ways of providing quality care without sinking the economy. And they have NOT spent enough time doing valid impact studies on the effect this will have on the economy and to the existing health care system.

      It has to be stopped NOW because if we don’t, it will pass. And once it passes, it will literally take an act of Congress to reverse it. And what do you think the chances of doing THAT will be, given the lobbyists who have their own greedy interests at heart?

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