Dear Friends,

The winter storm hit Waynesboro on Thursday night blanketing us with four to five inches of snow. Corrado, the Museum director, had things planned and the next morning the snow plow was in action early clearing the roads at the Museum and the parking field at the Barn.

The Museum sparkled in the snowy sunshine.

The hills behind the Museum are the perfect sledding spot.

Although we were ready for visitors, many did not make it because of road conditions and the warnings of more snow to come. The second storm missed us Saturday, and Sunday gave us warm sunshine and melting snows.

Pat signs prints for Karen Morris during the Barn Show.

For those of you who did not make it to Waynesboro, I will be at the Museum on Friday, December 19th and Saturday, December 20th between 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. to sign for you. I was coming back to the Valley anyway for the visit of Father Christmas to daughter Mary's house in Radford. With three families of my grandchildren present I could not miss being with them to greet Santa.

The parking lot on Sunday after the snow had been plowed.

As you will see from one of the photos, Becky and family are with us from Italy. Becky and I have been working on silkscreens these last two days. Needless to say, Sofie and Michela were ecstatic over the snow, something they hardly see in Cortona and when they do, it is soon gone.

Chiara, Sofie and Michela are proud of their snowman.

Under the leadership of Pico and Chiara, they have been building snowmen and sledding. To watch their joy takes me back to my winters in Staten Island and then later to my early days in Waynesboro when my children sledded from our house on Brunswick Road. Now at my age, I would rather it not snow but at the same time it reopens memories as I see my grandchildren's excitement while sledding down the hill at the Barn.

Pat with Ginny, Becky and the children watch Pirates of the Caribbean while it is snowing outside.

Yesterday morning I visited Ladd Elementary School to teach a third grade art class. The class included my granddaughter Chiara. We were studying winter landscapes and had a ball, creating a large mural and working on it as a team. I think I had as much fun as the rest of them and I was delighted to be able to give them some first hand tips.

Ladd Elementary had no art classes until the PTO (Parents Teachers Organization) decided to raise funds and hire art teachers on their own accord. My daughter Ginny was the first chairperson of the art program and I have been a constant supporter. Anyone who watched yesterday's class would be convinced of the importance of art for all children.

Pat encourages the children at Ladd Elementary School.

Pat and Chiara pose in front of their horse mural.

This week takes me to St. Petersburg for a final signing at the gallery, the last in the gallery's history, and to check on Malcolm's recovery progress. On Sunday evening I will be returning to Mathews and then on to Waynesboro for the extra signing I told you about and to meet Father Christmas. On December 23rd, I will again fly to St. Petersburg to have Christmas with Malcolm.



Malcolm's comments:

I am discharged from hospital but I am locked into a program of out-patient appointments. I am living in the apartment above the gallery and doing a good job at dressing my wound and taking my medicine on time.

I am still troubled by the thought that I should be writing to each of you who sent me flowers, fruit or get well cards but, with having to keep my leg elevated, this remains too great a challenge. What time I have sitting up I need to devote to answering emails. Please forgive me and know that my not thanking you personally no way reflects my sentiments. I have been touched by each message, in fact overwhelmed by your kindness.

A word about nursing. I have poked some fun at hospital life in my last two messages to you. In truth I have a great respect for today's nurses and in particular for the nurses of The Skilled Nursing Unit at St. Anthony's Hospital here in St. Petersburg. They are true pros and highly dedicated to getting it right.

If I knew a young man who was wondering what profession to aim for, I would include the suggestion of nursing. At St. Petersburg Junior College, the current nursing school has 36 students of which 15 are male. As part of their training, these students visit St. Anthony's and perform routine examinations of patients.

One of the students who examined me on four occasions is a forty-one year old owner of a small business that is just keeping its head above water in difficult circumstances. I am calling him Steve because I am not sure about the etiquette of using his real name. He is married and has two young children.

Steve told me that he wanted an alternative career in which he knew he would always be in demand and never be out of work. The training is challenging academically and demands considerable time but Steve is determined and a more thorough and attentive nurse you could not ask for.

As I understand it, in the nursing profession the top level in health care practice is the nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners can work for a hospital or be independent and work for as much time as they choose. The financial rewards vary in different parts of the country, being influenced by the local needs but always providing a good wage. There are also PAs (physician's assistants) who assist surgeons in the OR (operating room) and do much of the follow up work. The PA who visited me on behalf of the surgeon had been a paramedic for thirteen years prior to training to be a PA. She told me she had had to make many life or death decisions during her paramedic days and that nothing phased her in the OR.

I spoke about this with Jean Evanson, the Society Board member who is a nurse practitioner and is currently teaching in a nursing school. She said that her male students make excellent nurses and she welcomes the increasing number of men joining the profession.

While in hospital I read a remarkable book, the most interesting book I have read in ages; "Complications" 'A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science,' by Atul Gawande. It reads like a novel while being highly informative. The book was recommended to me by Michael Newman, Pat's and my Washington, DC internist and close friend who had heard of my predicament and had concern for me. Time magazine said of the book "Gawande is a writer with a scalpel pen and X-ray eye. Diagnosis riveting."

In mentioning the book, I caution you that if you prefer not to know the risks of medicine, this is not a book for you and should be left well alone. If you have a tendency to think you are indestructible, as I did until three weeks ago, then you should read Gawande. It may save your life...well prolong it.

I am looking forward to Pat arriving on Thursday. I will have to do some tidying up before she gets here though. I feel bad about not having been there to help at the Barn show. I went too far this time in finding a way to avoid having to work!

Again many thanks for having supported me through my illness. I know your thoughts and prayers made the difference and account for my great healing.


PS: Society Membership Renewal
More Society memberships come up for renewal during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. It is a busy time so this is a gentle reminder to take care of your renewal now in case you should forget. This year renewal notices were incorporated into the outside wrap of your newsletter. If you have missed your notice, please contact the Society office at (540) 943-5678 or society@mosssociety.org. Or you may renew directly on-line on the Society web site. If you are looking for a gift for that special someone, consider giving a Society membership.

The Moss Portfolio
HC 69 Box 17118 Poplar Grove Lane
Mathews, VA 23109
(800) 430-1320
©P. Buckley Moss 2003

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