July 9, 2021


I especially like this photo of my niece Emily and her daughter Katie—taken on one especially happy day.  This was the day of Katie’s white coat ceremony at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in Memphis.  Her mom and dad came from Murfreesboro to celebrate this milestone with Emily and Arthur.  I think their expressions show their joy.  Emily’s life was marked by pain and tragedy—but I know how happy she was that Katie had reached this milestone.  Emily did not live to see her daughter graduate with her doctor of pharmacy degree, but she knew Katie was well on the way to that goal.

When Katie was in high school, she called me in South Carolina and asked if she could come for a visit to talk with me about her dreams for college.  She flew to Columbia that summer for a week and I took her to see the University of South Carolina campus, to the Riverbanks Zoo, sightseeing and shopping.  She said she was going to be the first person in her immediate family to complete high school, she knew she was academically gifted and wanted to talk about what it would be like to go to college. I was the only family member she knew who had graduated from college. We talked a lot about education that week—both what it could do for you and what it could not do.  I knew she was bright and also had good common sense, and felt she would reach her goals.

After Emily died, Heather and I went to Katie’s wedding to Arthur, she got that pharmacy degree and a good job.  They have two beautiful children, Landon and Madison, and a lovely home.  It’s certainly not a perfect life—much heartache and pain along the way—but I think she’s an amazing woman.  Her mama would be so proud of her!  As she always was.

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