This week, the world lost a genuinely good man. This man had a huge impact on the world around me. We go way back, to my first years teaching at DA, when his children were students at Durham Academy. Most recently, he and I spent many sunny afternoons watching high school baseball, cheering for the team, my son, and his grandson. He lived close to our upper school and he and his wife, Ann Carole, were often in the stands, cheering on our teams even when kids and grandkids weren't out there. And, fittingly it seems, that's where he spent his final afternoon. He had a "heart episode" while watching our lacrosse team play in the state play-offs. The Ex-Ex helped his wife get him in the golf cart and up to the training room so that a parent who happens to be a cardiologist could take a look at him until the ambulance arrived to take him to Duke Hospital. Everyone seemed to think that he would be fine and be able to attend many more games. However, it seems that God needed him more than we do. And that is hard to believe.
Dr. Moylan and his wife raised six children. He was a Duke professor of surgery, chief of trauma services, and instrumental in the development of Duke's Life Flight program. He and his wife left Durham for three years, but returned and had an even greater impact on our community. He founded the Durham Nativity School, a tuition-free middle school for 33 inner city boys, grades 6-8. As a matter of fact, according to the Durham Herald-Sun newspaper, Dr. Moylan visited "his boys" on the day he died. Several of them were in attendance at our middle school end-of-the-year dance last night. We always invite them and they show up dressed to impress. These young men must wear a shirt, tie, and khakis every day.
I have volunteered at the Nativity School a couple of times in the past. One time, the BFF and I went there to cook with the boys. We made crêpes and tarte tatin. At the last minute, I decided to bring along some whipping cream. At their age, I didn't know about anything except Cool Whip. I had no idea you could take liquid and make yummy fluffy stuff out of it. I thought they would get a kick of that. And they did, much to my delight.
According to one of his sons, Dr. Moylan carried a handwritten note in his wallet. The note is a quote from Edmund Beck, a 20th century German Roman Catholic theologian.
5 Theological Truths
- Life is hard.
- You will die.
- In the big picture, you are not important.
- You are not in control.
- Life is not about you, it's about everyone else.
That's today's recipe, friends. The world would be a better place if we all carried these wise words around in our wallets and read them everyday, attempting to live our lives and help others the way Dr. Moylan did, without any fanfare and because we genuinely care about everyone else.
We will all miss you, Joe. May you rest in peace.
Bon appétit to all.