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Be determined to be the ‘best of the best’

I

t has become a popular contest among businesses and the health industry to be voted as nominees to the “best of the best.” The nominees always see it as a prestigious award to be in the top five of their individual category — as they should.

If I were to add to the categories, I’ve arrived at a few that have already won in their category. I discovered one of the winners this week. Othel and I were enroute to see the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, thanks to my cousins, Jimmy and Linda, who issued our invitation. It’s a long, long trek, even in flight time, and even though I enjoy the time that flights can save, landing is not something I enjoy.

I’ve been able to fly numerous times, but when I hear and feel those wheels lower, I grip the arms of my seat and pray that the breaks will work when those wheels hit the runway. In every flight it’s been an ordeal that felt like we would end up going through the terminal windows, so I’ve just assumed that’s the way it has to be.

Not so. On our flight from Dallas to Seattle, I felt and heard the landing wheels go into position. I did, too — gripping the arms of my seat and helping the pilot push the brakes. To my great delight, the plane dropped down like a giant butterfly landing on a soft flower. I actually had a to look out my window to know for sure that we had landed.

How could that be? All these years of flights and there’s one pilot that has learned the art — the true art — of landing a plane. I don’t even know his name, but anyone who’s ever flown with him will remember the pilot that made an A-plus in plane landings. He’s the best of the best.

One other category would be the art of administering an injection — above or below the waist. I will always remember the school nurse that would spend half a day or more at Macedonia High School on inoculation day. The health department kept up with shot records, and when that notorious nurse arrived, the “record” had the power to put you in the line, her line with a hypodermic that could go from one side of your arm and out the other, for your shot. Swooning, crying, hiding, running or the evil eye could not save you from her wielding weapon. I know; I tried it all.

Perhaps she was never trained in the art of injecting or perhaps she had been injected with an ice pick-size needle as a child, but whatever the reason, she left a mark on me. Oh, the physical mark is gone, but the memory is permanent.

Then one day in my adult years, I met Vickie, an internal medicine nurse that totally demolished my theory that shots were meant to hurt because they HAD to hurt. Whatever area of my body that a shot was prescribed, Vickie would always be the same — gentle, quick, and absolutely pain-free in her injecting. In fact, if she didn’t tell you it was done, you wouldn’t know. Amazing! The best of the best.

When I think about my own categories, I realize that there are probably so many more people who are the “best of the best” at what they do. Wouldn’t it be a refreshing world if each of us determined that whatever job God might assign us in life, we would really strive to be the best of the best? Yes, that might be aspiring to more than we can accept, but with God, the absolute best as our helper, we have a head start.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.