No one ever heard of sun screen when we were kids. To screen yourself from the sun you had to find a rare piece of shade, which is no small achievement in the Arizona desert. It was that or park your behind in the house. And that wasn’t about to happen when we were grabbing the world by its horns.
It was so hot that we figured the less clothes the better. It was kinda cool to see how dark our skin could get. Some of the girls would even slather themselves up with baby oil to get even darker.
As a young man framing houses I dressed similar to the way I did when I was a kid. By then I’d spent so much time in the sun my back was the color of Coca Cola. My poor nose peeled more times than it should have…
About ten years ago I began to pay the fiddler… I get regular skin checkups and the doctor freezes, which is so blasted cold that it burns, the pre-cancer spots off my tired skin. I have a small hole in the end of my nose where the pre-cancer was burned off six or seven years ago.
I always hold out hope for my annual skin check up. I think that this could be the year that he checks me, always a young female nurse with him and me stripped down to my underwear…🤨, and says, “It all looks good. See you next year.” But it’s yet to happen…
Sure enough, the trigger happy freezing fiend didn’t take long to find spots to burn, but this check up took a new twist. “Did you know you have a mole on the bottom of your foot?”
“No,” I said with dread.
He went on to tell me that he would have to cut it out and get it biopsied. Then he explained that moles on the bottom of your feet or on the palms of your hands are often melanoma.
By the time the young nurse was shooting the bottom of my foot with an unpleasant needle to prepare me to have a hole dug in my foot I didn’t care so much about being in my underwear. Those kinds of things fade to grey when faced with real issues, like possible cancer.
It’s hard to walk around with a chunk of meat dug out of the bottom of your foot. It’s also a couple of sobering days waiting to hear the results of the test.
The days are gone when I thought I could outlast the sun. I never considered mortality back then. And I cheated death almost daily. These days I step off curbs carefully… a far cry from jumping off roofs to be the first in line to the catering truck. And you’d be hard pressed to find me outside without a cotton long sleeved T-shirt on, but the damage is done…
I reminded myself that I don’t know the number of my days, but I know Who does. I’m called to make the most of the days I’m given so that each one brings Him honor. I still fail at that…
I was relieved to get the phone call to let me know the test came back negative. But our days are like musical chairs and one day we all have no place to sit when the music stops.
Those words of wisdom we memorize early in life come back to us; “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Learning the words is different than living the days.
I was disappointed, but not shocked when I discovered the site wound was infected. Another massive needle in the butt and ten days of antibiotics four times a day. And all because of a freckle on my foot… Maybe I’ll laugh about it someday… that would be a gift in and of itself.