She's Not Ready to Give Up Her Seats
by Jim Alderson, 7/1/02

A fellow Hokie and cousin of mine, Lois Davis, recently underwent surgery at the Duke University Medical Center. Lois is my younger cousin, although one would be hard put to realize that after gazing upon us both, as she seems to be sailing through life without aging a day, a situation which is not exactly the case with men. Lois was closest to me in age among the eight of us that lived in close proximity both to each other and our grandparents.

Our closeness growing up lent itself to a rather idyllic childhood spent with ready-made playmates and doting grandparents, a sort of Waltons-like situation I rarely encounter or hear of today as extended families tend to disperse all over the place. She also was and remains my favorite cousin, and I was quite distressed when told of her illness and impending operation.

Lois was not only younger and better-looking than me, but proved smarter as well, as she came to Tech a year after I and still hasnít left, choosing to live in the area following her two graduations from Tech. She has been residing in the Blacksburg area for more years than she would probably appreciate me relating.

Lois and I were pretty tight as we moved through adolescence, attending both Coates Elementary and Tunstall High schools a year apart, as well as Sunday school at Fairview Methodist Church. Many Summer afternoons were spent together, often at a swimming pool and park known as the Shangri-la, owned by a great-aunt who thought nothing of opening her private preserve up to hordes of relatives.

Our respective immediate familiesí primary social outlet was the other, and there were a lot of Sunday afternoons spent having dinner at the rambling home of our grandparents, where a rite of passage was moving from the ĎChildrenísí table to that occupied by the adults, a trek made at the same time by both Lois and I (although, quite frankly, I found I would just have soon been back in the kitchen with my more-younger cousins, as the topics of conversation at the big table in the Dining Room often bored me to tears, a situation that hasnít changed much even now, as these gatherings continue and I look around the Ďbigí table and notice that I am one of the older ones in attendance, I would just as soon go back and sit with the other kids).

Lois had three brothers, and she and her older sister Pat were the closest I had to sisters, due to my parents taking one look at what their efforts at procreation had wrought and wisely electing to discontinue the practice after my brother and I.

It was only natural that after spending our entire careers in secondary education at the same schools, she would also attend Virginia Tech; we are a Virginia Tech family. Many Tunstall High School graduations through the early and mid-Seventies found an Alderson or a Moorefield receiving their diploma with bags already packed for Tech (made easier in my case due to the not-so-subtle graduation gift I received from my parents of luggage(. Our familyís attendance at Tech spans generations, as Loisí father and oldest younger brother are also Tech alums. Even the ones who didnít attend are well versed in Tech lore from decades of hearing us yammer on about it.

There were more than a few Hokies among the large number of Loisí relatives who gathered in the waiting area adjacent to the surgical area of Duke North on the day of her operation to express the high esteem in which her family holds her. There were more Hokies than Devils there that day, and when Lois was called for her surgery with a precision that brought to mind train timetables in 1930ís Italy rather than the casual relationship I have found most medical establishments have with appointed times, I suspect it was to free up space in the waiting area for the other patients also facing major surgeries whom we were jostling around like opponentís blocking backs. We were rather pointedly invited to leave.

Whenever any members of the extended Moorefield clan get together there is food involved, so after we were shooed out of the waiting area and I discovered that a venue large enough to hold us all, Cameron Indoor Stadium, was not available, we decided to eat and headed for the first-floor cafeteria.

After we loaded up our plates with mediocre fare that had my mouth watering for the fried whole turkeys that Larry often serves at our tailgates or the succulent ribs that are frequently grilled, we fed our faces and discussed the logical topic for the occasion, Tech football. I can report that the opinion of most of us, including me, was that Techís best chances for success this fall involve an experienced and healthy Grant Noel taking snaps, although a minority view was presented by my Mother, a no-longer-so-very young lady whose fanaticism towards Tech football causes her to become much more agitated following losses than either of her sons; even after devastating losses, and we have seen a few, Tom and I head back to the parking lot and continue the tailgate, tossing empties into trash bags rather than fine china across the kitchen. Mom feels that "if you have a Vick, use him." We shall see.

Lois had the easier time of operation as she slept through it and was spared the interminable hours of waiting for her surgery to be completed, although she probably looks at it a little differently. The tedium finally ended, however, and we were called back upstairs, and one of the few non-Hokies among the crowd sprang into action. Loisí older sister Pat is a nursing graduate of VCU. I have often wondered why anybody would even consider attending a university without Division I-A football, but the thousands of sick and infirm who have benefited immensely from being under Patís expert care have caused me to revise that opinion.

I saw plenty to assure me of the quality of the VCU nursing program in Patís take-charge attitude, unswerving optimism, and positive thinking throughout this crisis that extended into the post-surgical session with the surgeon; murder suspects under the lights face milder interrogations than the grilling the poor guy received from Pat about all aspects of the operation, until she was convinced things had gone well, and they had. Yes, we are Hokies, but there is something to be said for VCU and Duke.

I am very pleased to report that resulting tests have shown that Lois is free of the insidious disease that had assaulted an organ and precipitated this crisis that she faced with an admirable fighting spirit. She is back home in the mountains with her husband Ron and their son Ronald. Things are getting back to normal and hopefully their season tickets at Lane will not go unused in a few weeks.

Good health, Lois, and know that we are still thinking about you. See you in August.

Jim Alderson, who first made his mark with his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports.  While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1.  For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.


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