Field notes: Good riddance, John Wayne

— I’m ready this Monday to get back to my latest job: getting into the cancer center and joining with my medical team to kick this tumor’s butt before it kicks mine.

— And, whoopee, I can feel I am recovering from the weekend’s exhaustion, the chief side effect for me of radiation and chemo, and about the only thing about all this that gets me down. I am not used to having knees that feel like noodles. Of course, there is a good fortune of no metastisis, we think — unlike my poor friend Pat, whose bad cells seemed to rocket from his kidneys to his head.

— I am having a little trouble sorting out the feelings of lung cancer and juniper season allergy, but I know the pollen infliction can cloud everything.

— I am sure that notes and calls from friends, with offers of soup and literary encouragement, have improved my outlook.

— Even with the predictable weekend exhaustation, being away from newspaper work and able to look beyond the daily bickering of the political world, I have more time to read and experience interesting bursts of thought, cloudy as they might be.

— I have not had the nerve or patience since it’s publication in 1995 to read Robert S. McNamara’s book on the U.S. and Vietnam. I got deep into this weekend.

— I also seemed to get lined out on examining my lifelong internal conflict — parentally bred, I believe — between the would-be minister and the unapologetic John Wayne. I am increasingly unafraid to be something other than John Wayne.

— I know my education has been far too rooted in cowboy movies, but I know now I watched mostly for the horses and otherwise saw only the white hats.

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