I was racking my brain, such as it is, to come up with a topic for this week’s column. As has happened many times, more than I would like, in the years I have been writing Weather Or Not for EDN I drew a complete blank. It sort of relates to the novelist’s writers block, but more closely resembles something else. I met a painter (artist) named Charlie Palmer in Spokane, Washington years ago who told me he was experiencing what he called painter’s block. He had too many of his own paintings drying in his studio. They seemed to fill his brain shutting off his ability to create new work. He had to remove them from his studio to clear his mind of them and start a new painting. That describes what keeps happening to me. I go through most of the week arriving at Thursday with zero, zilch, nada, no clue as to what story I want to tell. I need to have the column completed by Sunday night so that doesn’t leave much time.
Then suddenly, like the light bulb over a cartoon character’s head, a topic explodes in my brain. I’m not sure where the inspiration comes from, but I’d guess it’s my guardian angel allowing me to see through this blank computer screen and grab onto a new idea. That is exactly what happened this time. My brain raced over the previous column topics that I have discussed and they blocked out anything new. Then it came to me while I was on Facebook. I received an invitation to a GoFundMe page for one of my Facebook friends who has been going through some life-shattering events. His courage under these traumatic conditions is what I want you to see.
I don’t know about you, but there are times when I start to feel sorry for myself for whatever current circumstance is causing me distress. Whether it is physical or mental pain, financial worries or a myriad of other issues, I can feel like I’m going to be overwhelmed. That’s when I see someone like Monte Muirhead and I shake off what’s bothering me and I am buoyed up by his unbelievable attitude toward the severe life trials he is going through. This makes any so-called “mountain” in my life seem like a tiny molehill.
Let’s start at the beginning. I first met Monte Muirhead back in the mid 1990s. I worked for KVAL-TV and Monte was a reporter for KPIC-TV in Roseburg. We worked for the same company that owned all three stations KVAL in Eugene, KPIC in Roseburg, and KCBY in Coos Bay. If I remember correctly I was in Roseburg for a live weather broadcast (called a Live Shot) at the Douglas County Fair and we met when I stopped by the Roseburg TV studio. Just a quick look at Monte’s resume from that point on shows that in 1999 he moved up to the News Director/Lead Anchor position at KCBY in Coos Bay. From 2004-2007 he was Reporter/Bureau Chief at KOBI in Medford and 2007-2009 reporter/Bureau Chief for KMTR-TV, Eugene. Monte shifted gears by 2012 when he earned his Masters Degree, Curriculum and Teaching; Middle and High School Language Arts endorsement and Social Studies endorsement. Just as his teaching career started Monte was diagnosed with stage 4 Cancer. Not the kind of news he needed to hear. Monte is only in his early 50s and should have many years ahead of him. He went through chemotherapy and surgery which helped for a while, but was told recently that there was only one therapy left to try. The problem was he developed adverse side affects from the drug and had to stop taking it.
If that wasn’t devastating enough Monte’s mother ended up in the hospital at the same time he was admitted late last year. Sadly she passed away at 2:45 pm December 1, 2015.
All through this ordeal Monte has been updating his condition on his Facebook page. He has even apologized for some of the details, but it was the only way for some of his friends to know how he was doing. Under the circumstances I see no reason for him to apologize for describing his journey, but that is Monte’s way. The current issue is that, not being able to work, he can’t earn any money. His medical costs have been an issue, but now he has run out of money for his day-to-day living expenses. Monte has a long list of friends who have been helping him out when they can. But the time came to go “public” and a gofundme page has been set up to help defray his expenses.
A special benefit concert is scheduled for March 20th in Sutherlin with many bands volunteering their services to help out. Besides hopefully bringing in money to help out, the concert will be a great celebration of Monte’s life in which he can actually participate. It is wonderful to show appreciation for a person’s life after they have passed on, but this will be a happy celebration that allows everyone to tell Monte how much they appreciate his life and for him to thank them and spend some real quality time with the people he loves and who love him. As anyone who knows Monte would agree he volunteered for just about anything he was ever asked to do and now it’s time for people to step up and help him out. For more details concerning the concert you can go to the Facebook Events page Cindy Lou has posted.
Monte doesn’t know how much time he has left, but he is doing his best to live it with dignity, purpose and gusto. Please don’t let him down.
If you have an idea for a future topic let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].