Heart in the Right Place, an alternately laugh-out-loud-funny and cry-your-eyes-out-serious memoir about the down-sizing of Carolyn Jourdan's life from white marble columns, gilded domes, and Neiman Marcus to naugahyde, peeling linoleum, and Wal-mart.
Carolyn Jourdan had it all: the Mercedes Benz,
the fancy soirees, the best clothes. She moved in the most exclusive circles in
Washington, D.C., rubbed elbows with big politicians, and worked on Capitol
Hill. As far as she was concerned, she was changing the world.
And then her mother had a heart attack. Carolyn came home to help her father with his rural medical practice in the Tennessee mountains. She'd fill in for a few days as the receptionist until her mother could return to work. Or so she thought. But days turned into weeks.
Her job now included following hazmat regulations for cleaning up bodily fluids; maintaining composure when confronted with a splinter the size of a steak knife; distinguishing between a "pain," a "strain," and a "sprain" on indecipherable Medicare forms; and tending to the loquacious Miss Hiawatha, whose daily doctor visits were never billed.
Eventually, Jourdan gave up her Mercedes and made do with a twenty-year-old postal jeep. She shed her suits for scrubs. And the funny thing was, she liked her new life. As she watched her father work tirelessly and uncomplainingly, she saw what making a difference really meant: being on call all hours of the day and night, tolerating the local drug addict's frequent phone calls, truly listening to Miss Hiawatha. It meant just showing up, every day, and taking care of every person in Strawberry Plains and beyond, whether he got paid to do it or not. And for his daughter, it meant learning that her real place to change the world was right herein her hometownby her father's side.
The Hankins Sisters
my mother suddenly became ill with a heart problem,
I was drafted as a temporary replacement for
her in my fathers rural medical practice
near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
I didnt relish the idea of taking any
leave from my glamorous job as a U.S. Senate
lawyer, but it was an emergency and I was assured
it would only be for a couple of days.
How could I say no? So I rushed home from Washington to fill in as his receptionist.
When I unlocked the front door of my fathers office at 7:30 the first morning, the phone was already ringing. I hurried inside and stretched across the reception desk to answer it.
Dr. Jourdans office, I said, out of breath.
Do yall wash out feet? a woman shouted in a raucous voice.
I considered her question. Although I spoke the local dialect fluently, I had no idea what she meant. I said, Excuse me? and ...
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The observant wit and wisdom of James Herriot lives on in Carolyn Jourdan's tales of life among the people of rural Tennessee - people as eccentric, tough, stubborn and stoical as the Yorkshire farmers of Herriot's time.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (532 words).
Carolyn Jourdan is a former U.S. Senate Counsel to the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Governmental Affairs (now Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs). She has degrees from the University of Tennessee in Biomedical Engineering and Law. She lives on the family farm in East Knox County, Tennessee, and has seven stray animals (four dogs and three cats). Heart In The Right Place takes place over the course of a year in the early 1990s when her life changed dramatically when ...
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