By Dr. Jim Ferguson What constitutes a life? Arguably, some aspects are more important than others, and lately I’ve been considering the complexity beyond just structural aspects. “We are fearfully and wonderfully made,” but so is the house finch sitting at my bird feeder. The world is filled with living organisms of wondrous diversity and […]

Get Woke

By Dr. Jim Ferguson I assure you that I’m not fishing for comments, but sometimes I wonder if my essays make any difference or are even read. Perhaps I’ve said enough; some say so. According to marketing experts at The Knoxville Focus, the newspaper has a weekly circulation of approximately 50,000, including the online footprint. […]

Happiness 2020

By Dr. Jim Ferguson I was ready for a new year. But, as I watched the descending ball in Times Square usher in baby 2020, I asked myself, will things be any different after midnight December 31 than before? My wife has a motto, “Attitude is a choice; choose a good one.” Perhaps if we […]

A Baker’s Dozen or So

By Dr. Jim Ferguson Though I am semi-retired, I’m still on-call for the Holidays, and patients do get sick on Christmas Eve. When I was in traditional medical practice my partners and I rotated holidays and night calls as well as weekend hospital rounds. Interestingly, the four-day Thanksgiving weekend was the least desired. And this […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson Like a person’s life, a culture is comprised of stories. And at this time of the year virtually everyone has a Christmas story or a Holiday tradition. To a certain extent, humans are creatures of habit and comfort. We like things as we remember them and especially those that brought joy […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson Recently, a friend and I agreed to disagree. I believe this is possible because we have mutual respect for each other, and we have far more in common than our differences. Unfortunately, the warring factions in Washington have lost sight of this perspective. It seems that power, party, politics and prestige […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that change is inevitable. Perhaps he came to this conclusion as an older guy standing in front of a mirror instead of considering flowing water referenced in his famous quote, “Panta rhei,” (everything flows). Don’t worry! This essay will not be a philosophical digression. Something […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson Many writers have compared the seasons of the year with the seasons of life. As I approach threescore and ten years, I’ve done so as well. I fancy myself late in the Indian summer of my days, though frosty mornings and brown leaves, like my aches and pains, portend winter’s chill. […]

The Difference

By Dr. Jim Ferguson Thanksgiving is late this year, so my thankful thoughts are consequently a bit late in November. I am thankful for many things, certainly more than things I whine about, such as the aches and pains commensurate with traveling around in a body that is getting older. I didn’t say old, just […]

Music to my ears

By Dr. Jim Ferguson I’m a fan of many types of music. And I’m not alone in this appreciation which can at times be almost visceral. In fact, “music,” in the form of beating, drumming or rhythmic sounds predates human speech. The first sounds heard are those of a mother’s heartbeat, imprinted upon the soul […]