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Somewhere Along the Way

Somewhere Along the Way features a variety of easy-to-read commentaries on the ups, downs and in-betweens of life as viewed from a back yard swing. Subjects range from those as playful as accessorizing and gift-wrapping to empathetic interviews with war veterans to the hilarious frustrations and delicious rewards of gardening, groundhog included. Music and pets are oft-visited topics.
The articles, which originally appeared as columns in Columbia Tennessee newspaper The Daily Herald, are rich in gentle humor, down-home nostalgia, occasional serious ponderings, and quirky characters. Whether read cover-to-cover or ten minutes at a time, the collection's varied look at everyday existence is life affirming and uplifting.
Chris Fletcher, former editor of The Daily Herald, dubbed the writings “…a welcome break from the frenetic pace of our modern lives” and considered Wilmoth’s stories and themes to be “…at once intimate and universal.”
Author Karyn Henley added, “Wilmoth has the rare ability to touch your heart as well as your funny bone.”

At times light and funny, at times serious and contemplative, Wilmoth Foreman's Somewhere Along the Way is an always entertaining collection of essays about life lived fully, and with meaning.

-- Alan Gratz, author of Prisoner B-3087


Sample column: How one person kicked the smoking habit

         It began in college. Outside the cafeteria, a company rep was handing out sample packets of cigarettes, four to a pack. She and her roommate each took one. Back in their dorm, they had to borrow matches to light up. Then snuffed out half-smoked cigs to save them for the next day.

     By the end of the week they'd squandered one whole pack, and the roommate had lost interest. So the next four were hers, all hers. With rationing, they ought to last for eight days. They didn't. The natural solution was to buy more, thus beginning her journey down the well-worn path toward addiction.

     Onward to marry a smoker and eventually have a family —— kids who, when they got big enough, would occasionally hide her cigarettes. But they weren't very good at it. She always found them.

     The years passed with little if any thought of quitting. To run out of milk was a minor problem, not worth a trip to the stores, all of which, during that era, closed at 6:00. Except for that one convenience store with its sky-high prices. But if the stash of cigarettes became dangerously low, she'd pile the kids into the car by 5:45. Maybe, to give the trip to the grocery legitimacy, buy some milk along with the pack of Benson & Hedges menthol.    

     After nearly fourteen years of addiction, she was up to over a pack a day. And the cost was rising. A carton was nearly $20; vending machines had gone up to 75c per pack. Her habit was getting to be a major expense. Yet, despite money matters and escalating public/medical opinion that smoking might be hazardous to your health, she continued to smoke.

     Two juxtaposed things did crack the invisible protective wall she'd built around her habit. One was a pain —— a searing pain that, if she took a deep breath, shot parallel to her spine down the right side of her back. "I'd better check it out," she told herself and made an appointment for x-rays. Which showed nothing amiss. But she knew better.

     The other: an illustrated magazine article. Not only did it spell out her habit's dangers. It pictured a lung before and after smoking. The first picture was a blackened mess. The second, taken just a year after quitting, was a healthy red. The article assured smokers that, even if their habit was long-term, smoke-free lungs could heal themselves. 

     It also described in lay terms how addiction works. "Your body builds up an army to resist what's bad for it," said the article. "When the bad thing (like smoking) happens again and again, that army gets habited to surging forth to fight that enemy. It gets so used to rallying for the cause, it will show up even if the enemy doesn't."

     "I can do this," she said, and threw her cigarettes in the garbage. Only to, after most stores were closed, shell out highway robbery prices for "just this one pack" at a convenience store. Again and again she'd buy a pack; smoke a few, spaced at long intervals; throw the pack away. She and the convenience store clerk were on first-name basis.

     "This isn't working," she finally admitted. And the shooting pain was still there. She either had to quit or never again breathe deep. Patches hadn't been invented; hypnosis was out of the question. She came up with one more option: She'd keep cigarettes onsite. And diet simultaneously, so as not to substitute food for smokes.

     Wherever she went, the cigarettes went. One pack stayed in the car, one in her purse. When she prepared meals, a pack was within reach on the counter. At times when, as described in the magazine, her "inner army" charged forth to fight the enemy, she'd hold tight to kitchen cabinet edges to keep her hands from grabbing a cigarette.

     The plan worked; she quit smoking. A year or so later, her husband also quit. For several years she said, "The minute I'm pronounced terminally ill, I'm gonna light up."

     That vow has passed. Seldom does a wafting tendril of cigarette smoke cause her to sigh and inhale deeply. But when it does, breathing deep is free of sharp pain.

     --column for June 3, 2012