I now know for a fact that trouble comes in threes.
First, the smarter half of Kingwood’s Odd Couple, Ted Mandel, is moving to Padre Island. Second, Dr. Angel Munoz, the best neonatologist in the universe, is leaving Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. Third, Starbucks stopped selling its egg and cheddar breakfast sandwich.
I know, life could be worse but, as I age, I find these little changes so, well, irritating.
First, Ted Mandel. We met at an East Montgomery Chamber luncheon when he was promoting the new Kingwood movie theater. He was on THAT end of the political spectrum. I was on THIS end. After the latest election, I saw the apocalypse. Ted saw opportunity. Somehow, in between all that, we got to be good friends. I enjoyed our breakfast chats at Kingwood Bagel.
As opposite as we were, Ted forced me to realize that we’re always better off when we include people that we absolutely disagree with. Ted is always about the data – too many years, I think, of working in the high reaches of Continental Airlines. I’m the marketing guy. I wouldn’t know data if it fell on me, but Ted opened my eyes to always asking, “Why, why, why?”
And Ted loves to eat. Frankly, he is Lake Houston’s Connoisseur of Carnivore Cuisine. He’d describe in minute detail his latest café affair. Since I don’t eat meat (…or flesh, as I like to say), I declared Ted as “Tom’s Tall Tales” official Flesh-eater. His description of Jack in the Box’s drippy, crispy taco is classic.
Next, Dr. Munoz. I met him in August of 1994 when he walked into my office and introduced himself as Northeast’s first neonatologist (he takes care of newborns). Nobody has cared for babies the way Dr. Munoz cared for them. Every week, I’d tabulate the number of miracles he worked. Every year, we’d hold a neonatal reunion. All those kids (there are thousands of them now and the oldest is 24) and their parents would return. And Dr. Munoz remembered every name of every little baby he ever cared for. Amazing. He’ll still be running his WeeKare pediatric clinics and he won’t be working 24 hours a day, but still…
And then, to add to my quandary, Jo, one of my fave baristas at the Starbucks in Cypress, told me the bad news. “We don’t carry your Egg and Cheddar anymore.” What is a vegetarian to do?
Okay, Ted is just a Skype visit away and Dr. Munoz still cares for Lake Houston’s tiniest. He’s opening a second WeeKare pediatrics office down by the Beltway near Pasadena. But Starbucks? No egg and cheddar? Ever?
I know, it could always get worse. A good friend once told me his luck was “…so bad, if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.”
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