President Carter with a turkey he bagged earlier this year

The media has been abuzz this week since word from Plains indicated that Georgia’s native son and former President Jimmy Carter fell and broke his hip while getting ready to go turkey hunting.

According to a press release from the Carter Center on Monday, the ninety-four-year-old former President had surgery in nearby Americus and was alert and optimistic about his recovery.   The press release stated, ““President Carter said his main concern is that turkey season ends this week, and he has not reached his limit. He hopes the State of Georgia will allow him to rollover the unused limit to next year.”

President Carter’s prognosis is very good.  He leads a more active life than many people half his age – both physically and mentally.  His grandson, Jason Carter told me that he is much better.  No doubt, he is already beginning his physical therapy and there is little doubt that he will be back walking again soon.

Over the past several days, there have been a plethora of articles written about the former President’s fall.  Some medical magazines and web sites have been using the incident as a “teachable moment” to talk about the perils of the elderly falling and breaking a hip.  That’s all well and good, but we aren’t talking about what to expect from the expected.  We are talking about Jimmy Carter.

After seeing an article with President Carter’s picture that said “What to expect after you break a hip”, I made my own list of “What to expect when President Carter breaks a hip”:

  1. He will read the Bible in Spanish to Rosalynn tonight.
  2. He will have a topic for another book to write.
  3. He will be back walking to the Dollar General Store in Plains, Georgia before long.
  4. He will be back teaching Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church sooner than most people would have half his age.
  5. He will be making plans for deer season this fall and the 2020 Georgia Turkey Season.

No matter your politics, it is hard not to admire the man.  He has made his living writing books since, as he put it, he “was involuntarily retired” in the 1980 election.  In fact, over thirty books, making him one of the most prolific Presidential writers in our history.  In an era where former Presidents charge millions for speeches and you buy tickets to see them, President Carter holds free book signings and thousands hear him teach Sunday School each year in a small country church in Plains. He lives in the home he designed an built almost fifty years ago that is valued at less than the Secret Service vehicles that are parked outside.  He still walks the streets of Plains, where he likes to shop at the Dollar General Store.  He has been married to the same woman for over seventy years.

One of the articles I read said, “The broken hip is another health setback for Carter, who has already battled his way back from cancer. In 2015, when Carter was 90, it was announced that he had melanoma that had spread to his brain. But treatment with the powerful immunotherapy drug Keytruda appears to have cured him of the tumor.”  I literally laughed out loud when I read those words.  “Another health setback”?  I suspect that for Mr. Carter, even at ninety-four, a broken hip is not nearly as ominous as that sounds. As far as the cancer,  I’m not knocking science, and I am no doctor, but I suspect that there was something else at work when President Carter beat that cancer.  President Carter faces life with an optimism that is missing from much of our society, and whether we want to admit it or not, how we face problems has a lot to do with the outcome.  What’s more, President Carter knows a Great Physician and consults with Him on a daily basis.

I would say that President Carter will be back to normal soon, but “normal” doesn’t describe his outlook on life.  I hope that the State of Georgia lets him get an extra turkey next year.