David Macpherson

David Macpherson is a recently retired physician living in Upper Burrell, Pennsylvania.

What’s in a Name?

For as long as I can remember, my family has lamented the misspelling and mispronunciation of our last name, Macpherson. When I see relatives I’ve not seen for a long time, we tell stories of gross misspelling or mispronunciation. The appended poem, written by my sister, provides clear instruction on pronunciation. My parents and siblings …

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Catching Critters

The second floor office window of my home looks out over a lovely rural valley 25 miles east of Pittsburgh. Immediately below my window is a field that slopes away to a line of trees about 50 yards away. From my perch, fauna appear intermittently and behave as if I’m not there, as if I’m …

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Against the Grain: The Tale of a Fallen Maple

Just after dawn on the beginning of a humid day, the copse below my hilltop home appeared out of order—something just not right. I crunched about 100 yards down my gravel driveway to investigate. The large maple, one of the bigger trees on my property, had toppled over, pulling up its roots when it fell. …

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The Brush Hog: Thoughts on a Fall Field Cutting

Twice a year, in June and October, I cut the long grass and other species of plants, named derisively as weeds, in my fields. It’s a bit like cutting grass with a huge lawnmower. I use a Kubota tractor with a twin-bladed brush hog attached. The cutter is about eight feet wide. For most, no …

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Contemplating the Death of Mice

I sit in my living room on a quiet winter morning dimmed by an opaque, gray sky. I hear crunching, first thinking a squirrel is playing on my roof, or winter snow and ice is starting to slide. The intermittent sound is persistent and peculiar. I walk toward it. It stops. I stop, looking, listening, …

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Hornets’ Nest

Anyone looking at the back of my house would see it—the lamp just outside my back door stuffed with hornet accretions, the nest shaped like a rugby ball but twice the size. “What the hell is that?” “Hornet’s nest.” “Jesus.” Yes, what would Jesus do? Some days, I stand a few yards away, safe, and …

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A Doctor’s Face on a Billboard

After retiring from medicine, I drove across most of the southern and western United States to explore national parks and visit relatives. Every day, I would drive by billboards showing faces of physicians. I’m sure most of you have seen this type of marketing in the Pittsburgh region if not on billboards, then certainly in …

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Mark

About 10 years ago, a six-inch bust appeared suddenly on top of a retaining wall in my back yard in Highland Park. How it got there was a mystery. Left by someone moving from the area? An abandoned kid’s toy? Or…something magical? The bust was creamy white and from a distance seemed likely a noble …

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