Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

August travel plans are never easy. There are thunderstorms, overbooking, planes that lose vital organs just as travelers are about to line up to board. And everyone knows that departing from La Guardia Airport in the summer on a Friday night is always a crap shoot.

The husband had left days before to participate in summer lake life with his extended family and was a bit put out that I had to work all week and would arrive only the night before the festivities. The husband’s family is Scottish and very proud of its heritage. On Saturday, we were all to attend the  162nd continuous celebration of the Highland Games in Livonia, Mich.

But first I had to get there from New York City on a summer Friday night.

Last year I actually didn’t make it to the games because I took on the Herculean task of making dinner in New York City, packing it in coolers with ice and transporting it by plane to serve my elaborate meal to family 600 miles away. Readers who responded to the blog post about my culinary and transportation adventures actually asked if I were insane.

Photo: Macwagen,

I had a much easier trip this year. I worked on Friday then took a 5:30 Delta flight out of La Guardia to Detroit that departed and landed on time. Anita, the driver provided by the car service, did not know the way to Pontiac Trail in Orchard Lake and Lord knows I never know the way anywhere. That is why God created husbands and drivers … to make up for my complete lack of navigational skill and total ignorance of geography. So I contacted the husband for directions. Sexist Pig that he is, he was incensed that I was in a car with a female driver who did not know where Orchard Lake was. He told me to get out of that car immediately and find a man who knew the way.

Instead I gave the phone to Anita. She did get the directions from him, but kept saying to him during the last three long minutes of her conversation with him: “Sir, Sir, I need to give the phone back to your wife now. Are You listening to me Sir?” Finally she just handed the phone to me with big eyes and a face full of sentences. After I disengaged from the call, “So sorry, we seem to be losing the connection” … she looked at me and said, “Honey, you are going to need a peaceful ride before you get home to all that energy!”

Then she told me that she had worked in the police department in downtown Detroit before the downsizing had begun. No wonder she managed the husband with such determination.

When we arrived easily at our destination with time to spare, the husband was pacing outside the family home. “Oh my,” she said. ‘Look at that boy walk and walk and walk.” She took my luggage out then turned to my husband and said: “Would you mind if I took your picture with my phone? I just can’t wait to tell my girlfriends about this ride!” The husband, of course, loves to have his photo taken, under any conditions, so he agreed readily. I am sure that Anita and her girlfriends had a lot to say to that picture after work and a few drinks.

Women like Anita always give me hope for the future of our country. She has lost two jobs in five years and networked like mad to get this job that suits her talents perfectly. She was dressed beautifully and spoke as though she had spent time with Henry Higgins himself. Anita told me that times in Detroit were tough but that she had no choice but to find this job and another one part time, just in case. There was no time in her life for self pity and no time for regret. But she did manage to find time for fun: taking that picture of the husband was her revenge and her entertainment for the night. Anita is the kind of role model that women in mid-life need.

Find a man to drive me home indeed. And miss all that fun? I have Anita’s cell number and will always travel with her whenever I come home to Michigan.

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  • anne gruppo August 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    But, God blew it with my husband–he has NO navigational skills.

  • Dana Orenstein August 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Pat, As always thank for sharing your life stories with me! it always make me think! You Rock! Hope you had a wonderful time!

  • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. August 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Dear Ruth,

    Thanks for reading and commenting Ruth. I love the Kentucky crowd who have logged in and have joined in the conversation.

    I have seen lake life at its best on Barren River and can only imagine what the whiskey and bag pipes would add to this fun loving crowd.


  • Ruth Woodie August 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Love that story! We have the Highland Games in Kentucky at Barren River State Park the first weekend in June! It is really something to see!

  • RozWarren August 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I grew up in and around Detroit. You should have asked me — I could have told you exactly how to get to Orchard Lake! Glad you made it and trust that the trip was worth it. There is no place on earth more beautiful than Michigan in August.

  • Quintessence August 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

    What an entertaining ride!! I am always secretly thrilled to get a female cab driver in NY! Wishing you a wonderful weekend of Scottish frolicking!!