We have a guy here in town who has been a fixture at River Run Golf Club for as long as anyone can remember. He is the only fellow I know who only has initials- B.G.P. But, that ain’t just his initials; it is his name- B.G.P.- just like that. That’s how he is listed the phone book- not that you’d have to call him, ’cause if you want to get up with B.G.P., or B.G. (or just G.) for short, all you gotta do is go out to the golf course- that is where he lives, except to go home for supper.
I know folks from the city might not believe anyone would have a name like B.G.P., but he does. It is even on his driver’s licence that way. I mentioned him back on the post about the real Dr. Bibey. B.G.P. retired from the cement block factory years ago. Along with my buddy Snookers, he is my golf hero.
When you play golf with a guy like B.G., you learn something new every time out. “Boy,” he’ll say. “You see that willer tree down there on the right?”
“Well, I guaran-dang-tee you there’s water down there. Don’t hit it right on this hole.”
Sure enough, when you crested the hill, there’d be a stream right by the willow tree. B.G. claimed willows grow best near the water, and he was usually right.
Or on number thirteen he’d point at the County Water Tower off in the distance. “Now Doc, you keep it left of the water tower here or she’ll shore nuff trail off into the woods. Don’t try to cut the dog leg.” I watched many a young’un think they could ignore his wisdom and cut the corner, only to roll off in the trees just as B.G. predicted.
B.G. was the one who got me started in the River Run choose-up. I had just come back to town and was hitting a few balls on the range.
“Hey, boy. Ain’t you the new Doc in town?”
“Yeah. Tommy Bibey.” I extended my hand to shake and howdy. “My daddy is Dr. Bibey Sr.”
“Know him well, he used to do my plant physicals. You got a game?”
“Good, ’cause I done put you in our group. You’re riding with me.”
I was concerned. “How much do y’all play for B.G.?”
“NAP, Bibey. You’re good. Gotcha covered.”
“B.G. now you better not be betting on me, man. I’m way off my feed.” I’d just gotten out of residency, and to say my game was rusty was charitable at best.
“I know that Bibey. You’re the “D” man. We’re gonna carry you today. You can make it up to me.
Make it up I did. I was a busy young Doc, and could not begin to play as much as these guys. (Of course, they play four days a week, I have no idea how they find they time.) The first year, I never was on a winning team. I came to understand the meaning of the phrase “I’m gonna make a contribution to the B.G.P. retirement fund.” I became Doc to almost everyone in the choose-up except B.G., who never went to the doctor.
All this went on a decade. One Sunday, my wife and daughter were out of town, and Tommy Jr. and I decided to play hooky from church and go play golf.
We ran into the golf shop and B.G. spotted me. “Hey, Bibey. You ain’t never here on Sunday.”
“The wife’s outta town. The cat’s aways so…”
“Look at this here knot.” B.G pulled up his golf shirt. “You ever seen a belly button like that?”
Hm. It was definitely pooched out, mostly inflamed and red, but a touch blue. Not very tender. A bit firm. I didn’t like it. “Yeah, several. We need to run a few tests.” I hoped it wasn’t one of those weirdo Sister Joseph’s nodes. Probably just an umbilical hernia. Sure was hard though. “You throwing up any?”
“O.K. Come in tomorrow around two. Tell ‘em I sent you. Come a little early- they’ll have to do some paper work.”
“Can’t you just give me something for it?”
“Gonna have to figure it out first, G.”
“You’re just want to get money back I’ve won off you.”
“G.G., G. You’ve beat me out of three hundred bucks this year.” It’d been a bit of an expensive golf lesson, but worth it. My handicap was back in single digits. “Man, just come to the office, I don’t care if you pay me or not.”
B.G. did show up, and I was not encouraged by my first round of tests. His hemacult was positive. We got lucky on the belly button, in good light it looked more like a cyst. A biopsy showed a nonspecific inflammatory process, and it cleared up with time. Still, I was left with the blood in the hemacult.
The heck with HIPAA, it took the entire choose-up group to convince G to have a colonoscopy. It is a good thing; he had an early colon cancer. Ole B.G.P. was lucky, the belly button was a red herring- something that led somewhere else by accident. The cancer was confined to a big polyp and we got a cure. I reckon the Good Lord will forgive me for skipping church that day, but I won’t make it a habit- I don’t want to push my luck.
Another fifteen years have passed, and I still play golf with B.G. He still has not been back to the doctor, making him one of the most efficient consumers of medical care anywhere in the country. We were teamed together last week. I missed a birdie on eighteen, or we’d won the back outright.
“Sorry, G. Dang it, it should been in.”
“NAP, Doc. I figure you’re one up on me after that belly button deal.”
“I dunno, G. Maybe we’re slick. (Golf talk for even.) I don’t think you ever paid me.”
BG had a wide grin. “I reckon so, Doc. How come the hell you missed that putt? I toldja it breaks away from the water on eighteen.”
“Sorry G. I’ll get it right next time.” We walked back to the cart and sat down. G always drives- he doesn’t trust doctors. “Hey G., you’re about due for a physical. You oughta get one every decade whether you need it or not.”
“Hell, Bibey, you’re just trying to get my money. All you doctors is just alike. You gonna be here next week? I got this cat coming in from South Carolina and……”