Marquee at the Walmarks
If you want to know when you’ve made it in the County, here’s how you can be sure.
It ain’t if you’ve saved forty-eleven lives or memorized the New England Journal of Medicine. And it is unrelated to perfect attendance at the Rotary Club. Teaching Sunday School won’t hurt, but by itself won’t cut the gig. Even helping little old ladies across the street might go unnoticed.
I am here to tell you though, if you ever get your name on that Billboard right there at the Walmarks, then by golly you have arrived.
You see, Walmart is a big thing in these parts- it was our first fancy store we got brought in from the outside world. I love the story (plagiarized from somewhere else) about the lady who said she liked Family Dollar, ’cause you didn’t have to dress up like when you went to the Walmarks.
Neuse River did a fall festival last year, and we were advertised on the Walmart Billboard. In fact, we got top billing over the annual Kiwanis Club pancake supper, and we were genuine stars for a full six weeks.
I heard it most every day. “Dr. Bibey, I seen your name on the Walmarks sign. You gonna quit doctoring?”
“No sir.” I could almost turn on my internal mental cassette recorder. “I still like doctoring. Don’t worry, I ain’t giving it up any time soon.”
“You boys is gonna go to Nashville soon, ya’ll’s gonna be on the Opry.”
“Truly sir, we ain’t that good. Trust me.” and so it would go.
That night though, I had to go by Walmart to pick up a prescription. As I sat in traffic and waited to turn at the light I looked up at the sign. NEUSE RIVER LIVE AT THE FALL FESTIVAL. – Dr. Tommy on the Mandolin. I hate to admit it but I got a bit of a kick out of it. Just think of it- my name on the Marquee at the Walmarks. And mama said my mandolin was going to get me in trouble some day. I was gonna call her when I got home. I figure I had arrived ’cause I don’t see how it could get any bigger than that.