Archive for August 2008

On T.V. for Mom

August 31, 2008

        I was off for the holiday, and it’s a fine Labor Day weekend- still rocking on, and it ain’t over yet.

        Saturday I played a political rally with folk rocker Al Donnelly at the local gun club.  I forgot what party it was, but we are an equal  opportunity band- weddings, divorce parties, funerals, whatever.  The chow was BBQ.

        Sunday one of the McCurry boys got married, so there was some fine picking there.  We had BBQ there too.

        Then Sunday evening I played with Darrell at a church supper.  The food- you guessed right.  BBQ and bluegrass go hand in hand.

        When I got home my mom had left a message on my phone.  “Tommy. Darrell’s on T.V. playing down at the First Methodist Church.  Turn on the T.V.  Then just ten minutes later was a second message from her.  “Why Tommy, I didn’t know you were going to be there.  You are such a handsome boy, (mama needs her cataracts done) but you are looking a bit woolly.  (That means I need a haircut- she’s been saying that since the Beatles got here.)

        I tell you what.  I am closing on on being an old man, but I still dig it when my mama checks in on me.  It makes me feel like a kid.

        As soon as the holiday is over I better go get a haircut.

Dr. B


Exhumed-Excerpt of Chapter 41

August 29, 2008

Chapter 41:  Exhumed 

        Dawn broke.  Did the ruse work?  Was Snookers able to convince Olden his case was in jeopardy?  All I could do is wait on one of the scouts to call.
        It warn’t long.  Light-thirty.  Six bells. My computer flashed an e-mail alert.  Ms. Cindy had logged onto the blog.
        “Me and Ranger Dog were out for our morning walk and wish to confirm.  There is a body and that body is Blinky.”
        I responded.  “Positive ID?”
        “Yep.  Correct headstone anyway.  Plus Jim Olden was ecstatic.  He said to take him to the morgue now, then re-bury that S.O.B. just as fast as you can.”
        “Got it.  No question, then.  That is a positive ID.  Anything else?”  I typed a response.    
        “Yes.  Do not trust Mr. Olden.  Betty Wallendorf was all but slobbering over him.  Ranger Dog growled at the man.  Ranger likes everyone- Olden must be a cheat.”
        “I always trust the intuition of young women and old dogs, Ms. Cindy.  Thanks for the heads up.”
        “Not a problem Bibey.  Y’all play ‘Lonesome old Graveyard’ for me in your next set,” she replied.
        “Will do.”  Ms. Cindy was a good’un.  I reckon I’d better get down to the morgue and see what was gonna shake out.
        I sauntered in.  “Hey ya’ll, Dr. Mortimer around?  I promised I’d bring him Darrell’s new gospel CD.  Lord a mercy it’s good.”  Everyone looked very nervous, and of course I had no idea why.  “Lord, y’all look like you’ve seen a ghost.  Ain’t y’all used to dead people by now?”…………..

        Well, back to Indie’s current situation.  I am pleased to report he is a little better.  Right after the holiday I’m gonna check another chest x-ray and be sure this pneumonia clears 100%.  I’ll let you know how it looks.

Dr. B

Jury Selection: Chapter Excerpt

August 26, 2008

        Y’all, Indie is really sick right now.  Pneumonia.  I hope he pulls through.  He said to let y’all know and for y’all to keep pulling for him.  I asked him if he wanted us to say a prayer, and he said things warn’t that desperate yet, but he said to send some up for the folks in worse shape.

        I asked Indie if it would be O.K. to print an excerpt of the book.  I figured y’all already know Indie got in a lot of trouble when Blinky Wallendorf died.  And my guess is you also guessed Betty Wallendorf sued him.

        Well, as far as how all that came out, Indie ain’t ready to tell, and he still says not to send out the full manuscript till after he’s gone.  At the same time,  he wanted you to know some, and he approved todays’ post.

        I’m glad it was O.K. with him.  If I make it as a writer, much credit has to go to my blog readers.  You have been very influential in my writer journey.  I figure y’all deserve more of an insider’s perspective than the folks who just happen to buy the book by mistake down at the Walmarks, so here goes.  This is my first full chapter excerpt I have posted.  And now a disclaimer- it may change a lot by the time agents and publishers get a hold of it, but I wanted y’all to have the benefit of previewing the original version.  Here it is- Chapter 29- I hope you enjoy.


                                Chapter 29: Jury Selection

         So, O.K., there was going to be trial.  We started with the matter of jury selection.  Mac and Tag predicted local counsel would prove helpful, and they were right.  Ted David was a fine Christian man who knew every scoundrel in town- both the legal and illegal ones.  Anyone who could be bought off was eliminated from the mix early on.  
        Gibson Taylor was aggressive too, though.  We almost got Mrs. Chili on the jury.  I was all about her- fair, honest, open minded- just what we wanted.  She was rejected by the plaintiffs.  We had a chance until they realized she had been my English teacher, and then she was bounced.  I never did figure out Gibson’s source.  And, how he knew I played in a high school garage band with Ross Douglas I’ll never know, and Rossie didn’t either. 
        We haggled for two days, and pared the list down to twenty souls.
 “Man.  I’m tired of looking at the bios on all these folks, Ted.  I don’t see how we can predict what they are going to do anyway,” Indie complained.
        Ted was persistent in his perusal.  “Doc, I hate to tell you, but most of these things are won or lost before the trial ever starts.  Think of it like the first tee in golf.  A good hustler cuts his bets there, and knows how to shave the margin before he ever hits the first shot.  What kind of game he plays is immaterial, as long as he knows the opponent well enough.  If he’s gathered the right information, then what follows is predictable.”    
        The next day was spent with the entire team reviewing the prospects for the final cut.  Mac, Tag, and Ted David poured over the details. For the most part, me and Indie just sat back and watched.  The players got as much scrutiny as athletes trying to make a pro ball team.
        Mac was the lead attorney, but she considered all input from the team.  She shuffled thorough the reams of prospective juror data.  “O.K., guys.  Tell me what you know about number seventeen.”
        “Seventeen- Joseph E. Watson.  He’s very quiet, and we don’t know much of his background,” Tag said.  “He retired after thirty years with the State Credit Union in Raleigh, and moved to the County last year to take care of his mother.  Taylor didn’t object to him, I think because he wasn’t a local, or least has been gone a long time.”  Ted David made a motion to keep him.  People that stayed in one job a long time were often conservative, and tended to opt for lower settlements.  Watson was old, a slight man with horn-rimmed glasses.  I hoped he wasn’t demented, but didn’t object, and he passed.
        Several were ditched because they hated doctors in general, and two were omitted because they thought all lawyers were crooks.  Both sides jockeyed for position.  After a couple deals and trades, three more were seated. 
        “Good grief, guys,” I said.  “You’re like the Dodgers and Yankees trading players.” 
        Indie was pleased to see how hard the team fought for the folks they wanted, but Taylor was also tenacious. 
        One potential juror was from a family I recognized.  They had been mad at me twelve years ago when they wanted me to send their dad to the V.A. and Case Management could only come up with a Sandhills transfer. They still held a grudge about it, and wanted to nail Indie to get back at me.  Mac had them home watching the soaps before noon. 
        Mac was nervous about Jen, who owned a beauty shop, but I convinced her to leave the girl in.  “Mac, they’ve got Janie working the street for them.  We need a Beauty Operator too if we can slide one in there.  Gibson’s team missed the cue on that one.  Jen worked part time as a journalist, a profession that tended toward sympathy for the plaintiffs, and team Taylor voted yes on her. 
        “What about this one?”  Tag asked.  “Wanda Meyer.  Housewife.  Husband is Oscar.  She was approved by Taylor earlier today.”  
        “Wanda?  Don’t trade her for any two!”  I had dozed off, but the name awoke me.
        “How do you know this one, Bibey?  Is she an old girlfriend?”  Tag asked.
        “No, no.  She ran the pig races at the fair for years.”
         Mac looked over her glasses.  “Pig races?  What, pray tell, is a pig race?” 
        “Shoot, Mac. That’s always the biggest attraction at the fair.  The little porkers run at the top of every hour.  There’s a chicken wire pig-pen track they race through to get an ear of corn for a prize.  They announce it by a bugle call that sounds like the start of the Kentucky Derby.  Heck, once we played a gig at the fair, and when they sounded the bugle everyone left our show right down to my own mama.  I’ve known Wanda for ages.  She’ll not dig Gibson Taylor at all. Leave her in.”  
        Tag rolled her eyes.  “Lord have mercy.”
        Mac winced, but did not object.  I’m sure she didn’t frequent the pig races or eat vinegar fries at the County Fair, but she was smart enough to take any help she could get.  Wanda passed the mustard, as they say around here.   
        “Bonita LaTrice.  I think….” Mac started.
        “Bonita!”  Indie interrupted.  “Damn!”
        “Is she another pig racing crony?” Tag asked.
        “Hardly.  Man, she’s Blinky’s old flame!”
        “Prejudicial.  Mac countered.  She’ll have to be ditched.  Gibson should know better.”
        “No, no, Mac.  You don’t understand.”  Indie said.  Gibson don’t know, ‘cause Betty don’t either.  She never found out.  You know what?  Bonita was good to Blink.  Shoot, he and Betty didn’t have….., uh…”  Indie realized he was in mixed company.  “Well, never mind, but I tell you the only reason Blink didn’t leave was ‘cause he was too good a guy and hated to hurt Betty.  Too damn good for his own good he was.”  I thought Indie was gonna cry.
        “Wouldn’t she favor a settlement for Blinky?”  Mac asked.
        “If Blink was alive she would, but not for Betty.  I guarantee it.  She hated that woman with a purple passion,” Indie said.
        Bonita stayed in until the eleventh hour, but Gib caught us.  A note came over from team Taylor on the last day.  “The Beauty Operator votes no to Bonita.  Sorry- we have to make a trade-Gib.”
        It took three more days, but we got a jury seated both sides could live with.  No question, team Taylor had the advantage as far as the science of jury selection.  One cat on their team was a bone-fide expert in the matter- very impressive.  We had the home court advantage, though.  It was a lot like Bill Cosby’s old basketball team- we knew where every loose board was on the court.  As far as which set of skills would win the day, only time would tell.  I was nervous.  Indie was worse than that.  I didn’t want him to take to drinking too heavy.  I’d have to watch after him close.

Dr. B

Darin Aldridge and Brooke Justice Quintet Revisited

August 26, 2008

        Ted Lehmann posted a review of the new Pinecastle Gospel release from the Darin Aldridge and Brooke Justice Quintet, “I’ll Go With You.”

        It is great to see a couple of talented N.C. kids get such good press so far away from home.  As usual, Ted was right on with his review of the project.

        You can read his post by clicking on the following link:


        Take it from Dr. B, this is a traditional music duo you will hear much from.

        Later tonight I plan on posting a book excerpt, so stay tuned.

Dr. B

The Best Ones Are All That Way- Joe Garagiola, Jr.

August 24, 2008

        I’ll get back to fiction with my next post, but I thought about an old gig the other day, and wanted to share this story first.      

        My mandolin gets me into the best venues.  You remember Al Donnelly, the Irish folk rocker?  Some time back he got a call to play a sports banquet.  It was for a few hundred people and he wanted a little extra sparkle, and thought it called for a mandolin.  Well, have mandolin will travel, so I was in.

        As it turned out, the guest speaker was Joe Garagiola, Jr.  I’m sure you remember his dad- the bald headed catcher with all the great baseball stories who was a mainstay on T.V. a few years back.  As you can imagine, Joe Jr. knew a bunch of tales, too.  He’d been around baseball all his life.

        As it turned out, though, Joe Jr. is more than just a ball player.  He’d been to law school and was chief counsel for the Yankees for years.  I figure if you report to George Steinbrenner, you’re a tough dude.  Nowadays Garagiola is Major League Baseball’s Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations, and was general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks for a  decade.  But in spite of all that he was a nice fellow, and had the quiet confidence of a guy who had found his way in the world.  The best ones are all that way.

        He started out with a lot of Yogi Berra stories, and they were very funny, but it was his take on Joe DiMaggio that caught my ear the most.  Some one asked DiMaggio how he could play so hard every game and he said, (paraphrased) “Because someone is the crowd might see me for the only time, and I want to give them their money’s worth.  However I play ball that day will be how they remember me.”

        I was positioned right behind Mr. Garagiola for the evening.  I enjoyed his talk, and I think he dug my mandolin work.  After the gig, we got to chat for a moment.

        “Mr. Garagiola, I enjoyed your talk, especially the part about DiMaggio.”

        “Thanks Doc, I enjoyed your music too.”

        “You know, I wanted to be a ball player, but I ran into a kid with a fastball I couldn’t hit, and decided I’d better be a Doctor.”

        “That was probably for the best, Doc,” he said.

        “Yeah, I think so too.  My buddy made it to triple A.  I just didn’t have the arm or the speed.  Loved it though.  I thought about what you said about DiMaggio, and I agree.  You know, even though I wasn’t good enough to make it in baseball, I still took home some lessons from the game.  I had read that about DiMaggio.  Even though I am gray haired now, and don’t have to do it, I still read and study and try to give each patient my best.  For all I know it might be the only time they see me.”  

        “Doc, the best ones are all that way.”  We shook hands.

        I ain’t as good as DiMaggio, but I took it as a high compliment.

        Y’all, about the time I finished this post, I got a call about Indie.  He’s sick with fever and cough, and I’d better go check on him.  I’ll report back to you mid-week.

Dr. B

Betty Wallendorf and Jim Olden, CEO

August 22, 2008

        When I visited Indie Thursday he wanted me to bring my mandolin. I pulled it out of the case.

        “Whatcha wanta hear Indie?”

        “Ah Bibey, you know the Cherokee Shuffle is my favorite. Lord I wish I could still fiddle worth a damn.”

        “The ‘Cherokee Shuffle’ it is, Indie. Only the best for you,” I said.

        “You know what, Bibey? That Marfar of yours is a good’un. No wonder you was able to walk the straight and narrow. A woman that pretty who can cook like that and play the bass too?  God Almighty.”

        “Yep, I married good Indie. You did too, brother. Ms. Jenkins was a sweetheart.”

        “She sure was Bibey. I hate it about that one time.”

        “You mean the little French foreign exchange student?” I asked.


        “I’m sure Ms. Jenkins forgave you Indie.  Anyone could see how that could happen.  Dang if that girl didn’t know how to wear a sweater.”

        “Yeah boy.  She had better curves than a slope shouldered guitar.”

        “You boys still picking?” Indie asked.

        “Yep, we’ve got a new record coming out.  Remember when we were here for Nursing Hone week? Someone recorded it, and it came out pretty good.  We’re gonna call it Live at the Convalescent Center.”

        “Damn, that’s good Bibey.  I like that.” Indie smiled.  ‘Live at the Convalescent Center.’  Can I write the liner notes?”

        “Sure Indie.  I played the ‘Shuffle’ through a few times.

        “So, Bibey, you wanta hear about the first time Olden and Betty tried to get me?”

        Yeah, Indie go ahead.”  I noodled through a few more lines, and then put the mandolin back in the case.

        It didn’t get far, Bibey. Betty had me hauled into Olden’s office right after Blink’s first stroke.  Hell, she said I’d told Blink it was just a spell, and he could wait and come to the office Monday.  Can you believe her crap? I didn’t hear a thing about it until it was over.”  I knew it was gonna be trouble.  Betty’s car was in the parking lot right next to that little piss-ant hospital attorney, Jackson Leggett.”

        “So, how’d ‘ya dodge it?”

        “I knew I needed an ally, and I ran into little Molly Tenbrooks on 3-West.  I offered her and her fellow my motorcycle for the weekend.”

        “You talking about the ‘47 Chief?”

        “Yep.  Genuine ‘47 Indian Motor Sports Bike. Former Nevada Highway Patrol moto-cycle cop ride.  Well, Molly got real quiet.  She knew I was in trouble.”

        “I guess so.  You never loan out your bike.”  Other than his fiddle, it was Indie’s only serious material possession.

        “Anyway, I told Miss Molly she better find Blink for me in a hurry.  I left the keys in her mailbox.”

        “So how did it play out?”

        “Olden and Leggett were giving me down the county, and the damn fools tried to get me to sign some kinda under the table settlement.  Can you believe it?  Well about then Blink showed up and the game was over before it started.  Blinky was pissed.  I thought he’d clear the decks.  He told ‘em as long as Blinky Wallendorf was alive warn’t no one gonna sue Indian Jenkins.” Indie laughed at the memory.

        “I guess that was that.”

        “I got in a few more shots.  That crazy Olden told me he had a responsibility to the Board to uphold ethical standards for the institution.”

        “Good Lord, Indie.  What didja say?”

        “I told that sumbitch if didn’t leave me alone I’d tell the Board about the twelve grand he spend on horse sperm for that loser nag of his.  The money came right outta of the hospital budget, you know. And if that didn’t convince ‘em I’d tell what he was up to with that little Russian intern girl. Hypocrite.”

        “Boy, Indie, you know everything.  I sure wouldn’t want to get in a fight with you.”

        “Yeah, and on the way out the door I told Betty Wallendorf if she bothered me again I was gonna tell Blinky and the rest of the world all about her.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought about telling Blinky, but I knew they were only married on paper.  He had told me he was resigned to it, and gonna see it through to the end, so I didn’t see any point in making it worse for him. You reckon I done right by him?”

        ”Sure, Indie.  You always did right by Blink.  He was in a bad spot. You handled it the best you could.”  Poor Indie, still worried about Blinky’s reputation all these years later.

        “So what did Betty say when you said you were gonna tell?” I asked.

        “Only time I’ve ever seen her at a loss for words.  Blinky left, and before I split I told her for the life of me I didn’t know why someone as powerful as Jim Olden would be sleeping with anyone as old and ugly as her.”

        “Indie.  You didn’t!”

        “Yep.  Wanted to say it ever since that night at the Country Club.  I didn’t know about her then, but if I’d said it then it wouldn’t a come across so good anyway.  It was all I could go just to get outta there that night.  She’s mean, but Lord have mercy she did exude sex appeal in those days. But by the time of that meeting it was years down the road, and she hadn’t held up so good.  By then it was the whole truth and nothing but.”

        God bless ole Indie.  One thing you can count on outta him is the truth. I thought for a minute.  “Tell you what Indie, if you run into Betty Wallendorf, tell her I think she’s old and ugly too.”

        “Will do, Bibey. Will do.”  He laughed.

        I knew he wouldn’t- it might get me in trouble.

        I got my mandolin back out of the case.  How ‘bout that ‘Lost Indian,’ Doc?”

        “Awh shut up, Bibey.”

        Indie drifted off to sleep.  I closed up Barney’s skull, then packed up my gear and went home.  Betty hated Indie, but it seemed to me Indie should be the one to hold a grudge.  If he did, it never showed.  Awh, he’d talk a bunch of mess, but there warn’t a mean bone in the man.  Even after all Betty Wallendorf put him through over the years, I never heard him wish her any ill will.

Dr. B

Betty and The Mean Woman Blues

August 19, 2008

        Nowadays Indie leads a quiet life at the Nursing Home.  He’s content to play a bit of music and tend to his garden.  He makes sure all the ladies at the home have a fresh rose on their birthday.
        His existence was not so peaceful all his adult life.  Not only had Indie been a busy Doc, but you could count on him to be the last man to leave a jam session, and he and his pal Blinky went on many a hunting and fishing trip.  For a while they owned a boat, but they got lost at sea and had to be rescued by the Coast Guard.  Their wives made them sell it, but they remained the best of friends, perhaps even closer than ever after the “Great Rescue” as they called it. 

        I got over to see Indie again tonight.  Marfar brought some fine shrimp and cocktail sauce, and we had a regular feast.  After supper she had to split to go to the Quilt Guild show. 

        “Indie, let me walk Ms. Marfar out to the car.  I’ll be right back.  I’m gonna visit while she goes to the show.”

        “Sure enough, Bibey.  I’ll baby sit you for an hour,” Indie said.

        I walked with Marfar to the parking lot, and kissed her bye for the evening.  “I’ll be home after a while.  I was on call last time I talked to Indie, and our visit got cut short.” 

        “Well, Indie ain’t long for this world.  Better give him his flowers while he is living.  I’ll catch you at the house after the show,” Marfar said.  “Y’all enjoy your visit.”  That Marfar was a good’un.  I hope she wins the blue ribbon.  I went back to check on Indie. 

        When I came back in, Indie was finishing off supper.  “Bibey, you tell Ms. Marfar she’s welcome any time. Them’s some fine shrimpies. Beats the hell outta that streaky meat you used to bring to Galax.”

        “Glad you enjoyed. I’ll send your compliments.  So Indie, what was the deal with Betty Wallendorf?  That woman had a vendetta against you, brother.”

        “Yeah, Bibey.  Betty had the mean woman blues for sure.”  Indie wheeled over near Barney, the skeleton he’d kept in the corner of his office for years.  It was about the only item from the practice he’d brought with him when he moved in.  Indie was very fond of Barney, and everyone at the home knew to leave the skeleton be.  Barney sat in the corner with Indie’s stethoscope wrapped around his bony neck and never said a word.   It’s a good thing.  Lord, if Barney the skeleton and Indie’s fiddle could talk- what tales they’d tell.  I told Indie it didn’t matter, though.  He was the only guy I knew who kept his skeleton out of the closet in plain view anyway.  I was Indie’s Doc, and he told me all.

        “Check the hallway, Bibey,” Indie said.

        “Yes sir.”  I went to the door and looked around.  I saw no stragglers.   “Looks O.K., Indie.” 

        He reminded me again about the manuscript  “Now Bibey, you keep my secrets while I’m alive, but I want you to drop that S.O.B. in the U.S. mail on the way home from the funeral.”  Indie was blunt like that.

        “Yes, sir,”  I said.

        Indie hooked Barney by the rib with his cane, and pulled him close.  Years ago he had used a bone scalpel to fashion a trap door out of the skull cap.  His closest associates knew he kept his valuables there, but it was a secret held close to the vest.  He retrieved a couple of small bottles of Jim Beam.

        Indie fished around in the drawer of end table at the bedside, found his Dixie cups, and poured himself a drink.  “”Care to speak to Jimmy Beam, Bibey?”

        “Better not, Indie.  Thanks, though.”

        “Suit yourself.  I don’t offer him to everyone you know.”  Indie poured me a Coca-Cola.  “Well, Bibey, like I said, when Betty was young, she was quite a looker.”    

        “Hard to imagine, Indie.”

        “Yeah, well you forget Bibey.  I was in town a long time before you even went off to college.  Blink was the first guy I met when I came to Harnett County.  We were instant friends, and he was my first patient.  He asked if I’d take care of the whole family, and I said sure, I’m a Family Doc.  Not a problem.”

        “So that’s how you wound up being Betty’s Doc?”

        “Yep, and it was a mistake from the get-go.  Hell, the woman came in on the first visit and told me all about what was wrong with Blinky and their sex life.  I saw it as trouble.  I wouldn’t even go in the exam room without my nurse; you can be sure of that.”

        “So, how did it go bad?”

        “One night the Country Club had a membership drive.  I only went as a favor to Blink, and it turns out he only went to get Betty off his case.  Anyway, I had no interest in a membership, but they had a good card room and some free booze, so me and Blink went down to the basement to play poker.  Blink got sick, and I had to take him over to emergency room and give him some IV fluids.

        “So what has any of this got to do with Betty?”

        “Everything.  I realized I’d left my durn wallet in the card room and went back to get it.  When I got back to the club, everyone had gone home except Betty Wallendorf.  She was waiting on me.”  Indie poured up a second drink.  “Now Bibey, you gotta understand.  At that time Betty Wallendorf was a good looking woman.”

        “You and Betty Wallendorf?  Indie, I ain’t believing this!”

        “Ssh, Bibey.  You’re too loud.  And no, it didn’t go that way.  No way.  Blink was my best friend.”  Indie turned up his drink, then crumpled his Dixie cup and tossed it across the room into the trash can.  “She came up and said, ‘Indie, didja lose something?’  And man, she used that kinda voice that can lead a man around on a leash.”  I said, ‘yeah, I think I left my wallet.”

        Indie fidgeted.  “So, she strolls up and mashes ‘em right up agin me.  She had on some low cut thing you know.  Damn, she was good looking Bibey.”

        “Indie, you didn’t didja?”

        “Naw Bibey, but I was still young and testosterone poisoned.  It took all the will power I had.  Anyway, she said, ‘It’s right here, Indie.  Your’s for the looking, and the taking.’  Mercy sakes, Bibey.”

        Indie scratched his forehead with his left hand just like I’d seen him do when he was worried about a case.  I’d never seen him so nervous.  I’d a loved to have been a fly on the wall that night.  “So Indie, what didja do?”

        “I reached in there, snatched my wallet right out from betwixt her boobs and got the hell outta there.  Never went back to the club again.”

        “Was that he end of it?”

        “Nope.  She called me at home the next night.  Can you believe that?  Lord God, if Ms. Jenkins hada answered the phone….”

        “What did she say?”

        “Women are very intuitive, Bibey.  I mean at the club, I turned her down, but she knew good and damn well she’d made me sweat, and she enjoyed it.  The woman just flat told me Blinky was a bum.  Said any woman in town would love to get laid by a young doctor like me.”

        “Good Lord a mercy, Indie.  What didja say?”

        “Shoot, I said, well that’s a funny thing, Ms. Betty, ‘cause you’re the first woman in town that’s offered except Ms. Jenkins, and she don’t very often.  It was a lot easier to deal with over the telephone.  I guess I got the message across, ‘cause she transferred her records the next week.”

        “I guess that was the end of that.”

        “Yeah, except the woman hated me ever since.  She tried to sue me when Blinky had his first stroke.”

        “Gosh, Indie.  I never heard about that one. 

        “I tell you what, Bibey, it’s another long story.  I’m pooped out man, but can you come back next week?  I need to tell you that one, too.” 

        “Will do, Indie. Anything else you need?”

        “Yeah, Bibey.  How ‘bout bringing some women?  It’s been a long time since anyone has offered.”

        “Shut up, Indie.”  I’d known Indie long enough to know when he was kidding.  At least, I think he was anyway.

Betty Wallendorf, Blinky and Indie

August 17, 2008

        Y’all remember me telling you about Blinky Wallendorf?  He was Indian Jenkins’s best friend.  They were a couple of overgrown kids who loved to ride motorcycles and play cards and music.

        Well Betty, Blinky’s wife, never did have much use for Indie.  I never could figure it out.  Sure, I knew all about the case, and Blinky’s death.  I understood some of her anger, but I was never convinced Indie coulda done much about it. 

        Betty’s hatred of Indie seemed more visceral.  I never thought what happened to Blinky explained it all.  And I found it peculiar she never had much use for Blinky until he died.  I decided to go over to the Nursing Home and talk to Indie about it.

        “Indie, how are you old boy?”  I checked the skull cap of Barney the skeleton, his constant companion.  Two mini bottles of Jim Beam rested there out of sight.  “I see the Navajo has been by.”

        “No one knows the Navajo, Bibey.”  We both laughed.  “Who is that guy anyway?”  Indie said.

        “I dunno, Indie.  How’s life treating you?”

        “Fair to middling, Bibey.  Back gives me a fit.  These beds ain’t worth a fart in a whirlwind.”

        “Maybe Paig can fill out some Medicare forms and get you a new one,” I offered.

        “It won’t make no difference Bibey, I’ve tried ’em all out.  Ain’t none of ’em any good.”

        I sat down at the bed side.  “Indie.  I gotta ask you something.  Look, if it hurts too much, you tell me to shut up.”

        “Hell, Bibey you can ask me anything.  You know that.”

        “Well, I know Betty never did like you, and….”

         Indie motioned towards the skeleton.   “Now Bibey, if we’re gonna go there, I need to speak to Barney.”  He reached in his desk drawer and retrieved two Dixie cups.  “Drink?”

        “Better not, Indie.  On call.”

        “Damn Boy Scout.”  Indie poured up one for himself.  “Bibey, it’s a long story.  Just don’t tell anyone.”

        “Dang, Indie.  I’m writing a book.  And that Internet is pretty big too.  A lot of people read that thing.”  Indie never went more modern than a cell phone.

        Indie sipped his Jim Beam for a moment.  “Tell you what Bibey.  I want people to know, so go ahead and write.  Just don’t drop the manuscript in the mail till I’m outta here.”

        “Sure Indie.  I’ll always respect your wishes.  Anything else?”

        “Yeah, you better write it in code or I’ll come back to haunt you.  I’ll bet the Navajo would too.”

        No problem Indie.  I promise.  So, what was it about Betty Wallendorf?”

        Indie paused.  “You better close the door.”  I got up and pushed it shut.  “Betty Wallendorf was one more mean woman.”  Indie broke into a few bars of ‘The Mean Woman Blues.’  Hope you got all day.”

        “I’m on call, but yeah Indie, I’m good.”

        “Well, Bibey.  Now most folks don’t know it but me and Betty went back a long way.”

        “You and Betty Wallendorf?  I ain’t believing that!”

        No, not like that, Bibey.  Now Ms. Jenkins could hold out on me every so often, but I warn’t never that desperate.  Betty?  No way!  Besides, she was my best friend’s wife and a patient to boot.  Double outta bounds.  I’ve been a rounder at times, but I do got some ethics you know.  But, I gotta tell you.  When Betty Wallendorf was young, she was a looker.”

        “Betty?” Ever since I’d known her she’d been ugly beyond skin deep.  I couldn’t imagne Betty Wallendorf any other way.  “You mean she was young once?”

        “Yep, and pretty too.  It warn’t long after I came to town and Betty signed up to see me as a patient.  Came in for a female exam on the first visit.  Blink was already a pal.  We picked some music on the first weekend I was in town.”  Indie tossed his Dixie cup into the wastebasket.  “Boy, that Blink was one hell of a player.” 

        “Hold on, Indie my cell is going off.  Every time I get in the middle of one of your yarns this doctor thing gets in the way.”

        “Bibey, before your gig is done, I want you to promise me you’ll take some time for yourself and Ms. Marfar.  Like Sammy says, better ‘Howl at the Moon’ every so often.”

       “Yes sir.”  I took in the call.  “Dang a mercy, Indie.  Moose has a kidney stone.  I’d better go.”

        “Sure Bibey. If it was me I hope you’d help me out too.  Them stones is some bad sumbitches.”  

        “Tell you what, Indie.  I’ll be back Wednesday.  You know those good shrimpies they bring in for Hatteras?  Why don’t I bring some of them and some cocktail sauce?”

        “Yeah boy, Bibey.  Mid-week the Home serves up SOS.  Beats that for sure.”

        “Anything else you need?”

        “Yeah, find that Navajo and tell him to restock my Jim Beam.  My friends are gonna drink me out of house and home.”

        “Sure thing, Indie.  I’ll be back Wednesday.”

Dr. B

The Tom Bibey Tour Schedule

August 15, 2008

        I have had a number of people ask me to post a schedule of my gigs, and I just never get around to it.  For one thing, even though I am semi-retired, I still am fairly busy as a Doc and it keeps me close to home.  And too, for a guy who posts twice a week on all kinda details of my doctor/bluegrass world, in real life I am very private.  I suppose it comes from years of indoctrination in the art of secret keeping. 

        John Hartford used to say bluegrass was the last American small town where everybody knows everybody, and it is.  At the same time the Internet is such a vast abyss that I have to admit it scares a country boy just a bit.

        For most part our shows are local affairs.  We play for the Heart Association chicken picking, or over at the Nursing Home.  As Moose says, if it calls for a bluegrass band, we’ll be there- weddings, funerals, divorce parties, gas station grand openings- heck, if they still had hangings I reckon we’d play those.  ( I am glad they don’t.)

        We do get out some.  We have played as far North as Galax, and as far East as we can go (the beach) without crossing the pond.  And, we’ve traveled West as far as Nashville.  In fact, sometime this year I hope to go on a Mississippi/Memphis road trip- will keep you posted.

        But, most of my life is very mundane.  For example, take this weekend.  I’m on call.  I’ll probably spend the weekend in deep discussion of stool softeners and constipation.  There will be some highlights though.  I am going to visit Indie at the Nursing Home, and he never fails to have a tale to tell.  Will update you sometime before Monday.

        Talk to you then.

Dr. B

A Little Help From My Friends

August 14, 2008

        My agent wrote the other day and said he wanted me to think about web sites and blog updates.  He wants me to get all this up to speed before a big presentation late fall.  Some crowd in New York might take a look at the whole package (manuscript, blog, website) to decide if they want to publish Tommy Bibey or not.

        I have a couple of thoughts on that.  My first one is HELP!  I am reminded of the little girl in ‘Gone with the Wind’ who said she didn’t know nothing about birthing no babies.  Well, I know very little about publishing, or web sites or blogs either.   So, I thought the best place to start on all this would be to ask my readers.  If you guys have particular web sites or blogs you think have visual appeal, let me know.  I would like to look at them as I enter this next stage of development.

        It occurred to me this country doctor is swimming in deep water.  I know about birthing babies, but I don’t know nothing about writing no book, or publishing either, so I appreciate any insight you might offer.  One thing to keep in mind is this.  I don’t have enough political capital in the literary world to issue any ultimatums, but in the process I don’t want to change who Tommy Bibey is.  For that matter, I can’t.  When Flatt and Scruggs went to Carnegie Hall, they played bluegrass music.  They ain’t a thing wrong with classical, but they couldn’t be that all of a sudden and neither can I.  You have to be what you is.

        Also, I want to reassure you of one thing.  I promised you a book, and there will be a book.  The more involvement I have with folks who know what they are doing the better, because I think it will be a much better book for the process.  But, if all the publishers turn me down, I’ll self publish.  However, I believe the book will better than if I had self published without the benefit of the process of maturation as a writer.  (I’ve still got a ways to go.)

        So, if you see things you think might dress up Tommy Bibey a bit (I realize that is a tall order) let me know.  I’d like to scope ’em out and so would my agent.  Like everyone else in the world, if I’m gonna make it, I’ll need a little help from my friends.

Dr. B