My Number One Fan

        I have done  a couple records in my life.  They are out of print now, though we hope to put another one together soon.

        We kept them under the counter at the office.  My rule was the staff could never ask the patients to buy one.  I felt like it was wrong to push them in the office, and I didn’t want my patients to feel obligated or just buy one to make me happy.  (Drug reps were another matter; I told them if they wanted an appointment with me, they had to at least pretend to like my music.)

           But if a patient asked for one, the staff could sell them one.  We kept the money in a coffee can, and I’d count it at the end of the week and split it up with all my guys.  As folks who play this music on a semi-pro basis know, it wasn’t a lot of money.

        Every so often, a patient would tell me they’d like to hear my music, but I knew they couldn’t really afford a record.  When I knew they couldn’t buy their medicine, it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do.  I’d give ’em one, and ask ’em not to tell anybody.  I always put the money in the coffee can so my boys wouldn’t be out anything.  After all, the recording was only 1/6 mine.

        Our first one came out in cassette tape.  One day an old fellow asked me where he could hear my music.

        I took a look at him.  He had on old tobacco stained bib overalls, and his snaggles were in terrible need of dentistry he could not afford.  His five o’clock shadow was working on midnight.

        “Tell, you what Jim, let me give you something.”  I went up front, dropped the money in the coffee can, retrieved a tape, and took it to him.  “Just don’t tell anybody.  I ain’t supposed to give ’em away.”

         “Why Doc, thank you so much.”  I thought the man was gonna cry.  I wondered how long it had been since anyone had ever given him anything.

        When our second one came out, he heard about it, and scratched together some bills and came to the office.  “I want to buy one of them things, Doc.  I’m your biggest fan.”

        This time they were out in CD.  I handed him one.  “Hold onto your money, Jim.  The boys said you’re so loyal they wanted to give you one.”

        “Well thanks Doc.”  I noticed he eyed it kinda funny and turned it over and over.  “Sure is flat.”

        “It’s called a CD.  They say they sound a lot better.”

        “Hm.  These is new.  Well, I do appreciate it, sure enough.”

         I later learned he didn’t own a CD player.  His family found out and bought him one.  The image of this man sitting alone in his farmhouse with one CD in his player was almost too much for me.  

        I saw him not long ago.  “Doc, I sure do like that new record you gave me.  (The thing was years ago.)  When y’all gonna make another one?”

        “Soon I hope.  We’re gonna give you one.  You’re our number one fan.”

        He smiled a near toothless grin.  “You got that right, Doc.  You got anything new for arthritis?  Mine’s a flared up some something terrible and…..”

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “My Number One Fan”

  1. newt221 Says:

    Charity begins at home. You are sure getting some pretty jewels for that crown you will wear in heaven. By they way…I might need you to wear a name tag too if I don’t get to meet you face to face in this life. Of course, I will visiting all the Blue Grass music venues in the new earth to find you….

    • drtombibey Says:

      newt 221,

      You come up and shake my hand and me and Ms Marfar’ll take you out to supper. As much music as I play in N.C. we are bound to cross paths one day.

      Dr. B

  2. pandemonic Says:

    I feel honored that I have one of those new-fangled CDs of yours, Dr. B… 🙂

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms. Pande,

      It is out of print, but I still have a few around the house. I was amazed to find out some of them had made their way up North.

      Dr. B


  3. Aw, Dr. B, how do you make me all weepy like that? You’ve got a knack for making everything and everyone seem beautiful and special – I guess that’s cause they are, right?
    It’s nice to know, on nights like tonight, that there are some truly special people out there, people who are generous and appreciative, even if they’ve got it rough themselves.

    • drtombibey Says:

      msslightly,

      Except for the name that story is 100% true. I am always fascinated by the ways a Doc can help a patient, sometimes not even knowing how.

      Also I am forever humbled by what we don’t know about our patients. In this man’s case, I should have had the good sense to know he didn’t have a CD player.

      Dr. B

  4. Martin Waddell Says:

    Will your new CD be available in Scotland? If I am ever to expand my musical horizons to learn about bluegrass, I can’t imagine a better way of doing it.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Martin,

      It will be on CD, which I could ship to you, but for bluegrassers we might go whole hog modern and get on CD Baby. That way folks could download any track they wanted. (And leave off the ones they didn’t want, too.)

      Imagine that. Dr. B’s greatest ‘hit’ down-loaded in Scotland. (The only one on it I wrote is an instrumental called ‘Temple’s Law.’)

      I will keep you posted on the progress.

      Dr. B

      • Martin Waddell Says:

        Thanks for that, Dr B – look forward to hearing further. I think you’re already quite well known here in Scotland – maybe not so much for music, but certainly through Bob Leckridge’s blog (that’s how I came across your own blog). Your fame is beginning to spread.

  5. drtombibey Says:

    Martin,

    My people originally came from Scotland, but you and Dr. Bob Leckridge are the only two folks over there I know right now.

    This Internet thing gets around though, so after a while a fellow can start to connect the dots that tie us all together.

    I think really though I am ‘world famous’ here in the County but not too well known otherwise. Or as one fellow said, “a legend in his own mind!”

    Dr. B


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