The Old Office
The old office was like a favorite uncle. Just ’cause you knew his time had come and gone didn’t make you love him any less. It’d seen thousands of sick folks, but it took time out to hear some mandolin music and fishing stories. Everyone had a cake on their birthday back when I was the ‘boss’ if we really had one. If the office had been a person it’d be about like Indie; full of character and not one bit ashamed of being human.
It had its flaws. It was drafty and cold in the winter and every summer it got so hot in room six you couldn’t use it most afternoons. Corporate let me keep my desk even though it had nicks and gouges and a few missing drawer handles where kids had tugged on them over the years. The chairs in my study were condemned, though. The stuffing showed through and they were deemed unfit for a brand new modern medical multispecialty complex. (I don’t think we are supposed to call it an office)
We only worked ’till lunch the last day then it was a mad dash to move and crank up for the new crib. I’d already put away my favorite photos of my family. The one of my wife was the picture they put in the Harvey Herald for our engagement. My children were frozen in time as toddlers. I promised to add a few recent ones after the kids protested they were too far out of date even for old Dad.
I got out my mandolin and tried “When You’re Smiling.” A picture of Bill Monroe hung on my door by a single tack. I put it aside along with a faded one of Earl Scruggs as a kid. I’d put them up in the new office even if corporate objected. Some things never change.
By noon-thirty the movers had taken most of the furniture. I dictated my last chart and downloaded to the computer, then they whisked it away. Soon we were down to cell phones.
I picked a few bars of ‘Blues Stay Away From Me.” Someone brought a pizza. We ate and then most everybody left. Then it was the ‘East Tennessee Blues’ in honor of Knoxville where I trained years ago. The notes bounced around the empty building. It was down to me, Lynn O’Carroll, and Myrd, the original three musketeers who started the practice on a shoe string. At times we barely kept it all tied together.
Lynn carted out a few more boxes. “Me and Myrd are going on. You coming, Doc?”
“Yeah, I’ll be over in a minute. I’ve got time to get a haircut but I’ll be on over.”
Their foot steps echoed down the hall.
A dust bunny rolled by. I smiled and took a stab at ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds’ but didn’t know the whole tune. I put my mandolin in the case and carried it to the back door.
I closed the door, turned the key in the lock, and didn’t look back. We had done our best.
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