Somebody Touched Me
The Dillards (The Darlings on the Andy Griffith show) used to do a song called ‘Somebody Touched Me.’ It is a simple song. My people touched me yesterday. It is a simple song and I am a simple man.
Yesterday we took a break from the music festival. I needed to work a half day, and then we had an open house for the new office.
Some of my friends decided to ride the Neuse River converted school bus back to Harvey County for the event. Darin and Brooke Aldridge had a day off in between their Thursday and Saturday Art of Sound shows. They wanted to come and play and sing for us. It was way below their pay grade, but all the boys piled in too and we were off. The English Professor and Irene hopped on board too. He left his camera in the bus. “Your patients will want their privacy, so I’m not gonna shoot any photos Doc, but we’d love to come along for the ride to Harvey County.”
It was a wonderful life kind of day. So many folks came the police had to direct traffic. It was somewhere in between Friday night football, the Fair, and a private bluegrass festival; just my kinda gig.
Ears of corn roasted on the grill, and stir fry chicken sizzled. If you closed your eyes and took a deep breath, you’d swear you were on the MidWay at the Harvey County Fair. Most of my favorite old patients were there, and many of our new neighbors were too. As the song says, ‘There’s gonna be prizes for everyone…. going downtown gonna have some fun.” Local radio did a live feed and there was a ribbon cutting ceremony. They said they wanted me to do the honor. I was very touched by that. I guess as senior partner (the doc with the most gray hair) it was fitting.
I gotta go on record though and say you are only as strong as the people around you, and I am a fortunate man. My wife and family have lived with a schedule that was brutal for many years and seldom griped about it.
My parents used to worry I might ‘turn into one of those Beatles.’ They were there on the front row, Mama’s foot just a tapping. I saw my old basketball buddy Barry Graylord in the wings leaning against a tent pole. Dad and I used to make house calls at their home on Chestnut street. Gray and I’d shoot hoops at least if he wasn’t the patient that day. He was an all-star linebacker back then and nowadays has a shelf of golf trophies.
If my partners had not been there to cover me when I’m off I would have never played music a single day and would be dead by now. My staff saves my bacon every day. I could never have made it without Lynn O’Carroll and Myrd. In the early days we were the three Musketeers; just dumb kids who thought we were gonna start in Harvey County and save the whole world.
Fabulous musicians like my regular guys in Neuse River, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, and Wayne and Kristin Scott Benson have taken me under their wing and taught me so much. I am fortunate to have many fine friends. So many were there yesterday and I was humbled. It takes a community to raise a doctor, and Harvey County has done good by me.
My wife’s band, ‘Guiter-ed and Feathered’ opened the music. Hugh, the voice of Harvey County, was there to cover the event. We go back to Little League together. The ladies were nervous to be on live radio, but they did great. Playing music with your wife is downright spiritual. It was just like old times with my kids in tow who followed me around everywhere I went. They were in middle school before they realized it was unusual to have a Daddy who made hospital rounds before going to play a gig.
Darin and Brooke did two sets. I am enthralled with their sound, but then they were the talk of Nashville a couple weeks ago at IBMA so they are no longer a secret. They let old Doc sit in. It was like a chance at batting practice with the Cubs. Come Monday I will turn back into Doc, but all my people let me be a musician for a day. It was great fun.
Darin and Brooke did a fine version of the Everly Brothers ‘If I Could Only Win Your Love.’ It was so good I just listened. I sang the trio with them on a couple numbers. We sang “I’ll Never Love Anybody But You’ and I dedicated it to Marfar. She flashed the same grin as the one in our engagement picture that sits behind my desk in the office.
In the South we often wait around on funerals to get folks together. We didn’t do that yesterday, and I was proud of us for it. We believe in smelling the flowers now. No use waiting till we’re dead for that.
On the way back to the festival Marfar and Brooke were both exhausted. We tucked them into the two couches and fastened the seat belts. Darin and I went to sit up front. All the boys pulled out the instruments and we played as the old bus wobbled down the back roads. It reminded me of a road trip I took with the Gentlemen when Charlie couldn’t sleep and would sing with us.
Darin took the lead, and I covered the baritone. Moose Dooley drove and sang that wonderful high tenor of his just like he did as a young man when we met years ago. His banjo work and singing has just the right touch of old-time mountain and yet is still modern; it always suited my ear just right.
I was so exhausted I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to write and tell you of my friends. Call me an old sentimental sap if you want, but much like Jimmy Stewart in ‘A Wonderful Life’ I have been a most lucky man.
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