In many ways, Billy Spurgeon was another Bones in the making. Bones always said Billy was the new and improved version. A good student, but not brilliant, Billy had one quality that made him a standout at Sandhills U. Medical School; he wanted to come home to Harvey County. He was the only one.
Billy went to Harvey High, where he played first trombone and was sixth man on the golf team. He was lanky and dark-haired, and had a touch of myopia with the introspection that often accompanies it. He first met Bones Robertson as a high school student in the Medical Explorers Club. After a meeting, he wanted to know more, and Bones and Dr. Dee invited him out to eat at Chang’s Chinese.
Even years later, Dr. Dee still laughed about it. “Bones about ran the kid off before we ever had a chance. After dinner when the boy was ready to go home, Bones walked him by that old Scout of his. He slapped it on the rear fender and said, ‘Now son, you have a chance to be just like us. If you work hard and you’re honest for a lifetime, all this can be yours.’”
Bones always said every student he did that with had gone into a subspecialty in the city. When it didn’t scare Billy off, they knew they knew had a young man who might just go the distance.
It was a big day when Billy showed up in town. Harvey Memorial CEO Marvin Stanley paraded around like the boy was his long-lost young’un. The Harvey Herald stuck a mic in the boy’s face and asked him about Marvin Stanley and Billy said, “I’m sorry, Marvin who?”
Stanley was infuriated, but the paper didn’t print it when Stanley threatened to pull an ad campaign for the new radiology center.
Billy was country, but he wasn’t dumb. He put his stock in Bones. “You gotta throw your hat in the ring with someone; I’m gonna put mine in with Doc. He’s like Indie; when the chips are down he won’t stand for a lie.”
Bones considered it one of the highest compliments he ever got.
Billy went to work and paid his dues without complaint. Bones was glad to get some time off, but was careful not to overdo it. Going from three docs in the call rotation to four was a luxury none of them took for granted.
Back when Billy interviewed for med school, they asked him why he wanted to be doctor. He said, “I’m a lot like Dr. Bones Robertson. I’m good with books, and I want to help people.”
“That’s what they all say,” they said.
As it turned out, Billy Spurgeon was as simple as that; happy enough just to be a solid country doctor. It all changed with the case of the local Chrysler dealer, Jim Downs.
I don’t have a thing against car dealers. Here in Harvey County Phipsy’s a good’un, as is Simmons Ruppe (Ruppert) of Bluegrass Motors over in Raleigh. I never did trade with Jim Downs though, and I had my reasons. He never did anything to inspire Billy to trade with him either.
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