Mission Possible: Herb The Highway Man
Some of this was posted in 2008. I usually don’t re-run anything, but a comment from Cliff Searcy on FaceBook brought the post to mind, and I decided to repeat part of it.
I have an elderly patient named Herb. One day I saw Herbert and ordered up some fancy tests. They were needed, but in truth not gonna save his life, and maybe not even impact it too much. I explained why I thought we should run the tests.
Herb listened to all that and said, “Doc, I really admire you. Now me, I couldn’t never learn all them doctor books, but I asked the Lord what I could do to help people. I worked for the Highway Department- worked over there fifteen years and got promoted to the head man- stayed till I retired. I can’t say all them big words like you can, but I can do what the Lord wants me to do. So the whole time I’ve been in charge when I ride around the County and see something wrong I fix it. If I’m on the way to church on Sunday and see a stop sign knocked down, I get out of the car and put it back up. If someone don’t run it and get killed I reckon I saved a life just as good as if you figured out ’bout their heart attack.”
I think Herb got it right. If we do the best at what we are here for, we’ve made our corner a bit better. It’s like I tell my son the paramedic and a helicopter pilot. “Son, you’re a fine boy and a great paramedic, and you’re gonna save a lot of lives. But don’t ever forget, that fellow who puts the chemicals in the drinking water down at the Water Plant is gonna save more lives than me and you put together.” (I don’t want him to get above his raising.)
I was too lazy to be a good highway man. I worked there one summer, and all that saved me was my harmonica. I’d sit in the front seat of the truck and play as we rounded up the workers. I shoveled a little asphalt, but it wasn’t long and they’d say, “Play that harp, boy.”
I was most happy to oblige; it was the hardest job I ever had. By the end of summer I’d cash my paycheck on Friday and pray for rain just like everyone else.
That fall I made an “A” in Organic Chemistry that fall. Some of the kids would say, “This Organic is hard.”
I always replied, “No it’s not.”
Every time I pass a paving crew I think of those boys. If the traffic is slow, I’ll stick my head out the window and tell them how much I appreciate ‘em, and I mean it. Several of them are my patients to this day.
Brother Cliff was right on his FB post. To paraphrase the old T.V show, we all have a mission should we choose to accept it, except it isn’t one bit impossible. It’s right before our eyes if we just have the good sense like my pal Herb The Highway Man to keep ’em open.