Archive for the ‘Book Characters’ category

Acquisition Syndrome- My second novel (in progress)

October 30, 2011

        “Acquisition Syndrome” is the story of Bones Robertson and medical practice in Harvey County after the death of Dr. Henry”Indie” Jenkins. After Indie died things were about the same in Harvey County over the next decade. The doctors continued on in mom-and-pop type practices that financially floated from month to month. They  made house calls, nursing home visits, and hospital rounds as well as office work.

        Slowly things began to change. Change came to the cities first, and over time it made its way to rural areas. Bones recalled when the first managed care folks came to Harvey County. He was always suspicious of people from out-of-town who showed up in fancy cars and wore expensive watches who were here to “help.” Medicine became about money, power, and control. It became increasingly difficult for small entrepreneurs to stay in practice and became nearly impossible to recruit young doctors who were not inclined to join small organizations that did not have significant capital reserves. Bones began to realize without some changes in the way they did the business of medicine the practice he started, Harvey Family Practice, would not go on after his time. He and his partners decided their hand was forced and they would need to align with some larger entity to stay solvent. “Acquisition Syndrome” is the story of that transition.

        As you might suspect, Bones gathered much of his intelligence from nontraditional sources; car dealers, his old buddy Snookers Molesby, and banjo pickers and other assorted bluegrass musicians.

        A major subplot of the story and involves the development of Billy Spurgeon.  Billy grew up and Harvey County and was the only student at Sandhills University Medical Center who gave consideration to rural primary care medicine, but Billy was concerned about the future. He trusted Bones to make the best decisions for the group he could and planned to come home as much own faith as anything else.

        Bones never claimed to be a businessman. His goal was to align with an institution that would also allow him the latitude to practice medicine in the most patient friendly manner possible, and also not be taken advantage of. It was quite a struggle for him. I’d tell you how worked out but it would take a blog post of novel length, and besides it’d ruin the story for you so I guess I’ll wait till spring when we anticipate the book will be released. We are in the final edit and it still has to go through layout, graphic artists, test readers, line editor, etc. etc.

        So, stay tuned. I will keep you posted as to the progress.

Dr. B


Acquisition Syndrome: The Great Charles Thombley

June 16, 2011

        Charles Yhombley is a negotiator and the best one there is. He is from Atlanta. His people go back to before the Civil War there. They made their fortune in real estate futures right after Sherman came  through, and never looked back. Mr Thombley’s hobby is the financial revitalization and re-organization of small churches in need.

         Most of Mr. Thombley’s work is highly confidential. By his request and by necesssity to continue his mission, it was imperative the truth of his work be shown in fiction and not told in fact. This will be done in “Acquisition Syndrome.”

        I am making progress, and my condition at the moment renders me on summer vacation until August. Don’t worry; I limit my work to two hours per day and devote the rest of the day to healing; however, writing is also part of my therapy.

        Mr. Thombley ony had one ultimatum in our physician bluegrass fiction writer contract. He would only allow me to fictionalize his part of the story if I, Tommy Bibey, promised he would have a full head of hair in the novel. So in “Acquisition Syndrome” if you see a man who has code name of Del and has a hair like Del McCoury, you will know it is Mr. Thombley.

        One of my goals with my effort to write was to bring new people to our music. The Great Mr. Thombley is a sophisticated, highly intelligent, savvy Altlanta businessman. I have all respect for him. After he got to know me he became a fan and he is now true bluegrass. I guess I’m doing something right, huh?

Dr. B

Simmons Ruppert

February 6, 2011

        Simmons Ruppert of Bluegrass Motors is Raleigh’s finest new and pre-owned automotive dealer. He plays mandolin and some banjo. His head is usually shaved so his perpetual straw hat won’t blow off. (Below is a rare image sans hat drawn from memory) Simmons can see out of his right eye but wears a patch as a distraction in order to better discern a man’s integrity. He prefers bow ties or string ties, but will wear a necktie to church because both his wife and his mama think he should do so on Sundays.

        Most of his people descended from Outer Banks Ocracoke Spanish horse traders. Some of them migrated to Missouri and then later returned to North Carolina and settled down in the Raleigh area. He still has some family and bluegrass connections in Missouri.

        Simmons is world-class expert on International Harvester Scouts. His great-Uncle Bentley hobnobbed with Cyrus McCormick. They belonged to the Huron Mountain Club and had a cabin on Lake Superior. Simmons spent many summers there as a kid. 

        Rumor has it Simmons was involved in the acquisition of the famous Harvester Scout that belonged to a Mr. Piercy, who was Earl Scruggs’ agriculture teacher in high school. They raised a lot of money for the local FFA with that vehicle.

        Simmons is an important bluegrass confidant in central N.C. He’s an honest car dealer. He’ll tell you right up front he wants to make enough money on the deal to stay in business, but not enough to retire off you. He says, “Think of me like a sheep. It’s okay to shear me; just don’t skin me.”

        Simmons had important background information in “Acquisition Syndrome.” He had some dirt on Riley Harper, too. You can always trust the true bluegrass people.

        Bones followed his advice.

Dr. B

Billy Spurgeon

November 1, 2010

        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.

Dr. B

1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ and “Cool Whip, Indie!”

December 9, 2009

        Every time I hear the Del McCoury song ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ I think of my old pal Indie.  He loved motorcycles.  His favorite was a ’47 Indian Chief former Nevada Highway Patrol bike that he and his buddy Blinky restored one winter.

        When Indie was a young doc there was a little French foreign exchange student in town who loved that bike, and was enthralled with Indie too.  She’d hop on the back, grab Indie by the waist, and sing some French song as they buzzed down the back roads.  She wasn’t much of a student.  The whole time she was here she only learned two American phrases.  “Motorcycle ride” was one and “Cool whip, Indie!” was the other. 

        Mrs. Jenkins was not amused.  Indie might have gotten into the Jim Beam too much at times, and he could fiddle all night long, but he was harmless.  Other than what happened in ‘The Mandolin Case’ that girl was the only time Indie ever got in any real trouble. 

        I hate it happened, but in a way you could see how it might.  Even though I was just a boy at the time, you couldn’t miss the fact this was some kinda good-looking woman.  That girl wore a sweater in a quite memorable way; she had better curves than a slope shoulder guitar.  No man in town ever forgot her, and I’m sure Mrs. Jenkins didn’t either.

        ‘The Mandolin Case’ was quite an ordeal, and put a hurting on Indie, but I always thought that one mistake with the French foreign exchange student weighed much heavier on him.  When he got old he told me it was the one thing he wished he could change in his life.  Mrs. Jenkins forgave him, and Indie finally made peace with it before he went to his maker, but it was hard on him.

        I forgave him too.  None of us are perfect, but at least Indie was truly sorry, and he was faithful to Mrs. Jenkins the rest of the way.  All we can do is our best, and after that girl I always thought Indie did that. 

Dr. B