Archive for the ‘Holidays’ category

Memorial Day Memories

May 25, 2008

        When I was a kid, we’d go to my grandmother’s church for Memorial Day Sunday every year.

         It was a little country church, and there was no air conditioning.  They had these hand held fans with a picture of Jesus and an advertisement for the funeral home on one side and the football team schedule on the other.

        After the service, there was dinner on the grounds.  A long table was set up outside and the table cloth would blow in the breeze.  I couldn’t wait for the prayer to end to get at it.

        We’d have fried chicken and pickled peaches, mac and cheese and deviled eggs; it was great stuff.  There were all kinda desserts and all the little old ladies with funny hats would come up and ask if you’d tried their cobbler.  I was glad to make ’em all happy and have one of each.

        After church we’d play nine holes of golf with my Dad and uncles.  One time Uncle Dan the farmer went and watched me tee up.  He observed with intent then said, “Boy hand me one of them stobs (a tee) and let me try.”

        One time he played with my set and lost the seven iron, but he went down to Firestone’s and replaced it right away.  I was the only kid in town with a full set of Wilson Arnold Palmer clubs and a Sam Snead Blue Ridge 7-iron.  I still have ’em and cut ’em down years ago for my son to get started with.  (We didn’t know they made special clubs for kids, but he turned out to be a fine player anyway.)

        I saw where Ms. Susan shared some Memorial Day memories and asked folks to share theirs.  (She is on my blogroll)  I too would interested to know how folks around the country celebrate, so drop me a comment if you can, and visit her too- it was her idea first.

Dr. B



March 23, 2008

        Easter Sunday is near a close, and I thank all of y’all for the best wishes.

        There are some holidays I consider more fun, like July 4th, but Easter is always the one when I think the most.  In the setting we celebrate it would be hard not to.

        Every Easter we go to the sunrise service.  When you watch the sun creep over the horizon to a message of renewal, you can’t help but be reflective.

        I get the same notion every year.  No matter how much bad has happened on Earth, we crazy humans have got another shot at it.  Every Easter Sunday I am inspired this might be the year we humans finally get it right.

        I keep thinking somehow we are gonna put an end to all the self-inflicted unnecessary foolishness that creates so much misery, and take to a life of grace and dignity.  Somehow there won’t be any more hate or prejudice, hunger, war etc.  It ain’t happened yet, but a man has to have his dreams.

         I do know this.  I am a human being and I have a son.  I am way too selfish to give him up.  I can’t figure out how strong God’s love must be if he’d give up his Son to take us chance on the human race, ’cause we are a bunch of knuckleheads.  We had life handed to us on a silver platter and managed to make a wreck out of a thing of beauty trying to inject our will into the deal.  We shoulda just listened to God and not tried to be so dang smart.  

        Of course, I’m getting pretty old, and it ain’t happened yet, but as my Dad always said, “Tomorrow is another day.”  Maybe this’ll be our year.

        After all, the sun came up today, so hope springs eternal.

Dr. B

Ms. Claus

December 25, 2007

        Christmas morning.  We are waiting on my boy to get here, and everyone is conked out.  Our traditional Christmas breakfast casserole simmers, and turkey, persimmon pudding and more await.  Honestly, my wife knows how to do everything.  If it weren’t for her, the kids would get a bologna sandwich, some money, and a perfect immunization record.

        In the candlelight service last night, the preacher got to talking about whether or not you had touched anyone in life and made a difference.  Well, in my case that sure happened.  I married my wife for a lot of reasons, but one was I was an average looking sort of guy, and I figured she would give me beautiful children.  The plan worked. She gave me two beautiful children, a nice mandolin, a guitar, and saw to it that I didn’t work myself to death or starve, so I guess I was either smart, lucky or both. 

        One bad thing about being a doc is you probably do more good for others than your own people, but at least when our family is sick this old boy has the inside track on “Who you gonna call?”  I’ve nursed many a family member back to health, and even made some decent holiday pick-ups, like the one Christmas Eve when my niece was limping, and had already been to the ER in another state on the way to the family gathering.  Somehow someone overlooked the little piece of history that a car had tapped her in the Walmarks parking lot, and the broken fibula wasn’t too hard to diagnose.  We spent Christmas Eve with our favorite Orthopedist, but she can walk straight now, so it was worth it.

        Some of your patients become about like family, too.  Every year I get a card from a nice lady who has retired and moved to the beach.  Twenty five years ago, she came to see me and thought she had bursitis, and I got in my head it was angina.  She thought I was too young to know what I was talking about, but was too scared to not comply, and wound up with a triple bypass two days later.  Every year she sends a card thanking me for another year.  I’m here to tell you, if you want to make an impression on your doc, that is a good way to start.  After all the times I’ve put off my own people, and not done as well by them at times as I should have, that kind of recognition from your patients, who become your second family, is priceless.  Believe me, I’ve saved all those cards.  I hope the preacher is right and I’ve touched a few along the way.  I did my best.

        I hear Ms. Claus a stirring.  I am off this year, and I’m gonna be the best Santa you ever saw.  She deserves it, ’cause the doctor’s life is an odd one for sure.

Dr. B

Christmas Pageant

December 14, 2007


        Today was our annual Christmas Pageant at Harnett Methodist.  It is a time honored tradition, much like yours I’m sure, where all the kids are shepherds and camels and such.  I debated on whether to write this up or not ’cause my agent said it was like asking folks to watch my home movies, but then I found out he was out of the country in Scotland and the only guy I know over there is Dr. Bob so I’m gonna take a chance he won’t see this one.

        The reason the tradition it is so important is the kids.  My young’uns were in it from the get-go, and started out as donkeys, but worked their way up through the ranks.  By the time they finished Confirmation Class their last year of Middle School, they made Mary and Joseph.

        I remember it well, ’cause I was out in the driveway getting them to the car, and someone came up in a pickup truck and wanted me to look at his wife’s emergency rash, and Tommy, Jr. dang near got hit ’cause that head gear drooped down around his eyes and he couldn’t see too good.  My Marie was dressed as a perfect Mary, but she got lost in the moment and hollered out, “Great Gawd-A’Mighty Tommy- Watch Out!”  It wasn’t very becoming of her role, but I got over it quick ’cause at least Tommy didn’t get run over.  Besides, it was my fault she’d say such a thing, ’cause she heard it at the Bomb Shelter the week before, and it wasn’t fitting to take such a young lady down there when Wild Bill was in town. 

        So, I asked the lady and her husband a few questions and once I was certain she didn’t have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (right locale- wrong time of year) or toxic epidermal necrolysis (the rash was localized, and her skin wasn’t sloughing off) or sepsis, (no fever, chills or vomiking as they say around here) I gave her a script for some FEP cream (that means For Every Purpose) and told her to come in first of the week.  After the curb service consult (we still do curb service even though there is not an ICD9 code for it- that is another story) we went on to the Church House.  I know you think I am making this up, but this is how is to be a doc in a small town. 

      Well anyway, Marie and Tommy made a wonderful Mary and Joseph, and I’ve still got the home movies if you ever want to see ’em. 

      The kids today did good too, and I think I enjoyed it so much because it reminded me of the old days with mine, especially the  little girl that played the Donkey. 

      The only adult in the whole pageant today was Miss Marilyn on the piano accompaniment, who plays the keys in our Praise Band.  When she missed her cue nine year old Dorothy, little cherub that she is, turned around and directed her to “Hit it Marilyn,” and then those children nailed “Little Town of Bethlehem” like seasoned stage pros.  Before too long, I’m gonna be recruiting some of them to sing with Neuse River- they sing with such attitude.

      My all time favorite pageant was not when my Marie was Mary, though.  That pick-up truck that about hit Tommy Jr. soured me on that one a bit.  The year Marie was the humble donkey still ranks as my favorite.  She sang “I am the Donkey, Shaggy and Brown,” and had on a suit with ears that kept flopping down in her face.  She kept having to brush those donkey ears out of the way, but in the bluegrass way, never missed a note, and stayed on pitch the whole tune.  

      Of course, we had it on VCR and watched it until Marie was so sick of it she couldn’t take it anymore, and made us put it up.  

      Now that she’s gone off to school, I get it out and watch it every year.  In fact, last  December Marfar had gone to do some shopping and I was off, but there wasn’t any picking going on and it was way too cold for golf. 

      Well, me and Miss Violet, the lady who helps us on Wednesdays, got to watching that tape, and when my Marfar came home we were were sitting on the couch watching little Marie sing “I am the Donkey.”  Poor Violet was just a squalling, but I held up pretty good- my contact solution musta gone bad, but I got through it.

      When it comes to your kids, docs are just like everyone else, so I appreciate your indulgence for today’s post- just don’t tell my agent you watched one of my home movies.  I’ll get back to doctor and music stories in short order. 

      And, I tell you what.  I’m gonna do just like every year and watch “A Wonderful Life” and that tape of my Marie as a donkey again just as soon as I get some better contact lens solution- right about this time of year that stuff goes against my eyes and makes ’em water.  I’m sure that’s what it is- I am a man of science, you know.

                                               -Dr. B



Christmas at The Doctor’s Office

November 28, 2007

        If it were up to men alone to take care of things, life in general would be a dull affair.  Same way in bluegrass music.  I like a female voice in the mix, and our world wouldn’t sound or look as good without the likes of Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent.  And without my Mafar it wouldn’t be worth the trip across town to go home at night.

        If most men are like me, a self-described testosterone poisoned dumb animal pack mule/work horse, when the 25th of December rolls around everybody would just say, “Hey guys, is it Christmas?  We’d better send somebody out to the store!”  As it is, though, our office, like the house, is always ready for the season. 

        Of course, a doctor’s office is mostly about taking care of sick people, so it ain’t like home.  Still, when you work with twelve women, you can see their influence.  Some of my folks, like Lynn O’Carroll, Myrd, and Paig have been around for a couple decades.  (We signed Myrd in the newborn nursery- and she was a patient!)  Others, like Marcie Presto, are brand new.  They’re all easy to work with, though, at least as long as you let them take care the office decor.

        First of all, I want to tell you I have all respect for these ladies, and when they speak, I listen.  It’s not only that I have learned about new colors such as taupe, fuchsia or chartreuse (no tans and greens in that place) but also I’ve discovered all sorts of new reading material.  You know you are working around a group of women when the lead article in the purple room (their term for the staff bathroom – don’t know where it came from) at Easter reads “Ten Lovable Bunny Crafts.”  I can’t make too much fun though, ’cause I never did understand why the bathroom at the barber shop has a lady on the wall in a skimpy swim suit showing off wrenches and working on a car to sell tools- looks like she’d get hurt not wearing any more than that.   And while I’m thinking of it, I should add a serious note- there are very few women’s health care issues on which my co-workers can not offer some valuable insight.  Between what I learned in books, and consultation with them and Dr. Lucas, I can almost always make a good decision in this area of medicine. 

     But, as far as office decoration, I just ain’t in their league.  They put up a big poster years ago with Polaroids of all the kids in the practice, and we never have taken a single one down.  My boy is now married, but smiles at me every day with that same toothy grin like time has stood still just for us.

         Thanksgiving will always see cardboard turkeys from the middle school kids, and all the employees get a cake on their birthday. (I opt out for pintos and cornbread.) In general, it is a home-like atmosphere.

        They do it up right this time of year, though.  After all these years around all these women, I have learned.  Christmas is a biggy.  

        The first sign of the impending holiday is a cloth snowman who shows up as a cover on the toilet lid in the purple room. (You can’t miss him- the seat is always down.)  His reemergence is so reliable I have never forgotten to do my shopping.  As much as I hate to shop, his appearance is my annual reminder of my duty.  The old boy is looking a bit ragged- he at least twenty- about 140 in people years, and his middle section is tinged a tad brown around the edges.  Sort of a dingy look like one of those big snow balls piled up at the edge of the Walmarks parking lot a few days after the plow comes through.  I dubbed him the “abdominal snowman” for a while, but they got irritated with me, so I quit. 

        Our tree is a droopy Charlie Brown thing, but Lord help you if you make fun of it.  They explained to me it wouldn’t be fitting to try to outdo anybody, and not proper to spend too much time or effort- might send the wrong message.  It was fine by me.  I wasn’t exactly sure what the message was, but I have learned  just ’cause I can’t decode all their encrypted language doesn’t mean I should ignore it’s existence.

        Our most enduring tradition has to be our Christmas ceramics, though.  By any artistic standard they are… well, let’s just say they come from the heart.  In one sense, I have to agree.  The poor fellow who made them meant well, but honestly, those angels with their halos on crooked and the glue dripping down their cheeks- they look like they are crying- what kinda Christmas cheer is that?

       I’d protest to Paig every year.  “Gee, Paig.  I know Billy Bee made ’em, but for heavens’ sake.  Do we have to put them out?  That glue- they really are rough style, you know.”

        Paig would wipe them off with a dust rag, and place them in their appointed position, just the same as the year before.  “Now Dr. Bibey, we can’t go hurt Billy Bee’s feelings- he worked hard on these.”  She kept busy, and never looked me in the eye, but I knew from her stern tone not to protest any further.

        Of course, I always gave in.

        Now we are coming up on Christmas again.  Poor Billy Bee died of pneumonia last winter.  He put up a good fight.  We fought the battle not only with his country docs, but pulmonologisits and intensivists- it just wasn’t to be.  Sometimes you grow weary of losing patients, and it sure can set you to thinking about what’s really important around Christmas.

        I went to the purple room just the other day, and there was the abdominal snowman- that time of year again.  Paig set out the Charlie Brown tree, and I told Lynn O’Carroll and Myrd to go find Billy’s ceramics and dust ’em off.  You’d have to work at a doctor’s office, or perhaps most women would understand intuitively, but it just wouldn’t be Christmas without those  crooked halo glue dripping angels around.  Ole Billy worked hard on them. 

        When I left Tuesday, Paig was setting ’em all out in their appointed places to see us through another year.

 Dr. B

Thanksgiving- Mama’s Got The Know How

November 19, 2007

        I know it’s Thanksgiving week before I even get out of bed.  The wife has got the persimmon pudding and pumpkin pie simmering, and the unmistakable aroma has wafted up the stairs.  I didn’t even need to look at the calender.  An old Cajun song we used to do at the Bomb Shelter (that’s another story) called “Mama’s Got the Know How” comes to mind. 

        I sure am thankful for my wife, ’cause all I know how to do is write prescriptions and play the mandolin.  She’s got everything else figured out, and can play the bass and sing, too.

        Now that persimmon pudding is the best- if I can just figure out how to con my boy out of the corner piece this year….

                                                 -Dr. B