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Southern Raisin': Thank goodness we had country doctors

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When I was being treated for a mangled arm little did I realize just how important our one and only Doctor Flippin had on the entire surrounding communities?  Think back how your problem was the only concern at the time.  At least to me.  But jillions of other folks had their own problems.

Can anyone remember the times in your growing up when you just knew you were about to meet yo’ maker?  But thank goodness, the healer had the answers.  Oh well, we made it another day!  Take me back to yesterday once more.

Although the actual small office seemed huge at the time with ailing folks crammed together like a cabbage patch, the waiting room could hold a large congregation if everyone was careful not to bump the warm morning coal stove in the middle of the creaking wooden floor.  The steps leading to the front screen door seemed nine feet tall.

If you can remember the country doctor’s offices were not loaded with luxuries.  Could that have possibly saved a dollar or two?  Just a thought!  

Where were you the many times when you fell and got hurt?  Did you ever step on a rusty nail and get one of those good stinging, burning tet’nus shots?  Flinch from a bee sting and blow up like a balloon.  Well, here we go to the good doctor.  Maybe a little ‘cat-gut’ to sew up a now, middle-busted noggin from hiding behind a protruding rafter during an international corn cob fight! 

I doubt if anyone realized just how fortunate to have such fine and trusting souls as the communities had back then!  The surrounding communities had two doctors that treated folks from ‘Shee-car–go’ (Chicago) to Mexico.  Dr. Sid and Dr. Barney Witherington were located in Munford.  I can still hear Momma very emphatically state, “If you a hurtin’ you better go see Dr. Sid right away.”  It didn’t make no diff’rence what ailed you as Dr. Sid could cure you.  And Momma said, “He didn’t charge an arm or leg.”  “Momma”, I asked, “was he going to keep my arm or leg?”          

Momma thought Dr. Sid hung the moon and manipulated the universe.  

She reminded me that no one ever used Dr. Sid’s last name.  You didn’t have to, as it was “Dr. Sid” since he was known far and wide, and it was Dr. Barney, also never requiring a last name. 

Don’t it make you feel good to not need last names?  Salute Elvis, remember Jefferson the greatest President we ever had.  How about our greatest general, Nathan Bedford?  Beat the drums for Alvin from Pall Mall.  Blow the trumpet for Old Hickory.  Last names?  Don’t need nairn!      

Country doctors!  Yep, we lived in the country.  Doctor Timbs cured folks in the big city of Bolton.  Dr. Chaffee kept down the miseries in Brunswick and delivered two dear friends, Gene and Bubba.  Dr. King held the crown in Millington along with Dr. Batson and Dr. Cates was loved by folks from all over.  

The affluent “Swami” Travis can attest to some miracle curing from these three great doctors.  If Mr. S. Y. Wilson, in Arlington, didn’t have medications on his store shelves to ease the hurts, Dr. Malcolm Baker was only a short distance away as he eliminated aches and pains. 

Daddy expounded that Dr. Rice, practicing in Braden, delivered me at my Grandparents Faulk’s farm house, front bedroom in Charleston.  

Back then the long drive from Braden of about 10 miles by Dr. Rice cost Daddy $25 for me to haunt the universe in the upcoming years.  I was there, or so Daddy said, but for some reason I don’t remember anything.  Could it have been I was hungry?  Just a thought! 

wFriends, I’m not saying what is right or wrong, good or bad.  This was just a way of life!  We are all deeply, very deeply indebted to these fine humanitarians who devoted their lives and their families’ lives to serving the human race.  Southerners can vividly remember their country doctor, fifth grade school teacher, and their Sunday School teacher.  Can’t you?

Another Lost Art of Caring Through Fast Changing------Glory!!!!!!!

Otis Griffin is the author of the book “Southern Raisin”. He was born in  Charleston, Tenn., and attended Rosemark Grammar School and Bolton High School.

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