Monday, July 09, 2007

Small Town - Part 2

I was talking with a gentleman this weekend that was my middle school principle back in the early 70's. We ran into each other at the funeral of a mutual friend (more on that in a minute). After the formalities of "How are you doing?" "You look the same!" "What have you been up to?", we settled into a brief conversation about our hometown and how "they just don't make 'em like that anymore."

marching band

"It was a great town. Almost like stepping into another time," he said. And I had to agree. Things were simplier in our town. Things moved a little slower. EVERYBODY went to the football games on Friday night. The Homecoming parade down Main Street was a big deal. Businesses were bascially closed on that Friday afternoon when the high school band led the parade of decorated cars and floats overflowing with cheerleaders, little league football players, kings, queens, and "attendents"...The "Band Boosters" sponsored a fundraiser dinner at the elementary school cafeteria right before the big Homecoming game. Seems like everyone went to that, too.

You had to arrive at the game at least an hour before kickoff or you didn't get a seat, but that didn't matter to the "old-timers"; they stood on one end of the field and hung on the fence surrounding the field while the kids played "tag" or football underneath the bleachers. The smell of popcorn, coffee, and hot chocolate from the "Junior Class Concession Stand" filled the crisp evening air of "football season."

As with any small town, we had our share of "characters/memorable folks"; some more memorable than others for various reasons. We had one fellow, "John", that pretty much stayed in a constant state of drunkenness. He would stand on the street corner and scream obscenities at the passing cars. Of course, being honery kids, we would drive by and provoke him! (There's really not a lot "to do" in a small town some days.)

Dr. GOne of the more memorable people from my small town was one of the local family physicians. I always called him "Doc." He looked like a "Doc". Doc had the C-O-L-D-E-S-T stethoscope in town! It didn't matter if the thing was hanging around his neck when he walked in the room---the danged thing was ICE COLD! I accused him of storing it in the freezer just to be annoying.

Doc was never in a hurry; he always had time to tell a story--he always had a story to tell. He would poke and press, all the while asking: "does that hurt?"; "how 'bout that, does that hurt?" He always looked in your ears--didn't matter what was wrong with you or what you said "hurt"...he always looked in your ears. Finally, he'd come up with a diagnosis; it was always the "right one." He would write out a prescription we could take to the "Rexall" drug and get filled. Then he would patiently sit and answer any questions you might have--never hurried. Always smiling. You were the only patient he had, or at least that's the way he treated you.

Doc had a daughter that was my age; we went to the same church; we ran around with the same group of kids. We graduated together--so I saw Doc when I was sick, and lots of times when I was well. That was 30+ years ago. Doc died last week. Friends and family gathered to honor his memory, to shed a few tears and LOTS of great stories. Doc lived a good life. He loved his family, his Lord and Savior...and I believe he loved his patients. We'll miss you, Doc.


Baxter said...

Well, you did it again, I need a tissue! :( Did you ever watch "The Wonder Years"? That was my age, my era. I really loved that time in my life. Thanks so much for YOUR story. I miss those "story tellers", "They just don't make like they used too."

Keith said...

I LOVE "Wonder Years!" In fact--I'm watching it RIGHT NOW! No kidding. Gotta love cable TV. I graduated from HS in 1976, so that show is right up my alley.

Baxter said...

I thought cable was the same all over. We don't have the "Wonder Years" available where I am. We used to, but they are always changing what comes on. I'd watch it, if it were available again. :)