Country Doctors

Good mornin, ya'll. Come on in for a cup of coffee and sit a spell. Missed you yesterday, but had to take Roy to the doctor to check the incision. Just a little problem, but getting better. He really is doing well, but therapy will not start until next week.

Did ya'll know there is a doctor for each part of your body? We have used a doctor for shoulders, knees, hands, feet, female parts, ears, digestive and I have lost count. It is getting a little ridiculous don't you think? If you cough you go to one, if you sneeze there is an allergist, if you break a bone, there is another one and on and on and on. It takes an entire address book to keep up with all your doctors.

Now we do have a general practice doctor who takes care of most of our problems, thank goodness. But if he thinks it's beyond his expertise, off we go to a "specialist" or an expert. Daddy used to say that an "expert" was a "drip under pressure." Sometimes I know he was right for they act pressured. Their offices are packed and you are herded in and out like cattle at the stockyard. Sometimes I feel like mooing.

It's interesting that we grew up in a town with 1 doctor and no hospital. The closest hospital was in Selma and they had 2. There was the "The Baptist Hospital" and Vaughn Memorial. The Baptist, as we called it, was our choice and Arvin and Sam were born there, but I had to be different! I was an import born in South Carolina but moved to LA (Lower Alabama), when 9 months old. We only went to Selma when it was "serious" or had to have an operation.

Other than that, "Dr. Paul" Jones took care of us. His full name was John Paul Jones, but Dr. Paul was what everyone called him. His nurse was "Miss Annie Laura" whom we all loved but held in awe. She was a large lady, kind, but could be "plain spoken" if needed. The 2 of them birthed, raised and eased many into death. They were our medical staff!

The first office I remember was a small office in the busy part of town and was small and a little dark. Dr. Paul, had white hair, a booming voice and usually had a cigar in his mouth. Sometimes it was lit, but mostly he just chewed on it. He knew all of us by name, condition, parents and likes and dislikes. We knew he cared for us, but he could be blunt sometimes.

I remember cutting my foot rather badly when I was 5 or 6. It happened when we were living in Possum Bend (not kidding) waiting for our house to be built in Canton Bend. I was running down and up the ditch in front of our house to Mr. Bill Harris's store for a treat. I cut my right foot rather badly on a broken quart jar and had to go to see Dr. Paul for it was deep and wide.

Now he was a kindly man, but didn't always show that side. He didn't deaden my foot very much before the began to sew it up and had to use several stitches. Of course, I was screaming bloody murder and Mr. Handley who had a store close by recognized my cry and came running to see what was wrong. Mama said he kinda told Dr. Paul what he thought about his method of treatment and tried to soothe my cries along with mama and daddy. Now I am sure this didn't make a big impression on Dr. Paul for he pretty well did what he wanted and how he wanted.

However, this was the "straw which broke the camel's back," for we didn't go back to him for many years. We would go over the Alberta to Dr. Dixon or to Selma to Dr. Mosely. As the years passed we did begin to go back to Dr. Paul who by that time had built a clinic with a few beds in it for birthing babies or serious illnesses until they got well or went to Selma.

I well remember when I was a senior in high school and we all had to have a physical and shots to go to college. Of course we all went to Dr. Paul for we weren't sick just needed to be looked at, paper filled out and his signature. Didn't take long for he had doctored us most of our lives and it was quick and easy.

Now my bestest and dearest friend was tall and lanky with a body like mine in that even standing in profile you couldn't tell if we were a boy or a girl. We didn't have any boobs or butts and were built like a stick. The day after the exam, she was almost too ashamed to show her face in public. While Dr. Paul was examining her, he said loud enough for everyone in the waiting room to hear, "Why are you wearing that brassiere? You sure don't need it." Now she was mortified, embarrassed and wishing she was dead for you had to walk out through the waiting room where everybody had heard the comment. Not sure she ever went back to see him.

As Dr. Paul grew older, he realized he needed some help so a young doctor came to join him in his practice. I cannot remember his name but I do remember he was young and rather nice looking. By this time I was married with a child but could and still can appreciate God's beauty so realized he was rather nice looking. Having a sore throat, which wasn't serious enough for Selma doctors I took myself to Dr. Paul's.

Now no one had an appointment, you just went and waited and waited. That wasn't too bad for you knew everyone in the waiting room and all their relatives so it was a time for catching up on the news or gossip, whichever you want to call it. Sometimes we would be having such a good time, we didn't want to stop and go see the doctor and of course when you left, they would talk about you and yours, bless their hearts. Sometimes it would get so loud Miss Annie Laura would come to the door and sternly ask us to be quiet. You see, any time you get a group of Southerners together, you have to discuss all who are present and all those not present. It's just the kindly thing to do so you can "pray" for them.

While I was sitting there catching up on the news, "Miss Annie Laura" came to the door and said that Dr. Paul was really busy and we would have to wait a while so if anyone really wanted to see the "new" doctor they could come on back. We all looked at each other but I surely didn't mind "seeing" the "new" doctor and went right on back. Now I am sure this was much discussed after I left the room, but I surely didn't care for it was not the first time I had been discussed and I am sure it wasn't the last, bless their little "pea picking" hearts.

Dr. Paul was a legend in his own time and there were lots of little boys and men with his name. J. Paul Jones, was one of the most used names for baby boys in that area. If you stood on court square and hollered Paul, a whole host of men and boys would answer. He was unique but without his skills and caring a lot of us would not be here. I'm so glad I had the privilege of knowing him. Wish there were more like him today, but our Dr. Tom is the answer to that. He is wonderful.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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