Well, I have an old “Singing Sergeants” record playing. It wouldn’t do to mention the name of the song that’s playing – except that “the queen of Spain was an amorous Jane” is enough to identify the tune for those who know and those who don’t – don’t need to. Like Martin Luther complained, “the Devil has all the best songs.”
I ‘spect more people would sing in the Church choir if we had some rollicking hymns. Of course, I think we would have more people in church if the preachers would quite talking about sitting on a cold, wet cloud, singing “hosanna on the highest” for all of eternity. Just the thought is enough to give a man a sore throat.
I don’t ordinarily listen to such, but that one reminds me of the old days when I laid up on a stack of square bales in Lane Cooter’s tack room and listened to the veterans sing all the songs they learned in the foxholes of Europe and the Pacific. Of course, most of those songs would peel the paint off the wall!
While I was on vacation a few years back I came back through Baraboo, Wisconsin. The last time I was in Baraboo old Doc Hale was peddling his brand of patent medicine.
Doc was genuine MD till he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Doc sold his practice and took up the patent med pitch, which Doc said the stuff he sold would cure you if you weren’t too sick and you believed in it, and that was better than he was ever able to do as a regular croaker.
Anyway, the summer of ’46 Doc was making the rounds with a new line of liquid dynamite. He had a real pretty wife that shilled for him – which if you don’t know a shill is someone who stands in the crowd and buys the product, so as to get the marks hands out of their pockets and get some money in circulation. Rita had kids in college but she looked maybe 30 or so at most. Quick with a comeback, too.
One time Doc really got wound up, and a guy who had seen Doc at three or four places recognized Rita as being “with it.” He asked Rita “Will that stuff really make you live longer?”
“I don’t really know,” Rita said, “I only met the Doctor in 1856.”
I believe the mark bought a couple cases of the stuff.
Yessir, Rita was pretty swift on the uptake and a real diplomat. Whenever anyone knocked on her trailer door she would put her hat on. That way if it was someone she didn’t want to talk to she could say she was just going out – and if it was somebody she wanted to see she could say she was so glad to see them, “Just let me take my hat off and put the teapot on and we will have a nice long visit.” Sort of make ’em feel wanted, you know?
Back then penicillin was brand new – if the sawbones knew then what the croakers know now Doc might have been saved. Or maybe not, life bein’ chancy.
However, I don’t know that life was any more chancy then than now. But the insurance is sure higher. There is more truth than poetry in that old joke…
“How many doctors does it take to change a light bulb?”
That depends on how much insurance the bulb has.”
And nowadays we have more specialists, too. A specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less. Either that or a croaker with a smaller practice and a bigger house.
I see that 175,000 people die every year from the croaks screw-ups and infections contracted while they were being treated. For true! Yep, every sawbones buries his mistakes. You still wanna know why I call ’em croakers?
I was talkin’ to a man while I was pirootin’ around Omaha and he told me that there is a doctor in Iowa who makes house calls. Now don’t that beat all? I remember when the house call was the ordinary way you saw the doc.
Nowadays a lot of doctors are so high falutin’ they won’t make hospital calls. But this denizen of tall corn country told me that his doctor makes house calls but he won’t make farm calls. Not unless the farmer gags the ducks.
Say, I remember when Doc Johnson took a whole month off and went to Colorado on a big game hunt. When he got back his nurse asked him if he killed anything.
“Didn’t kill a thing. Didn’t even get a shot at killing anything,” he says, “I’d have been better off staying here.”
All joking aside, I do trust my doctor. If he treats you for dandruff that’s what you die of. Of course, doctors are a sight more useful than lawyers. Well, I better not get wound up on shysters, but I mind when Tag Taggert brought Lark Starr in for stealin’ cows.
Judge Ross asked Lark if he had anything to offer the court before he passed sentence on him.
Starr said “Sorry, Judge, I don’t have a smear. My lawyer took every last penny I had.”
Did you hear about the holdup man who held up a Jackson lawyers office a while back? The poor feller lost six hundred dollars.
Most lawyers practice because it gives them a grand and glorious feeling. Give ’em a grand and they feel glorious!
But you know, we should love all the lawyers. Who else would we get to get us out of all the trouble they get us into? And lawyers come in real handy whenever a felon needs a friend, too.
Say, I went to school once in Black Oak, Arkansas. Miss Curtis was the teacher there, and we had three grades in one room. You might say I was in the middle, I had the second grade on my right, and the fourth grade on my left.
Had a real pretty girl, her dad was a court clerk, in my class. That was another Sheila. Miss Curtis asked Sheila to come up and explain to the fourth grade how the court system works.
Sheila stood up and said, “The lawyers make speeches and sit down. The judge makes a speech and sits down. Then the bailiff takes twelve of them into a dark room to be developed.”
Well, that was intended to be a thousand words and I think I made it.