As I sat in a crowded after-hours clinic waiting room watching a parent try to coerce their coughing child into putting on a surgical mask, I became nostalgic for much simpler time. A happier time. A time I wasn’t present for, and I’m only 68 per cent sure I’m not making up. The time of the country doctor.
Oh, the good old days – when you could pick up your phone receiver and order a doctor to your door like he was a pizza. In a way, the door-to-doctor was a pizza. A pizza of kindness.
There on your doorstep he would appear, in however long it took him to stroll down your hundred-mile driveway with a concerned look on his face. He’d come up to your bed of pain, sit on the corner with his brow never unfurrowing, and place his cool hand on your sweaty forehead.
“Looks like you got a case of the gumptions,” he’d say, opening his leather medical case. He’d pull out a twist-top bottle full of liquid and pour it onto a giant spoon which he would place in your mouth. “Take some of this here onion tonic, it’ll cure you of any of the skivities you got.”
Unsure if it’s the onions or tenderness of his touch, you start to feel a little warmer inside. He leaves you with a prescription for catsup pills, and the instructions to eat as many paint chips as you can fit in you and he’s back on down the road to the next house. You think to yourself, thanks Country Doctor. You’re the reason I just might live to see 23, unlike my pa.
I’ve never taken a history class or spoken with anyone over the age of 30, but I have seen a whole lot of Norman Rockwell paintings. I consider myself pretty well versed on the past, so I can say with some authority- things just aren’t as right as they were in the good ol’ days.
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