Andy’s Courtship of Norrine

 

 

Long- Barrel Pistol

Disclaimer: The following account is true but the names of the man and his wife have been changed, because they have both died and it was not possible to obtain their permission to publish this account of their courtship. I have used this story numerous times in couple’s counselling sessions to illustrate the protective influence of a father’s love for his daughter.

 

Andy Jameison was a colorful character who lived and raised his family in El Dorado, Arkansas. I got to know him when Cathy and I moved our family to El Dorado in the early 1970’s to begin my medical practice. Andy was an agent with a local company with whom I had a business relationship, and I was familiar with most of the personnel in the company. One of my best friends was a company agent, and it was through him I developed a friendship with Andy.

Andy and wife Norrine had several children and their oldest son Joe was several years behind me in high school in the 1950’s. Although at the time I did know Joe, I didn’t know anything about his parents except their names were “Mr.and Mrs. Jameison.”

One day in the late 1970’s during a casual conversation with Andy he asked me how and where I had met Cathy, because he knew she was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Following the account of my courtship with Cathy, I asked him about his heritage and how he had met Norrine. This is my recollection of his account of his courtship and subsequent marriage to her;

“Norrine came from a farming family in eastern Arkansas, and her father was a hard-working cotton farmer with darkly tanned skin and thick callused hands. He was a tall slender man who didn’t talk much, but when he did speak everyone stopped and listened. He loved his wife and children and provided as well for them as any Arkansas farmer could during the lean years of the Great Depression. I was a big city boy from the North and had lots of worldly experience, but recognized a good family with a beautiful girl raised in that environment. I had no prior experience with the culture of farming, but I quickly learned to appreciate the importance of daily hard work, and the protection of a loving father with his children and especially a daughter.

On my second date with Norrine she met me at the front door, and said her Dad wanted to talk with me. I had met him briefly prior to our first date, but had no significant conversation with him then. She said he was back in the kitchen. As I walked through the door into the kitchen I saw he was seated at the table facing the door, and there was one other chair directly across from him. I immediately noticed a very large pistol lying on the table and pointed toward the place where I sat down. Without any introductory remarks, he asked me “How do you like my pistol?” All I knew to say was, “It is a very nice looking pistol!” He said, “Pick it up and see what you think.” As I raised the pistol, I immediately noticed how heavy it was and even for a large man like myself was difficult to hold up for very long. He asked, “Do you think you could hit anything with it?” I said, “I could probably hit a large building like the barn outside with it!” while nervously chuckling. He picked up the pistol and in a slow sweeping motion of pointing the weapon around the walls of the room, he brought the barrel down between my eyes and said, “I can hit a fly on the wall with this pistol.” He left the pistol pointed at me for another second, and then placed it back on the table still pointed in my direction. Without even being subtle, he said he just wanted me to see his pistol before going out on the date with Norrine. I said something like, “I’ll make sure Norrine is safe, and I’ll be sure to protect her.” Andy told me, “If my intentions toward Norrine had not been honorable up to this point, they surely were from then on!”

Following a courtship over the following year, Andy and Norrine were married with the full permission and blessing of her father. World War II was imminent just prior to the events of Pearl Harbour, and Andy had avoided the draft by enlisting in the Navy. Following a brief honeymoon he received orders to report to the Naval base in San Diego, and they made preparations to move there. Although Andy would likely be shipped out of San Diego for duty in the Pacific, Norrine would remain in the apartment in San Diego awaiting his shore leave whenever that might occur. Norrine’s Dad wanted her to have as much protection as possible, especially during his deployment. To assure maximum protection for her, he gave her his long-barreled pistol and a supply of ammunition. Andy said when they got to San Diego and were settled, he placed the pistol on a shelf in a closet where it remained the entire time of their residence. He said the pistol was so heavy there was no way Norrine could lift it to even fire a shot! But at the very least, her Dad had done all he could to protect her.

In recalling this account to various couples with children, I am always struck by the importance of all parents, and especially Dad’s for protecting their children. In an age where predators and evil men seem to be in abundance, a strong and fearless Dad is a major deterrence to anyone with wrong intentions to harm his family. Norrine’s Dad was her protector until she married Andy, and then provided her with a “little” assistance when Andy was absent from the home. I believe this is God’s way! (Prov. 4: 1-4)

Dr. John

Advertisements

One Night in Cleveland

 

During my years as a general surgeon the Cleveland Clinic had the best reputation in the country for colorectal surgery and numerous scientific papers were published by their staff. The hospital excelled in other areas, but I was not as familiar with them. When I began having my own issues with heart disease I became more aware the Cleveland Clinic had the reputation of being one of the best centers for cardiac surgery and in particular valvular heart disease. Their surgeons are on the cutting edge of minimally invasive valvular replacement and repair. Fortunately I have not had problems with my heart valves.

Our son John Aaron who has been extremely healthy and aerobically fit has developed recent heart issues with a diminished exercise tolerance. He has been receiving excellent care from his primary care physician in El Dorado, but decided to have an evaluation at The Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock. One of the founders of the hospital is Dr. Bruce Murphy a distinguished cardiologist for many years and whose roots are in El Dorado. His father Rev. Bruce Murphy was Pastor for many years of Second Baptist Church and has been a wonderful friend and encourager, especially during the 30 years Cathy and I lived in El Dorado. Dr. Murphy’s responsibilities now are administrative, but he took a personal interest in John’s care which I very much appreciated.

Following initial evaluation by his cardiologist and followup several months later at Arkansas Heart Hospital John and wife Gina were told he had significant valvular heart disease. The problem primarily involving a “leaking” aortic valve, and the aortic regurgitation (blood back-flowing into the heart) was becoming worse. At the advice of his cardiologist and concurrence by Dr. Murphy, an appointment was made with Dr. Edward Soltesz at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Murphy said in his opinion  Dr. Soltesz was the best cardio-thoracic surgeon in the country and his sub-specialty was valvular heart problems. John and Gina were convinced the heart problem would require immediate repair, and with all their responsibilities including John’s leadership at Murphy USA as Senior Vice-President, the sooner he had the procedure the more quickly he could return to a more normal life-style. The appointment at Cleveland Clinic had to be postponed for 2 weeks because Dr. Soltesz was on vacation with his family. The appointment for pre-op evaluation was made for Monday July 30 and the operation was scheduled for the following morning.

Cathy and I were planning to be in Cleveland for the operation and remain until John was ready to come home. We made our airline reservations to arrive in Cleveland on the day prior to operation, and return home 3 days later depending on his post-operative condition. Delta Airlines was very gracious to sell us a “medical ticket” which allowed for cancellation of the reservation or extension to a later date depending on the medical condition of an immediate family member. We were able to purchase a similar ticket for our daughters, Mary Kay and Ginny so they could be present for their brother’s procedure.

The four of us were en route to Cleveland while John was receiving his pre-operative evaluation. Following the testing done at the Cleveland Clinic, John and Gina met with Dr. Soltesz and the cardiologist, Dr. Leonardo Rodriguez. They were extremely impressed with their doctors’ knowledge and their personalized care and concern. They were not in a hurry to fully explain John’s condition and prognosis, and made John and Gina believe they would patiently answer any question they might have. These are qualities not often seen in doctors in such large medical centers.

The joint recommendations of the two physicians was John would need to have aortic valvular replacement at some point in the future, but it was not needed at the present time. With evolving technology in minimally invasive surgery by the time John will need an operation, perhaps it can be done by means of a catheter through a peripheral artery!

When we arrived at the airport in Cleveland around 5 PM, I received a phone call from John telling me the good news they had just received. Our only regret at this point was having not received the news about 6 hours earlier before boarding the plane in Springfield. So we proceeded to the Intercontinental Hotel where the 4 of us met John, Gina and Landon, their youngest son for a celebration meal at the restaurant. That evening we all changed our airline reservations to return home the following morning.

We didn’t experience or see very much of Cleveland nor of the famed Cleveland Clinic. As we returned home the following day we thanked God for His provision for us, and for placing our son John into the skilled hands of the heart doctors of world-famous Cleveland Clinic. It was an expensive 2 day outing, but well-worth the cost.

Dr. John

 

The Evangelist Gives An Invitation

Revival Preacher

Evangelistic revivals are fast becoming events of a past generation in the modern church. I am old enough to remember when a scheduled revival meeting would begin on a Sunday morning continuing through the following Saturday evening, and if the meeting was successful it  might be extended for another week. As time progressed the usual revival of the 1980’s and 1990’s was reduced to a Sunday morning through Wednesday night. Fewer and fewer churches after the 1990’s even scheduled evangelists to come preach, until now only a very few pastors consider an evangelistic revival a relevant event for their church. I believe the church is missing a very significant tool for outreach evangelism, which for many decades was responsible for tens of thousands of spiritually dead sinners to make lasting professions of faith. I use the term lasting because one of the arguments against revivals is many recorded professions of faith from the past were simply emotional responses to high pressure techniques of over-zealous evangelists.

In a previous post I related the account of my friend Rev. Anton (Buddy) Uth’s first evangelistic visit. He was a college student at Ouachita Baptist University at the time, and upon graduation went to seminary to receive his M Div. degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He pastored many Southern Baptist churches in the south during his years of ministry. I was privileged to know and love him because his son David, who is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Orlando is married to our niece Rachel Moore. Brother David became our pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in El Dorado for a 5 year period in the 1990’s. Besides being a wonderful pastor-shepherd, Brother Buddy could tell some of the most interesting and hilarious stories of any pastor I have known. I always thought one of his best stories concerned a visiting evangelist.

I don’t recall Brother Buddy revealing the name of the evangelist, and this account might well have been the first time this man had preached in one of his churches. In the modern church very few pastors wear a coat and tie, but in the majority of Southern Baptist churches prior to 2000, it would have been unthinkable for a pastor or evangelist to wear anything but a coat and tie. This evangelist had on his nicest suit and came fully prepared to lead a successful meeting.

For the initial service on Sunday morning Brother Buddy didn’t recognize prior to walking onto the platform with the evangelist, the visitor had failed to close the zipper of his pants. The visitor; however recognized his own mistake when he sat in his chair on the platform while the choir was singing the opening anthem. This was certainly not the time to close a zipper with all the congregants  watching the activities behind him. The preacher thought he could easily close his zipper when he stood to preach standing behind the pulpit, and the action would not be noticed by even the most observant viewer.

The church sanctuary was an old one without air conditioning and during the hot summer months the windows along the sides were kept open. This meeting was being held in the latter days of August before Labor Day. With the help of the ceiling fans the circulation was enough on most Sundays to keep the inside temperatures pleasant enough for a 1-2 hour service. The pulpit had been built years before by one of the skilled members, and to add a little color and formality a small silk cloth with tassels was covering the top of the pulpit. Those overlays were common in many country churches. The evangelist had no idea this colorful but unobtrusive item was about to become a focal point of his message that morning.

At the close of the choir special the evangelist kept his Bible and notes in front of him as he stood and quickly positioned himself behind the pulpit. While he was making introductory praise remarks to Pastor Buddy and the congregation he quickly pulled on the zipper and succeeded in closing it. His preaching style was not typical of many evangelists in that he primarily remained behind the pulpit while preaching. It was more common for preachers to move back and forth across the platform while speaking, stopping frequently to emphasize a particular point. This particular style for this preacher delayed the discovery of what had just occurred.

The evangelist  noted during his message the pulpit overlay seemed to moved slightly when he shifted positions, but he attributed it to the slight breeze coming into the auditorium and thought nothing of it. He remained stationed behind the pulpit and re-positioned his preaching notes. Nearing the close of his message he began making an appeal for anyone desiring to make a public profession of faith or re-commitment of their life to Christ to stand and make their way to the front of the auditorium. He said he and Brother Buddy would be at the front to receive them and pray with them. He asked the pianist to begin softly playing “Just As I Am.” With a quick turn and move the evangelist stepped fully out from behind the pulpit, and he discovered what had occurred when he zipped up his zipper!

One of the tassels was trapped in the top of his zipper and the entire overlay with his Bible and preaching notes came flying off the pulpit. He was suddenly fully exposed to the congregation with the brightly colored overlay hanging down from his pants. He made several attempts at freeing the tassel, but it was so deeply embedded it was not to be removed apart from being cut free. Brother Buddy said he and the entire congregation were so near to breaking out into laughter, the solemnity of the invitation time was gone. As the evangelist turned his back to the crowd he continued in his efforts to free the tassel. Brother Buddy said all he knew to do at the moment was to call on the Chairman of Deacons seated near the front to close in prayer. At the moment he seemed less likely to break out in laughter and was able to successfully voice a prayer.

As Brother Buddy usually said when recalling this funny incident, “Don’t ever assume what God may do in any church service. He will have His way.” God wants us to come to Him with a humble and contrite heart knowing anything good we have is from His hand. (Psalm 51: 16,17). I can think of few things which will humble a preacher more than standing in front of his hearers with a brightly colored pulpit overlay hanging from the front of his pants!

Dr. John

 

 

 

Aunt Fanny’s Cabin

Dining at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin

Prior to moving to Atlanta, Georgia in June, 1964 to begin my medical internship I had never lived in a major city. My 4 years in medical school in Little Rock were spent in a town so much larger than my home of El Dorado, Arkansas, yet by city population standards Little Rock is not a metropolis. Because of the immensity and intensity of the work of a medical student I didn’t get to enjoy many of the benefits of the city of Little Rock.

Atlanta was different in so many ways and frankly was a bit intimidating to a small town guy. I was at once very excited to move to a major city with my new MD degree and all the doors which might be opened, but at the same time frightened I might be swallowed up in the immensity of it all and lose any personal identity. At that point in life faith played no role in my thinking, and I was not seeking after God to direct my path. My secular thoughts led me to believe like the poem “Invictus”; I was the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

Fortunately within a few months of living in Atlanta and working at Grady Memorial Hospital, I met a young and beautiful woman named Cathy Young with whom I fell madly in love. My work schedule at the hospital was crazy in those days since I was on call for 36 hours and off duty for 12 hours in a 2 day span. Those kind of work hours are no longer allowed because of the physical and emotional drain, but at the time I thought nothing about it because I was single, young and strong! Sleep and rest were accomplished by short, quick naps interspersed by 3-4 hours of deep sleep when available. Cathy will tell you I occasionally took short naps on her couch while waiting for her to get ready for a date.

My salary at the hospital was below poverty level, but this was the culture of medical training in those days. We expected the temporary poverty awaiting the time when larger incomes could be attained. Cathy was earning a salary for her teaching responsibilities as an elementary teacher, but her income was modest at best.

Our dates did not involve any expensive outings because we were relatively poor. Perhaps once each month we could afford dining in a moderately priced restaurant, but never in a 4 or 5 star restaurant. We ate lots of hamburgers and hot dogs, but I don’t recall ever feeling deprived. Had we been invited to a 5 star restaurant by someone who could afford it, we would have felt uncomfortable and out-of-place.

Perhaps our favorite restaurant for a special date was Aunt Fanny’s Cabin located in Smyrna, an Atlanta suburb. We didn’t get to go there often, but when we did it was a visual and culinary delight. Opened since the 1940’s Aunt Fanny’s Cabin catered to people who loved good Southern comfort food served in an atmosphere of a culture  long since gone.

When we lived in Atlanta the Civil Rights Movement was near its’ peak in intensity and confrontation. Reverend Martin Luther King whose church, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta was a prominent figure in Atlanta and throughout the entire South. Sadly there were many death threats hurled against him and his family. At Grady Hospital there was always talk among our hospital staff we expected he might be brought to the emergency room at any time either severely wounded or killed. From a racial hatred and intolerance standpoint Atlanta was a risky and sometimes frightening place to live in the mid-1960’s.

Cathy and I never felt threatened or intimidated in any public place in which we dated, nor did we believe by eating in a restaurant like Aunt Fanny’s Cabin were we endorsing a stance of racial prejudice. It was a fun place we could occasionally afford and not only did we love the food, we had a good time there.

Upon entering the restaurant and being seated at a table with a red and white checkered tablecloth, a young black boy named “Jimmy” would come to the table with a large black board with a hole in the top of the board. Written on the board in white chalk were the  4 main entrees of the restaurant. Jimmy would say with a big wide-mouth grin; “Aant Fanny sez, howdy folks, what’ll it be? Today’s specials are — our famous Southern fried chicken — six dollas. Gen u wine Smithfield ham — six fifty. Charcoal broiled steak — sebn’ dollas and Rainbow trout — sebn’ fifty”

The price of the entrée included the side dishes which were brought to the table and  served family style. The sides included black-eyed peas, turnip greens, green beans, squash and mashed potatoes with gravy.The baked corn bread was absolutely delicious. As I recall when one finished the meal and was still hungry, desserts were available at a small extra charge. The meals were so filling only the heartiest diners had one of their desserts.

Occasionally Jimmy would stand at the table while allowing customers to read his menu sign and might recite a jingle or do a shortened version of the “Hambone.” This was a syncopated hand slap associated with a rhyming tune about a character named Hambone. I had known how to do the “Hambone” since junior high days in El Dorado when Buzzy Sutherlin and I had “Hambone” contests. Cathy had never seen such a thing and was intrigued by having seen me do it once or twice in private. One one occasion at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin I told Jimmy “I’ll bet you a dollar I can do the “Hambone” better than you.” We had a brief contest in front of several tables of near-by customers, who all seemed to enjoy it. It embarrassed Cathy just a little, but she didn’t urge me to stop. I didn’t prolong the contest fearing it might jeopardize Jimmy’s job, and I gave him a dollar for his good nature in contesting with me.

Cathy and I will always fondly remember our days of courtship in Atlanta. Despite the stresses of available free time, financial insufficiency and big city living, we had a blast. All of our remembrances of dining at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin are wonderful and I wish we could find restaurant food like that once again! We never considered the atmosphere of the place to be demeaning or insulting to black people, because neither of us was racially prejudiced. The restaurant was closed in the 1980’s for some of those reasons.

Dr. John

PS: I always thought I beat Jimmy in the contest!

 

“I Didn’t Know You Would Be My Neighbor”

In my medical practice life of 45+ years, I have had the privilege of serving with many outstanding doctors. The two most outstanding to me were my Dad, Dr. Berry L. Moore Sr. (Pop) and my brother, Dr. Berry L. Moore Jr. (Bubba). Upon our return to El Dorado, Arkansas in 1971 when I begin my general surgical practice I was introduced to some very colorful men who were practicing medicine there. All were older men with lots of practice experience, and I was excited to have the chance to learn from them as much as possible. Pop had died from heart failure 6 years earlier, but Bubba was near the top in his practice experience and wisdom.

Mom was still living in the family home on North Madison, but the home and gardens were far too large for her to continue living there, and a decision about her future residence would soon have to be made. Living next door on the north side in a home they had custom-built were Dr Frank and Lillian Thibault. They had been good neighbors to Mom and Pop for years and never caused any significant neighborly problems. Their yard and grounds were not neat and well-manicured like Mom and Pop’s, but they didn’t have a boat and trailer or a junk car in their yard and had their yard mowed at least once or twice each summer.  They had not been very social with Mom and Pop and pretty much kept to themselves. I don’t remember ever seeing either one of them at our home nor hearing any account of them having Mom and Pop over for a cup of coffee.

The stories concerning Dr. Thibault were myriad and most were focused either on his personal appearance or his automobile driving exploits. For reasons known only to him he seldom had a clean-shaven face. When seen at his medical office or the hospital he had a 3-4 day growth of facial hair which was never groomed. In addition he wore bedroom slippers the majority of the time. I don’t remember ever seeing him in a pair of shoes. Perhaps he had a medical issue with his feet which made the wearing of regular shoes painful, but I never heard that explanation given. An account was told by Dr. John Henry Pinson, the Union County Coroner how he over-heard a radio transmission from a trooper of the Arkansas State Police on their frequency. The trooper called in to report an individual with no personal ID had been stopped for speeding on the highway near Sheridan, Arkansas. The individual identified himself to the trooper as Frank Thibault, an El Dorado physician, and the trooper wanted to know if anyone could confirm the identity of such a person. Dr. Pinson keyed in on the frequency and identified himself to the trooper, and told him he was a friend of Dr. Thibault. He told the trooper if the individual was “clean-shaven and wearing shoes” he was an imposter!

Another story told me by Dr. Thibault himself involved a later traffic stop by a different Arkansas State Trooper. The doctor had just purchased a new Pontiac and was “breaking it in” by driving to Little Rock to attend an Arkansas Razorback football game. About half-way to his destination he was pulled over for excessive speed and given a ticket by the trooper. Dr. Thibault asked what the fine would be, and the trooper said, “It will cost you $50 which you must pay now.” Dr. Thibault handed the lawman a 100 dollar bill and told him, “I’ll be coming home tonight around 10 PM following the game and this will cover that fine!”

Dr. Thibault had a long career practicing Family Medicine in El Dorado, and I think he had a large number of of loyal patients who depended on him. He never referred any patients to me for a surgical procedure, but we collaborated on a few acute trauma cases assigned to us as on-call doctors. From my observation of these patients he had sound judgement and current medical knowledge. I heard from several people who had been patients of his for years they believed despite his unusual personal traits he was a “brilliant doctor.” I had no reason to doubt their assessment, but he was surely different.

I was in the Emergency Room at Warner Brown Hospital on a cold December afternoon when Dr. Thibault was brought in having sustained a shotgun injury to his right hand. He had been duck hunting that afternoon and was getting out of the boat while pulling his shotgun out of the boat barrel-first. The gun was still loaded with the safety off, and when he pulled on the weapon the trigger struck an object and the shotgun discharged through the middle of his right palm. I assisted Dr. J.C. Calloway, Orthopedic surgeon with an operation to save his hand. The operation was successful, but for the remainder of his life Dr. Thibault had a severely deformed right hand which hampered his doing any more medical procedures. His gun safety judgement was certainly faulty.

I heard Pop once say, “Old Frank is strange, but I think he is a pretty good doctor. He and I get along just fine.” As a teenager I was present in our side-yard one afternoon when Pop made this comment tongue in cheek to Dr. Thibault, “Frank, the Lord says in the Good Book I am to love my neighbor like myself. But he didn’t tell me Frank Thibault would be my neighbor!” Frank just laughed out loud without making any comment. When Cathy and I moved into the family home years later I occasionally reminded Dr. Thibault of Pop’s comment about being his neighbor and told him I concurred with Pop. He always laughed and once said, “Unfortunately we don’t get to pick our neighbors.”

Dr. John

The First Evangelistic Visit

Trailer Park

Christ calls all of His disciples to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth and promises He will go with them. (Matt. 28:18-20). Despite the importance and the provision of His power, this one imperative strikes more fear into the hearts of Christians than any other command. All Christians are aware of their responsibility in this regard, but sadly very few have led a non-believer to a saving knowledge of Christ.

I love hearing wonderful stories of faith in which a person is brought from spiritual darkness into the light of Jesus’ love and is saved. I particularly loved hearing my brother Berry Lee (Bubba) recount stories of his patients praying to receive Christ as their Savior either in Bubba’s medical office or in the hospital while being treated for serious medical issues. I never saw a physician pray with a patient for the first 10 years of my medical practice until I saw Bubba pray with one of his patients. Within a year of that time, I gave my life to Christ and was mentored by Bubba on how to minister Christ to my own patients.

One of my heroes of the faith is Reverend Anton (Buddy) Uth who was the father of Dr. David Uth. Brother David who is now pastor of the First Baptist Church of Orlando, is married to Rachel, Berry Lee and LaNell’s middle daughter. Cathy and I have known and loved Rachel since she was born, and when she began dating and finally married David we have loved him and his family as well. Brother Anton was a Southern Baptist pastor for many years and faithfully served our Lord in numerous churches until his death in 2009 at age 80. His widow Joann lives in Bryant, Arkansas and is still active in her church, Geyer Springs First Baptist.

Brother Anton could tell some of the best and funniest stories of his many years of ministry. I’ll always remember his account of his first evangelistic visit which occurred when he was a student at Ouachita Baptist University.

By Anton’s admission his early life was not spent as a believer pursuing God’s will.  Following his conversion he decided to begin his education toward a ministerial degree by enrolling at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) for his undergraduate degree. He was older by almost 10 years than most students and was eager to learn as much as he could as quickly as possible.

One of his close friends was Bailey Smith who was a senior at OBU although he was 10 years younger than Anton. Bailey was an enthusiastic soul-winner who in his ministry as pastor of the mega-church First Southern Baptist Church of Dell City, OK. was able to lead as many as 2,000 people a year to Christ. Anton said he wanted to learn how to witness his faith to others, and there was no one at Ouachita better equipped to teach him than Bailey. He agreed to take Anton out on an evangelistic visit and demonstrate how easy and wonderful it was to lead someone to a saving faith.

On the designated afternoon Bailey and Anton made their way to a local trailer park which Bailey indicated he had visited on more than one occasion. He told Anton this particular park was very fertile grounds for lost people, and he had led people there to Christ in the recent past. Anton said he was very excited to learn from such a bold and experienced teacher.

They approached a particularly shabby trailer which Bailey said housed a lost man whom he had visited one time in the past. Bailey knocked on the door, and in a few moments according to Anton, it was opened by a large, unkept man with a 2-3 day  growth of beard. He was wearing pants with no shoes and a tight-fitting t-shirt with lots of black chest hair exposed. Bailey said, “Good afternoon Mr. Johnson. I’m Bailey Smith whom you met before, and I want you to meet my friend Buddy Uth. May we come in?” “Sure, come in and have a seat. I need to go back in the bedroom for a minute,” he said. Anton said he and Bailey sat in two chairs in the living area and awaited Mr. Johnson’s return.

In less than a minute Mr. Johnson appeared in the living room with a double-barreled shotgun pointed at the two evangelists and said, “I told you last time you were here I would kill you if you returned!” Anton said he was so stunned at this turn of events he was temporarily frozen in the chair, but the moment Mr. Johnson appeared with the shotgun, Bailey instantly bolted out the door of the trailer without speaking. Within another moment Anton said he followed Bailey through the door and started running as fast as he could, noticing Bailey was at least 10-12 paces ahead running at a faster pace. Mr. Johnson meanwhile was shouting curse words at both men, and Anton said he expected to hear a shotgun blast and feel the pain of the pellets at any moment! When he finally caught up with Bailey who had stopped to catch his breath and were far enough from the trailer to be out of shotgun range, he also stopped. His first words to Bailey were, “I’m sure glad you brought me out to teach me how to be a soul-winner. I can’t imagine what the next lesson will be like!” Anton never gave me a follow-up account, but I suspect they did make other more fruitful visits together without re-visiting Mr. Johnson.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:13-14 when we go to a house to witness and are not received nor heard, just leave and shake the dust off your feet. I suppose the first lesson Anton learned on his first evangelistic visit with Bailey was the technique of dust shaking! 🙂

Dr. John

“May I Give Him a Tetanus Shot?”

Burn of Foot

For all of the years I practiced medicine as a surgeon in El Dorado, Arkansas I had to take ER call at least once every 3 or 4 days. There was an  approximate 10 year period when I first began practice in 1971 there was not a full-time ER physician hired by the 2 local hospitals to cover emergency cases. His responsibilities would include all emergency medical problems and minor surgical procedures such as laceration repair and drainage of uncomplicated abscesses Larger hospitals in the state such as Baptist Medical Center, St. Vincent’s and University Medical Center in Little Rock were some the first hospitals in Arkansas to hire physicians to work in the emergency room and  Emergency Medicine soon became a medical sub-specialty.

The early method for ER coverage was relatively simple. Every physician on the hospital staff was on a rotation schedule and was responsible for treating every emergency room patient who presented to the ER for a 24 hour period. Most of the emergencies could be handled by telephone while other more serious conditions required the doctor going to the ER to examine and treat the patient. Some physicians were more diligent and precise in treating patients and spent more time in face to face encounters. Newer physicians in town were placed on the schedule following the less diligent since the rule was if the on-call physician refused or was unable to treat a patient, the ER nurse had the authority to contact the next physician on the list. It was not an ideal system but most of the time it worked.

An older primary care physician whom I’ll identify as “Dr. C” was always on the schedule immediately ahead of me. He had the propensity for having a few drinks of beverage alcohol following his work schedule each day and occasionally would have a few too many drinks which affected his medical judgement. The ER nurse could immediately discern his sobriety and if necessary would call me to resolve the appropriate treatment for the patient. I didn’t like having to cover an additional night on-call but understood the reasoning.

In the early hours of a Sunday morning I received a phone call from Mrs. Montgomery, the chief ER nurse at Warner Brown Hospital. In her quiet, sweet voice which was immediately recognizable she said, “Dr. Moore I have a 21-year-old Black-American man who is inebriated and got into a fight this evening. He has multiple lacerations which need sutures.” I said, “Mrs. Montgomery, I’m not the one to treat him. Dr. C. is on call.”  She said, “I called him and he told me to just flush him down the commode.” Teasing  her a little I said, “Have you done that?”, to which she responded, “Dr. Moore, he’s too  big!” I knew the problem with Dr. C that evening so I told her I would come to the ER  and treat the individual. As I finished the work on the patient I jokingly told Mrs. Montgomery I agreed with her assessment of the patient regarding the commode!

In another encounter years later at Union Medical Center (now The Medical Center of South Arkansas), I was walking through the Emergency Room on the way to see a post-operative patient on the 3rd floor when I was stopped by one of the ER nurses. She said, “I know you are not on call, but I have a young man in Room 1 who has a 2nd degree grease burn of his right foot. He works for Church’s Chicken and some grease was accidentally spilled on his foot. May I give him a tetanus shot?” I walked into Room 1 to briefly inspect the wound which was not infected, and I ordered her to give the tetanus booster. She said, “Where do you want me to give it?”, knowing she was asking should she give it in the arm or in the buttocks. Without thinking I quickly said, “Just give it to him in that foot.” Immediately the young man jumped off the gurney and bolted through the door and out of the ER into the parking lot. He ran into an adjacent neighborhood with no bandage nor a shoe on his burned right foot. It all happened so suddenly, and I was laughing so hard it took a few minutes for us to alert a security guard to run after the fleeing patient! When he was finally brought back to the ER the runaway said, “I wasn’t going to let that nurse give me a shot in my sore foot.” We reassured him he would not be given a tetanus shot in his foot, and he was given the appropriate treatment for his injury.

The uncertainty of the injuries and the identity of the injured patients caused me some anxiety during all those years of taking emergency calls. When I was called to treat someone with a life-threatening injury I was always concerned it might be a family member or someone whom I knew well. As I grew older and had experienced some very emotionally draining emergency room encounters, I welcomed the day when I was no longer required to take ER call. To this day when I hear the sound of an ambulance or see the flashing lights, it causes me to cringe a bit thinking the next ring of the telephone might be a call for me to come to the ER.

Dr. John