Sunday, April 25, 2010
Medicine and Moonshine
Patients used to bring my husband pound cakes as tokens of appreciation. Lately, they have been bringing him moonshine.
There isn’t much that surprises my spouse when behind closed doors of the exam room. But, for the first time in his fifteen years of practice, the gift offering of illegal liquor stumped him for a few moments.
“I made it myself,” the proud patient joyfully explained as he handed over the homemade booze in canning jars decorated with dainty fruit. “Go on and taste it, Doc. You’ll love it.”
Not wanting to offend the well-meaning patient, but wanting to avoid ingesting possible impurities even more, my spouse slowly undid the top of the jar to take an appreciative whiff of the man’s bootlegging talents. John inhaled both jars, one labeled “P” for peach-flavored and the other “W” for white lightening.
And after the smell taste was finished, all of the hairs in my husband’s nose dropped to the ground.
John’s grandfather was a country doctor many years ago, during a time when freshly laid eggs could be exchanged for stitching a freshly cut lip. Canned preserves offered on many visits when Georgia peaches were more abundant than the state dollar. Patients never arrived empty-handed, whether it was produce or livestock, payment or gift, acts of goodwill and kindness that kept the small town Doc in business.
The ingenuity of the patient has not wavered, even some thirty years later, as testified by the distilled liquid given in the office. While a little unconventional – and a whole lot illegal - the thoughtful gesture behind the moonshine was appreciated just the same.
And the inside of my husband’s nose looks all the better for it.