Tuesday, September 15, 2009

House Calls

Friends, Romans, countrymen. Lend me your ears. Once upon a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and Chesapeake Bay Woman was a child, doctors made house calls. When she doesn't have two articles due for her second job and one hundred miles a day to drive for her primary job, never mind children to usher and house work to ignore, she will be sure to write about her house-calling doctor. Until then, Chesapeake Bay Mother has this to say about one Dr. Tabb from Gloucester.


"Dr. Harry Tabb was the only doctor in our area when I was a child. He made house calls and was the last person this child wanted to see approaching her bed. He came armed with lollipops and his kid act. I saw straight through the deception and proceeded to howl, a thing which set his teeth on edge. You could almost hear him enumerating the better ways he could make a living.

Descended from long-ago landed gentry in our small community of waterfront farms, he was tall, gray-haired, condescending and wore a fake smile which he thought worked especially well on dull-witted children. I showed him who wasn't so dumb. In spite of my efforts to intimidate him, I usually wound up getting a shot anyway and Dr. Tabb would have a sigh, shake his head in disgust, and bid my mother goodbye, leaving final instructions. On he would go to visit other sick people.

Interestingly, Dr. Tabb had a middle nickname which my Uncle Douglas gave him: Harry "Beacon" Tabb. It seems that all doctors share a weakness for fishing. I have known at least two others who were constantly obsessing over wetting a line in the river, and Dr. Tabb had it bad. On one outing, he and his companions were found tied up to a channel marker in the river, in the highest of bottled spirits and out of gas. The "party" was towed to shore, earning their host the derogatory middle name. My facts are now unverifiable but I believe this to be a faithful account.

I was getting ready for church one Sunday when Mother told me Dr. Tabb had died suddenly of a heart attack the night before as he sat down to dinner. At church I wept telling another of the event and she also burst into tears. He helped so many people in his time.

Though he inspired involuntary dread in me, he maintained a perfect record when it came to making me cry."

Chesapeake Bay Woman's Final Remarks In Spite of Her Opening Statement Which Says She's Too Busy to Write on Her Own Blog:

The house-calling doctor I will write about (whenever I have a minute) also relied quite heavily on the use of shots to the posterior region. Although I despised the shots, I will say we were rarely sick for more than a day, plus our mother was handed a pill or three to tolerate the arduous job of being the parent of sick children. No prescription required. It was a win-win for everyone.

Those were the days.


Ann Marie said...

I make house calls...

Caution Flag said...

A pill or three for the mothers? I would have loved that man.

Mental P Mama said...

Those were the days. House calling doctors and happy mommies;)

Daryl said...

I loved our family GP .. he almost never gave me shots AND he didnt use a tongue depressor once he learned it made me heave .. just sayin'

Your mother needs her own blog ...

Autumnforest said...

I just have to comment on the photo--that is so sentimental to me. When we had our summer home in Newpoint along Doctor's Creek, there was a peninsula there and the grasses grew just like that. When the wind blew, they moved like a dog's fur. I used to call it "Doggy Peninsula." I thought it was the prettiest thing in the world. Whenever I think of grass, I think of this swamp-like grass. Thanks for making me smile.

Anonymous said...

Mathews had one particular house-calling doctor beyond compare. His kindness and wisdom were legendary.

We love our Pediatrician, and we are in the market for a GP, but I fear no-one will ever live up to our old country doctor.

Anonymous Mathews Native

Audrey at Barking Mad! said...


Those were the days.

nativedevil said...

Dr. Ransone, Dr. Bowles, Dr. Hudgins. They would come by the house before or after office hours. $5 for the visit, $8 if you got a shot. Those days are gone.
I also knew an old country doc who finally had to post a sign that he no longer could accept eggs, chickens or fish for payment.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

No one has ever offered me a little mama pill. Lord knows I could have used one from time to time. Still could.

My grandma was our RN at our doctor's office and she gave the stealthiest shots... she would say, "I'm going to count to three. One... two..." then she'd stick you and by the time she said three, the shot was over and the lollipop was inserted in your mouth.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Indeed we had some wonderful, wonderful doctors here in Mathews. The particular one I was referencing was Dr. Kearney down Hallieford. My grandmother was friends with his wife, the two families hung out a lot, and I suspect he provided some free doctorly services on the side, up to and including the medication for the mother.

Native Devil - My father used to take fish as payment sometimes for the VW work he did. He was a firm believer in the barter system, still is.

It's late, I'm tired, the day was long, it's not over yet, I need vacation, and there's no end in sight.

Is it really only Tuesday?