Sunday, June 05, 2016

Wonder Doctors


TwinsetJan, of the Twinset Podcast, described an encounter with Saber, her protective llama during episode 77.  Jan mentioned how he butted her as she tended to one of his sheep and managed to leave some bruises along with realigning a troublesome spot in her back.  I hope she’s well. Her excellent story telling reminded me of

THE WONDER DOCTOR OF MINNESOTA  
Something similar to this was in my parents' bedroom as I grew up.  I could be wrong but I remember the story as Grandpa helped Grant Wood many, many years ago. Wood drew Grandpa's hands and gave it to him as payment or in gratitude.  It was sold when I was in my 20s. I remember something a bit more simple than this so I'm thinking Wood took the sketches and did more with them when drawing this one.
Sounds like something out of a movie about the old west, right? Kinda.  Turns out my grandfather was the illustrious Wonder Doctor.  I’ve heard so many incredible stories about him.  See, in my family, we tend to live long, productive lives and have children later than some.  Doc, my grandpa, was born in 1881 to a Union soldier who migrated here from Germany so he could get the land grant available to Union soldiers once the war ended.  His is an entirely different story and maybe I’ll get to it some time.  Doc grew up on that farm in Blue Earth County Minnesota.  It wasn’t easy, everyone worked.  One day, he saw the finest horse drawn carriage pulled by the most beautiful horses he had ever seen as he worked in the field.  I can almost hear and see him saying “I’m going to have THAT” as he gestured toward the sight.  As I understand, my great grandmother was fairly outstanding herself in that she worked hard, was devoted to and loved her family.  When grandpa asked her about those horses, she not only told him it was the county doctor but stopped what she was doing to walk with him into town so he could meet the doctor.  That set him on his course.  He wanted to be able to have horses as fine as those and the doctor saw an intelligent driven young man in him so encouraged him to pursue medicine. 

Financing the education required to become an MD was an obstacle.  He set his sights on Creighton Medical School for his MD then wound up continuing on to Harvard for a surgical license.  Armed with his wits, creativity, and raw determination, he managed to drum up funds through a number of sometimes difficult, sometimes amazing, and sometimes just plain hysterically funny experiences.  One of these was (and here I come back to my original thought. I’m like that; I’ll wander around a bit but eventually I get back to my point)

THE WONDER DOCTOR OF WISCONSIN 

Doc bumped into someone who complained about his back.  He knew just how to stretch and glide his hand down a spine so he straightened the aggravated spot and soothed the man’s pain.  I think it’s probably because growing up on a farm is a lot of heavy duty bending, lifting, and maneuvering which probably caused very similar back issues.  Turned out, that man told some folks who came to see grandpa for adjustments, then those folks told some folks…you get the idea.  Many paid for his services.  Enough paid to get him the funds he needed to pay for school, at least for a time.  There are other stories about the lengths he went to in order to pursue his aspirations.  Things were different in the late 1800s.

So, I think it’s safe to say Saber is

THE WONDER DOCTOR OF FAIR WINDS FARM  

1 comment:

twinsetjan said...

A charming story to be sure! We may have to give Saber that nickname even if he did violate the hypocratic oath since he did cause some ham at the same time, though it was admittedly mostly to my ego!