Once upon a time you didn’t have to get dressed up and go to the doctor. Once upon a time the doctor came to you. This was especially true when the patient was elderly, as was the case with my great-grandmother, Lizzie Hollaway Stratton.
My grandmother called her Mommie, so we—the siblings—called her Mommie, too. Other relatives called her Aunt Lizzie and acquaintances called her Miss Lizzie, including the doctor who came to see her.
Her place in the house was in the living room, where she sat in an old platform rocker right next to a floor radio and listened to whichever preacher was on whenever she had time from her gardening chores to take a few minutes break. She heard them all—the dulcet-toned charmer who tried to talk her out of her meager income or the hell, fire, and brimstone screecher trying to scare everyone into Heaven. She read the Bible through from cover to cover every year, so she didn’t pay a lot of attention to the last fellow. She no doubt knew more than he did, anyway.
We lived a long way out in the country, so the doctor’s trip was not just a jaunt across the bridge. When he finished his examination, my grandmother invited him into the kitchen for pie and coffee. He accepted and they sat at the breakfasts nook discussing Mommie’s condition, among other things. She ambled in from the living and told him since he accepted pie and coffee it was now a social call, not a doctor’s visit, and he should give her the money back.
He had a lot of patients, but I’ll bet he never forgot Miss Lizzie.