Memory of the Day. Sometimes these memories just invade my mind and I seem to have no choice but to write.
House calls used to be more common than today, though virtual house calls seem to be the coming thing. My dad was a chiropractor in a small agricultural community in North Louisiana for nearly 50 years. About half of those years chiropractors were not licensed in Louisiana. Dad had a Texas license and when Louisiana began licensing chiropractors in 1974 he got his Louisiana license. Anyway, this is about house calls and in particular one house call that I remember.
Dad would occasionally go out on house calls when a patient was unable to make the trip into town. He often took me on those trips to help carry equipment. I would get to carry the portable, fold up adjusting table and he would bring the other tools of the trade such as a blood pressure machine, reflex hammer, and other paraphernalia.
Dad had a patient in Lake Providence, about 15 miles from our home in Oak Grove, who would come in occasionally. Mr. Whatley was a farmer in East Carroll Parish. I didn’t know his son, Smokey, at the time, but we would later become fast friends in college. We were roommates for one semester and suite mates for a couple of years. Smokey would one day be a groomsman in my wedding. Our relationship was tricky and may be deserving of a story on its own, but lets get back to his dad.
Mr. Whatley, asked dad if he would make a house call to a remote location in East Carroll Parish. He offered to lead us out there. Dad agreed and we loaded up the car. We drove to Lake Providence and met with Mr. Whatley who led us on a fairly long drive through fields and into the woods. When we got out there, we found a cabin in the woods and a pretty shriveled old man with shaggy gray hair and a long gray beard living alone out there. I believe his cabin was on land that Mr. Whatley farmed and may have owned, but I am not sure. We carried the equipment into the cabin and got set up. I looked around the dimly lit room. The old man was sitting on a cot near the middle of the room and surrounding him along all the walls in the room were shelves filled with books. The old man told dad that he had been a chiropractor and had studied under the son of the founder of the Chiropractic discipline, Dr. B.J. Palmer. I never saw any evidence to confirm that, but took him at his word. Dad checked his blood pressure and performed an exam. Then with my help we got him onto the adjusting table. Dad gave him an adjustment and we finished up. I loaded the car while Dad talked to the old man. When we left, Dad managed to back into a ditch and Mr. Whatley had to help us get out.
We left and went on back home. I never heard again about the old man again, but often wondered what had become of him. Maybe my friend Smokey remembers this old timer and what became of him. I’ll have to ask him the next time I see him.