My Dad the Witch Doctor
Side view of the old 1st Methodist Annex/Barnes Building, where the accident happened.
My father was something of a doctor. He seemed to have known all the old fashion cures and remedies. He applied his knowledge frequently. Once when I was 4 or 5 years old my legs were covered with pus filled bumps, or risons. My father went to his parents’ house, they had a big black walnut tree in the back, he got a good load of black walnut pod-shells which had a black gooey substance. He rubbed my legs with that, and whamo! All cured.
Near our home, in about 1945 or 46, the First Methodist Church of Marietta Annex* was being built. When the workers went home and on weekends the partial complete building was an excellent dangerous play ground. It had endless corridors and rooms to play in. My memory might be playing tricks on me, but I think I remember one boy, named Mike, a couple of years older than me, fell through an opening on the second floor and landed on the first level on a nail. He didn’t break any bones but the nail went through his foot. He was afraid to tell his parents because they forbidden him to play in the building. He went to my father for medical attention. Daddy cleaned the wound not with alcohol but with kerosene. He is still alive, as far as I know, and his foot healed fine.
Many times I saw Daddy at the stove sticking a needle into the blue flame. He was sterilizing his instrument to operate. He was good at pricking wounds full of pus and extracting little objects off the inside of eye-lids.
He could even stop my hiccups. He would sat me down, look me in the eye and tell me he wanted to hear my hiccups for to hiccup for him. I couldn’t. I was cured.
I saw him do other tricks to cure, but forgot in time what. As children we just didn’t go to the doctor unless we had a broken arm or a deep gash in our flesh – which both happened.
I wondered if he ever thought of the fact that he was a law enforcer and he was breaking the law practicing medicine without a license. Heck, he wasn’t dealing with any kind of medicine; he was just practicing, successfully, home remedies.
I saw him apply do other tricks to cure, but forgot in time what. As children we just didn’t go to the doctor unless we had a broken arm or a deep gash in our flesh – which both happened.
*Later the First Methodist would move across the Square and their beautiful church was torn down and became a parking lot. Office Sales and Service took over the Annex and used it for years and years. Office Sales and Service eventually went out of business and in time after Roy Barnes left the Governor’s office bought the building and transformed it in his law corporation office building with a gaudy front.
Labels: Immediate Family