Monday, March 25, 2019

What's up, Doc?


                My Father-in-law used to tell me that a person needs to be on a first name basis with their preacher, their doctor, and their banker. I didn’t always agree with everything my Father-in-law told me, but I considered this bit of advice to be right on point.

            I’ve always been on a first name basis with the preacher. Even when I was a kid and you called almost everybody else who wore a tie Mr. (insert last name here), the preacher was always Reverend Gerald, or Reverend Ben, or Reverend Paul. I think in some religions you’re supposed to refer to the preacher as Father instead of Reverend, but even if you make it up to Pope, your parishioners still call you by your first name.

             When I was a kid my brothers and sisters and I did most of our doctoring at the Henry County Clinic in New Castle. Dr. Bledsoe, Dr. McKee, or Dr. Strickler gave us our shots and stitches as needed, but we never knew what their first name was. When we got a little older we could get by with calling them simply “Doc”, and even if that wasn’t a real first name, it made you feel like you knew the person, who would be sticking you with the needle or sewing up your leg, a little better.

            After I got my hand sewed up for the last time and had my tonsils removed, I didn’t do much doctoring for a while. We had a doctor that delivered our kids and gave them their shots and stitches as needed, and even though I knew his first name, I still called him “Doc” most of the time. Habit, I guess. But a couple of years ago I had a stroke and I had a whole bunch of doctors taking care of me, most of whom I’d never met before. I didn’t know all of their names, and some of them had names I couldn’t pronounce anyway. When I got to the point I could talk again, I was awfully happy that they all seemed to answer to “Doc”.

            The first time I did any banking it was with John and Joyce up at the Farmers State Bank in Mooreland. I already knew John’s name because he just lived across the field behind us and went to our church, and I already knew Joyce because she lived around the corner from us and John with her sisters and they used to come over and sit with us kids when Mom and Dad went square dancing, before we were old enough to call them John and Joyce.

            When I left home and moved to Hagerstown, Annabelle was the manager at Second National Bank. I don’t know how many years she was there, but I was just starting in business in 1974 and I was real happy that I knew her name on more than one occasion, and even happier that she knew mine.

            Somewhere along the line, someone started buying and selling banks pretty often, and they knocked down old ones and put up new ones before I had a chance to remember the name of the last one.  I still have checks with the bank name from two bank names ago. I’m keeping them just in case they buy it back.

            I don’t know what the name of the bank is now. It’s First something, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to remember it. They’ll probably change it pretty soon anyway. And besides, I found out today that the bank card they’re sending me won’t have the same name as the bank on it.

            At least that’s what Becky down at the bank told me.


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