Doctor in Town
people of Meadowville were worried. Old Dr. Porter had just
been rushed to a distant hospital. He had suffered a heart
attack. Now the people of the town and the farms around it
had no doctor.
For years Dr. Porter had been trying to get a partner to help
him in his practice. But none of the young doctors wanted
to come out to this out-of-the way town.
town council did all they could to find a new doctor for Meadowville.
They put ads in the medical magazines and wrote to medical
schools. But for weeks there was no answer.
one Monday a man came to town. "I'm Dr. Marvell," he announced.
"I hear you need a doctor. I can give you two days a week
-- I've been covering several towns with the same problem."
people of Meadowville were delighted. That very afternoon
Dr. Marvell treated patients in Dr. Porter's office. Word
got around town quickly, and soon the waiting room was filled.
Mullins, who had had back trouble for years, hobbled into
the office. Dr. Marvell had her lie down on the examining
table. He took a tube of ointment out of his bag and rubbed
some of it into her back. Mrs. Mullins thought she heard him
mumbling something while he rubbed, but she couldn't make
out any of the words. When she sat up, she was amazed. Her
back pain was gone. In fact, she felt better than she had
next patient was an emergency case. Pete Rand, the carpenter,
had been working on a new house and cut his hand. "I guess
this'll take about ten stitches," he said.
is a pretty bad cut," said Dr. Marvell, "but I never use stitches.
I have something that works much better." He took a tube of
ointment out of his bag and rubbed some over the cut.
did you say, Doctor?" asked Pete.
nothing," said Dr. Marvell. "How does your hand feel now?"
looked down at his hand and gaped. The cut seemed to be healing,
right before his eyes.
next patient, Milly Benson, had a terrible cold. Her eyes
were running, and she kept sneezing.
Marvell took a bottle of large green pills out of his bag.
He handed one to Milly with a glass of water. "Just take this
pill," he said, "and you'll feel a lot better."
sure enough, she did. Within minutes after Milly took the
pill, her cold was completely gone!
after patient went into the office, came out smiling, and
rushed home to tell friends and relatives about the wonderful
new doctor. Everyone in Meadowville and the surrounding area
who had an ache or a pain, a sprain or a sniffle, rushed down
to the doctor's office to see Dr. Marvell before he left.
It was after midnight when he finally closed the office.
next morning, Dr. Marvell was gone. In the supermarket, in
the barbershop, in the hardware store, people talked about
him. Who was he? Where had he come from? How did he work those
amazing cures? There was certainly something strange about
him -- why did he wear that funny hat in the office? Would
he really come back on Thursday?
Marvell had left the people of Meadowville in perfect health.
But during the next two days, as always happens, people fell
off ladders or cut themselves or came down with colds. By
Thursday, when the new doctor returned, there were plenty
of patients for him to treat. Again, he had just the right
ointment or pill to make each one feel fine again.
people of Meadowville soon got used to seeing Dr. Marvell
on Monday or Thursday with whatever ailment was bothering
them. Dr. Porter, recovering slowly from his heart attack
at the Regional Hospital, was glad to hear that his town was
in good hands.
then, one Tuesday, Robby Bender at Bentgage Farm complained
of a pain in his throat. It hurt so much when he tried to
swallow that he couldn't drink any water.
parents drove him to the hospital. "Was he bitten by any animal
recently?" the doctor asked. At first Robby's parents said
no. But then Robby admitted that one day, about a month before,
he had gone for a walk in the woods when he was supposed to
be doing his chores. "There was a raccoon. It was so tame,
it walked right up to me. But when I tried to pet it, it bit
doctor was solemn. "I'm afraid your son has rabies. And it's
too late to give him the vaccine. We'll do all we can, but
I don't know if we can save him."
night, and all the next day, the doctors at the hospital struggled
to help Robby, but he kept getting worse. First thing Thursday
morning, the boy's parents were waiting at the office for
Dr. Marvell. As soon as he appeared, they rushed him down
to the hospital. No one was quite sure afterward just what
Dr. Marvell did, but within half an hour, Robby was sitting
up in bed eating two portions of lunch.
Dr. Marvell left Robby's room, he stopped by to see Dr. Porter.
The old doctor was lying in his bed, looking pale and ill.
"I'm glad to hear you're taking care of my patients," he said.
"I had been thinking of retiring for some time, and now I
don't think I'll ever get my strength back again."
I wouldn't say that," said Dr. Marvell, giving Dr. Porter
a friendly pat on the shoulder. Did he say something else?
Dr. Porter wasn't sure. But somehow he suddenly felt stronger.
The pain was gone, and he was full of energy.
next Monday, Dr. Marvell did not appear in Meadowville. But
Dr. Porter was back to open the office. The people of the
town never did hear from Dr. Marvell again, and sometimes
they missed him. But they had their good Dr. Porter. He might
look like an old man on the outside. But inside, his heart
was young and strong. And the way he felt, he'd be around
for another fifty years at least!
2013 The Silversteins