Uncle Calvin and the Chiropractor

My father’s brother, Calvin, enjoyed coon hunting with his friend “Doc” a local chiropractor. We could often hear them across the river valley, Doc’s favorite blue tick hound’s voice ringing out like a bell across the water for hours during a summer night. I had met the blue tick hound, and she was a beautiful dog with her speckled blue coat and long black ears and big black nose.

One summer morning when I was ten or so, my Dad and I drove over to Calvin’s farm to see about borrowing a piece of farm equipment. It was a lovely warm day when we arrived in front of the big white house with the horse chestnut tree in the front yard. As we walked in the front door, the first thing we saw was Uncle Cal sitting on the floor with his back against the wall of the hall. Uncle Cal and my dad both had black hair, dark brown eyes and a dark complexion, but Uncle Cal wasn’t his usual heavily tanned self. He was green, and looked very ill. Aunt Pearl came from the kitchen and started telling Dad how worried she was. Cal explained that he would be all right, because although he had started feeling bad while coon hunting with Doc the night before, Doc had checked him out and assured him that he just needed an adjustment and he would be fine. Doc performed the adjustment which consisted of a massage of the bones he felt were out of alignment, and happily went home in the middle of the night, leaving Calvin expecting to feel better at any moment.

 By the time Dad and I arrived the next morning, it was about ten o’clock, and Calvin wasn’t able to stand up, and he was doing a poor job of trying to convince everyone he was just fine and didn’t need to go see a doctor. Dad asked him where he hurt, looked at Aunt Pearl and asked if I could stay with her, and then picked up Cal and carried him out to our car and then drove him twenty miles to the nearest hospital as fast as our car could go.

 When they arrived at the emergency entrance, Dad got help to get Calvin inside, and as soon as a doctor looked at Calvin and checked his abdomen, they got him into surgery immediately. When the surgeon came out after completing the appendectomy, he told my dad that if he had been five minutes later getting Cal to the hospital, the appendix would have burst, and after that, there would have been a very good chance that Cal would have died.

Dad called Aunt Pearl and explained that Cal had made it through surgery and would be fine. He didn’t explain the rest of the story until Calvin was safe home from the hospital. The thing I remember most about this day was the sight of Dad carrying Cal to our car, which was about forty feet from the house. My Dad was about six foot tall and in good condition for his age, but not a weight lifter by any means. Calvin was a bit shorter and always a bit heavier, although never fat; chunky would be an accurate description. Yesterday I was just reading a novel that had a body builder who said if a man couldn’t press his own weight, he was a girl. Well, Dad wasn’t lifting bar bells, but he certainly carried more than his own weight a good forty or fifty feet from the house to the car. The other thing that was engraved on my memory was the idea that chiropractors are not doctors. I don’t think Cal ever went coon hunting after that


3 Responses

  1. I enjoyed how you built up the tension in this piece, and the name “Uncle Calvin” is brilliant.

    One pointer: I thought on occasion you overdescribed some things. E.g. do we need to know Uncle Cal’s usual complexion? It’s enough to know that he’s green, because that’s unusual for anyone.

  2. Nice slice-of-life piece, well described. I’d like to know a little bit about Uncle Calvin and why he trusted chiropractors over doctors, if that’s true. Really good last line.

  3. Amusing but also slightly tense story. The image of an adult man carrying his adult brother is very funny. 🙂 Nice work!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: