I vaguely remembered Doc Sturtz from my childhood, after all he was my pediatrician. Years later I got a chance to get reacquainted with him as I introduced myself to him at a party. Doc came up to me and said who are you? You look familiar! I told him my name, and for one split second his eyes seemed to focus on something beyond me. He immediately snapped back and said, You are Charlie and Sally's boy. He told me a quick story about my mom when she was younger and then he was off talking to someone else. Conversations with Doc started abruptly and ended the same.... with everyone.... no matter who you were or who you thought you were. He was funny like that and I admired his brassiness.
That was our first meeting and over the years we had many more. Time would slip by and I would not see Doc for a couple of months or maybe a year. When I would run into him after a lengthy absence he would say "As I Live and Breath.... if it isn't Jimmy Cummings". A big smile would spread across his face, a pipe would appear out of nowhere, then the sound of a match being struck.... puff puff puff. He would start a conversation with Say Jimmy.... I remember when your Uncle Walt... or your Aunt Mary did this or that. I learned more from Doc about my mom, dad, and relatives than I did from them or anyone else. This story telling went on over the years and I am thankful for all of the family "biographies".
Doc was a hero! During the war and throughout his many years of being a Doctor. Doc had retired from pediatrics and was practicing family health care. I called him in a panic early one Saturday morning. My wife and I had spent a sleepless night worrying over an observation that our infant son's pediatrician had made. A spike in the measurement curve of the growth of our babies head. This is one of those many parental nightmares. I explained this to Doc, and he said meet me in my office in 15 minutes! Doc took the time to explain how the developmental measurements of a babies head are taken. He showed us that if the tape measure is not placed in the same spot each time, it could look like an abnormal growth spike. He calmed our fears but strongly advised us to follow through with the MRI that our babies pediatrician had recommended. Whew.... big sigh of relief. His last words of solace to us..... Your Doctor's mother only carried him for 9 months but I carried him for 9 long years..... out came the pipe, then the sound of the match being struck..... puff puff puff..... If Doc liked you, then you loved him......
I am going to miss you Dr. George Sturtz