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James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Doc Sifers


Of all the doctors I could cite you to in this-'ere town
Doc Sifers is my favorite, jes' take him up and down!
Count in the Bethel Neighberhood, and Rollins, and Big Bear,
And Sifers' standin's jes' as good as ary doctor's there!

There's old Doc Wick, and Glenn, and Hall, and Wurgler, and McVeigh,
But I'll buck Sifers 'ginst 'em all and down 'em any day!
Most old Wick ever knowed, I s'pose, was _whisky!_ Wurgler--well,
He et morphine--ef actions shows, and facts' reliable!

But Sifers--though he ain't no sot, he's got his faults; and yit
When you _git_ Sifers one't, you've got _a doctor_, don't fergit!
He ain't much at his office, er his house, er anywhere
You'd natchurly think certain far to ketch the feller there.--

But don't blame Doc: he's got all sorts o' cur'ous notions--as
The feller says; his odd-come-shorts, like smart men mostly has.
He'll more'n like be potter'n 'round the Blacksmith Shop; er in
Some back lot, spadin' up the ground, er gradin' it agin.

Er at the workbench, planin' things; er buildin' little traps
To ketch birds; galvenizin' rings; er graftin' plums, perhaps.
Make anything! good as the best!--a gunstock--er a flute;
He whittled out a set o' chesstmen one't o' laurel root,

Durin' the Army--got his trade o' surgeon there--I own
To-day a finger-ring Doc made out of a Sesesh bone!
An' glued a fiddle one't far me--jes' all so busted you
'D a throwed the thing away, but he fixed her as good as new!

And take Doc, now, in _ager_, say, er _biles_, er _rheumatiz_,
And all afflictions thataway, and he's the best they is!
Er janders--milksick--I don't keer--k-yore anything he tries--
A abscess; getherin' in yer yeer; er granilated eyes!

There was the Widder Daubenspeck they all give up far dead;
A blame cowbuncle on her neck, and clean out of her head!
First had this doctor, what's-his-name, from 'Puddlesburg,' and then
This little red-head, 'Burnin' Shame' they call him--Dr. Glenn.

And they 'consulted' on the case, and claimed she'd haf to die,--
I jes' was joggin' by the place, and heerd her dorter cry,
And stops and calls her to the fence; and I-says-I, 'Let me
Send Sifers--bet you fifteen cents he'll k-yore her!' 'Well,' says
she,

'Light out!' she says: And, lipp-tee-cut! I loped in town, and rid
'Bout two hours more to find him, but I kussed him when I did!
He was down at the Gunsmith Shop a-stuffin' birds! Says he,
'My sulky's broke.' Says I, 'You hop right on and ride with me!'

I got him there.--'Well, Aunty, ten days k-yores you,' Sifers said,
'But what's yer idy livin' when yer jes' as good as dead?'
And there's Dave Banks--jes' back from war without a scratch--one
day
Got ketched up in a sickle-bar, a reaper runaway.--

His shoulders, arms, and hands and legs jes' sawed in strips! And
Jake
Dunn starts far Sifers--feller begs to shoot him far God-sake.
Doc, 'course, was gone, but he had penned the notice, 'At Big Bear--
Be back to-morry; Gone to 'tend the Bee Convention there.'

But Jake, he tracked him--rid and rode the whole endurin' night!
And 'bout the time the roosters crowed they both hove into sight.
Doc had to ampitate, but 'greed to save Dave's arms, and swore
He could a-saved his legs ef he'd ben there the day before.

Like when his wife's own mother died 'fore Sifers could be found,
And all the neighbors far and wide a' all jes' chasin' round;
Tel finally--I had to laugh--it's jes' like Doc, you know,--
Was learnin' far to telegraph, down at the old deepo.

But all they're faultin' Sifers far, there's none of 'em kin say
He's biggoty, er keerless, er not posted anyway;
He ain't built on the common plan of doctors now-a-days,
He's jes' a great, big, brainy man--that's where the trouble lays!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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