Glen Eades' column in the Magnolia Banner News:

October 5, 1990

Earlie Pearl Gets
Stiffed by a Patient

   Earlie Pearl, our local medical practitioner and Bubba Earl’s mother, was in town this week healing the sick.  Our neighbor’s mortal illness allowed Doctor Earlie an opportunity to visit us while she waited around to eat supper and administer a dose of salts to work the bile out of her patient, because the astrological signs would be right after 8 p.m.  Earlie Pearl said she was certain our neighbor would come down with a case of yellow janders if she didn’t stay around and give that salts treatment.  Anyway, the next day, our neighbor chopped wood, gathered eggs, and skinned a nice fat possum my cousin Billy Joe caught.

   We are fortunate to have Earlie Pearl practicing at Walkerville, Emerson and Brister.  She is affordable and her level of expertise is beyond those Little Rock doctors who have receptionists use a .45 to collect their fee.  With gratitude, we wish to credit Mrs. Boyd Green of Walkerville for recommending her cousin and personal physician.

   Earlie Pearl spoke of several new cases of firetods around the community and denounced Thomas Talley and doctors around here who are plum ignorant about that illness which causes kidney failure, fever, yellow janders, strokes, heart attacks, gall stones, diabetes, gout and 75 categories of sickness described by Medicare DRGs.  My cousin Billy Joe asked Earlie Pearl if any deadbeats had tried to get out of paying her $2 fee.  She said, “One time.”  Then she commenced telling us about a man who lived near Walkerville 35 years ago named Zeke Greene.  He lived miles out in the country on a muddy road.

   “It was 1951; a bad year.  Awfullest case of firetods complicated with lumbago and visceritis you ever saw,” she said.  “The man was clearly on his death bed when I got there.  I rushed in and made up a brand new potion I just learned about at a medical meeting at Three Creeks.  The name of the meeting was: Complicated Diagnosis and Treatment,” she said.  She went on to tell that Mr. Greene was a case exactly like she had seen at Three Creeks Medical School.  She had never used Jalapeno pepper in a prescription before, but she measured a dose of red and green pepper, coal oil, mullein, secret spices and turpentine and applied the poultice to the affected area.  She told, “Well, we have the oldtimer roped to four bed posts according to accepted medical practice, but when he commenced to scratching, bellerin’ and hollerin’, it sounded like someone learning to play a fiddle while a panther and a bull fought in a briar patch nearby.  Awfullest racket I ever heard.”

   “Against my better judgment, his wife cut him loose, and I saw what appeared to be world class speed while I walked to where my horse was tied.  With his hat in hand, the old man was diggin’ ‘em up in the direction of the horse trough – faster than a mule who had just eaten a whole sack of sweet feed.  And all he was wearin’ was his upper denture and a rubber boot on one foot.  I looked back and saw him in that horse trough up to his Bill Bailey straw hat, and the water was gyrating and foaming like he was gonna put out a washin’.  I could hear him more than a mile as I rode home.  Awfullest racket I ever heard.  He never spoke to me after that – after me saving his life.  Lived 10 more years, ‘til he was 98.”  After a long pause, she stated, “Medicine has come a long way since them days.”  I don’t use peppers anymore.  And with modern drugs like Tichenors and Gas-X, I’m gonna have to attend a heap of meetings to keep up.”

   Billy Joe cheered her up when he told her, “Some people wouldn’t be satisfied if you hung ‘em with a new rope.”  And Bubba Earl and I reassured her she was better than any of those store-boughten doctors and pharmacists in white long tail coats.

   We were talking to Miss Effie Dodson this week about medicine and she gave me family recipes for several lifesaving medical procedures and one for mullein cough syrup.  The medicine is made by boiling mullein leaves and straining the water off.  Then liquified corn is mixed according to taste.  Well, we know for a fact – it works.  So we are talking about a new industry in Brister.  Right now, we are lobbying Joe Mullins to build an industrial site here for research and marketing the new product.  But Dorwin Young informed us that we may run short of one of the raw materials, mullein – a plant in the figwort family, unless we learn how to grow it.  Readers who have information on the cough syrup and other useful medical knowledge, please write me at 3730 Hwy. 79 S., Emerson, AR 71740, so I can inform the public.


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