I only remember two of Jenny Lind’s company doctors when the coal mines were operating. Dr. Hornsby, I remember, was known for his famous saying that was never forgotten…especially by my oldest brother, Price, who could imitate him to a “T.” Price would lower his voice and do his rendition of Dr. Hornsby saying: “For big old boys, I give big black pills, but for the little girls, I give little pink pills.”
No one seems to know where Dr. Hornsby hailed from, and he didn’t stay long. He certainly never earned our trust as Dr. Scott. Dr. Scott was liked by everyone. He was like family. Now that I think back, I honestly believe Mama thought she was just as smart as Dr. Scott when it came to doctoring.
Some of Dr. Scott’s “patients” didn’t go to the company doctor’s office to be treated. They went to visit. Daddy enjoyed visiting with Dr. Scott.
Our metal coal oil can had sprung a leak, and one day while Daddy was visiting with Dr. Scott, he spotted a near-empty amber colored medicine jug and asked Dr. Scott to save it for him.
“We need it for coal oil jug,” Daddy told him.
Dr. Scott gave it to Daddy after emptying it, and Daddy tied a rope through the handle making it easy to carry, and a cork in the top to keep the coal oil from splashing out when we made a trip to Alvo’s Store or to the Company Store to get it refilled.
I don’t know how the glass jug survived all those years, but I do know Mama Could think of more things to do with the coal oil. The main use was for light before we installed electricity, and using it to start fires, but for medicinal purposes, Mama’s favorite was her homemade cough syrup given to one of us every time we coughed or sneezed. It was a simple mixture of one teaspoon sugar with 2 or 3 drops of coal oil.
As kids, we must have reeked of the smell of coal oil. Mama dabbed it on cuts and bruises, sprained ankles, ring worms, wasp and bee stings, stone bruises, and after removing splinters and thorns from our bare feet.
I guess Mama was pretty smart when it came to doctoring because all those years that Dr. Scott was Jenny Lind’s company doctor, I don’t remember making very many visits to his office, and just the other day I spotted a brown jug, just like ours in an antique shop. It brought back memories. I carefully check the price tag. “Wow!” I thought to myself…$24 for a coal jug?” I carefully set it back down.