Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Kindness of a Small Town Doctor

"As I walked home from the medical clinic I couldn’t help myself. Tears traced down my pallid skin. What is this all about?"           Sarah

I have finally found a doctor. After six years of marginal medical care in this windy prairie town I am laying claim to my own doctor. She is a delightful, full of personality woman who has doctored from South Africa to Australia and I can’t remember where else she said. No kidding she isn’t accepting new patients (sarcasm). She is a breath of fresh air. Her dance card is filled.

I am sure she read my stress. I feared tearing up in her office. I tell everyone that I have no family doctor even though my file is at a clinic and assigned. 

We enjoyed a quiet and personal visit during this first meeting. She shared, I shared. We are both from away. We both know a bigger world than this small town and both learning to navigate our way through the hazards in our new home. 

Finally I am awarded a kindness that somehow you expect but don’t always find in a small prairie town. I’m not a hypochondriac, after all. I'm only in once or twice a year. But dammit, when I see a doctor I want to be shown consideration, respect and be listened to. 

As she talked she couldn’t help but expose her passion for medicine. "Wish I was a dermatologist, I'd  make a killing." Just not her thing to look at skin rashes all day. "We all get along with our specialties. It works just fine," she confides.

It was as if she was applying for a job rather than me begging to be her client. She can’t help but profess her passion for medicine. She reminds me of myself when I wax poetic on food and recipes. Or in my previous life, obsessing on houses. Houses still excite me.

Sour Cherry Jam

How do you say thank you? I find myself giving food. The Evans cherry is an orchard berry in my region. This sour cherry makes a most amazing pie and I also love it in this jam. I don't know if doctors are allowed bribes, er I mean gifts, but I left my sour cherry jam with her on our official "meet and greet" interview. I really want to be sure this deal is sealed. I'll deliver bread all summer long if it pleases her. I am at her service.

I made this jam for a Christmas market a year or two ago. It is amazing how the bright sour cherry colour develops into rich burgundy. There is no pectin used so it is thick but not jellied. 
4 lbs. of pitted and mashed sour cherries
an equal volume of sugar
2 tbsp. kirsch liqueur, if desired 

Combine fruit and sugar in a heavy, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and let bubble for a good twenty minutes, occasionally skimming the foam from the surface of the fruit as it develops. Continue to cook until a thermometer measures 220 F. Add kirsch.

Remove from the heat, fill the jars, wipe rims, apply the lids and rings. Process in a water bath. Water in the pot should cover the jars by at least one inch. Bring to a boil and maintain the boil for 20 minutes. Remove from the water bath.

When the jars are cool, remove the rings and test the seal. Wipe clean and replace ring.



  1. Sarah my friend, I weep with you, at joy that you have found a friend and physician. Stay well.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I had no idea the stress of not having a doctor...until now. I have so much trust in my doctor. This person is such an important part of my life. This was the first time in my entire life that I have not had a doctor. True relief!

  2. Yes in this day and age it is nearly impossible to find a doctor so my heart leaps for joy for you. I have one but since I work for docs myself she is never open when I am available, Of course if I really needed to go I could take time off of work.

    1. Exactly. First hurdle is to find a doctor and second, is taking time off work to visit said doctor.