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Motorists pull in to fill up at Billups, selling gas for 18 cents a gallon. photo courtesy of USA Archives
Uncle Henry

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Vita Sua in a Bygone Mobile

Part XXII concluding a series: Dr. AB's a %^@*\#&+!*=#$* genius. Learning life's lessons. We all learn someday.

Previous installments: 1, 2 , 3 , 4567, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

By A.D.
Mobile Bay Times
I had known Dr. AB for about ten years. He was one of the owners of the ill-fated Mobile Tarpons professional football team, for which I had done publicity a decade ago. He was a wise-cracking, foul-mouthed guy, who was pleasant enough to be around socially. He would not, however, appear at first glance to be the type you would pick out of a crowd and say, "Hey, I bet that guy's a medical genius."

But any old port in a storm. "Get him. Get somebody, for God's sake," I told Dr. W.

So enter Dr. AB. Blasphemies streaming from his lips. To his colleagues, W, et al, "Haven't any of you SOB's seen a pulmonary embolism? That's what this is."

He stuck a needle
in a vein and began
feeding me
And he gave me a
shot of morphine for
the pain. I began to
feel better. By the
next morning the
pain was almost gone.

W came back the next
morning. "That B's
great with chests,
isn't he?" I had
to agree. Football,
no, chests, si.

This accident kept me in the hospital quite a bit longer than originally planned. I had to continue taking the intravenous dosage until my blood count reached a level that would permit switching over to an oral dosage and then I was released but required to have my blood checked each week for six months.

But I was back at the office in mid-June and had no more trouble.

I found that I had lost much of my incentive to wring the last possible dollar out of my stock-broking efforts. I would not say that I had seen the face of God but I had been jolted out of workaday complacency.

I had always really known that, in the long chronology of time, it wouldn't matter much if I did $1,000,000 of business one year or $75,000.

And it wouldn't matter a great deal if I left an estate of $500,000 or $200,000.

Fact is, I'd probably more likely be remembered with some warmth by people for my work in youth baseball or for various other writing endeavors.

I'd had an expression for years that went like this, "You can't eat but one steak at a time or drive one new car at a time. What's the use of having two? If you can make enough to take care of your wants and your needs, why try to make so much more?"

So I've more or less followed that philosophy since. More or less. I do get a thrill when my portfolio increases in value and when I have a good month in my business. But I don't stay late at the office or work on weekends or do any of the many things a broker can do that will increase his business but often are not the best for his customer. Let the younger guys knock themselves out for a few extra bucks or a Blue Chip souvenir. If I get 'em, great. If I don't, whose to worry?

What's important now? Enough money to live comfortably and some more besides. My daughter and her daughter, my sons, my wife, that they all prosper and are content.

My notebook, formerly studded with business notes, now contains few of these. Instead, it lists memos concerning my family.

Not that I want to let the fire go out completely. It simmers and I want to be able to bring back the flames on occasion. Because I'm convinced that you can't really stop running. If you do, you're dead. Or you might as well be. But you can cut down the pace, run like a 55-year-old, and let the strong studs in their 30's race their fool heads off.

They'll learn too, someday.

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