Late manhood

Golf

 Jane and I enjoyed playing golf very much.  We joined Northwood Club and played often with other couples.  I had played golf since my teens, but Jane was new to the game.  She picked it up quickly and became a pretty good player.

 We got our children interested in golf.  We were successful with our two sons, but our daughter was not interested.  We spend many Sunday afternoons playing with our sons.  We sent them to a golf camp when they were both early teen-agers.  They still speak of this experience.  They remember Davis Love’s father as one of their teachers. 

 We took some wonderful golf trips.  For a few years, the American Medical Association sponsored golfing outing associated with Golf Digest’s golf schools.  We went to meetings that were held at Pinehurst and another at Doral.  The instruction was very good and both of our games improved.  We won the annual couple’s tournament at Northwood one year.  We made many good friends through our association at the club.

Quail hunting

 We became very interested in quail hunting.  This was another activity we could participate in as a family.  We had bird dogs, and at one point, had horses.  We had a relationship with Bobby Robbins, who was a school teacher and part time dog trainer who lived outside Nocona, Texas.  I remember one summer when we spend a week with our two sons teaching them how to train and handle bird dogs.  It was a good experience for all of us except Jane.  She did a lot of cooking that week while we were camped out in a travel trailer behind the Robbins’ house.

 I also hunted with a group of doctors I had met during my time at Dallas Methodist Hospital.  Dr. Bill Sellars was the leader of the group.  Dr. Jim Graham, Dr. Bill Grater, Dr. Wallace Wilkinson, Dr. Fred Foster, and Dr. Eldon Seibel.  We leased several properties in the vicinity of Olney, Texas for a number of years.  We stayed in a motel in Olney and ate at the “No Delay Café.”   We usually met in the early mornings on our way to Olney at the “Green Frog Café” in Throckmorton.

 We had an annual “field trial” to determine who had the “best” bird dog.  I well remember one morning when we were all at a big table at the Green Frog when Eldon came in with a spray can.  He started spraying around the table.  He sat the can down in the middle and it was labeled “Bullshit Repellant.”  It was very appropriately named!  Everyone had a great time during that hunt.  I don’t remember who won, but that was not important anyway.

 At that time, I had a Brittany spaniel named “Pat.”  Jane and I attended a bird dog training school in Oklahoma taught by the Delmar Smith family.  They were well known in local field trial circles.  I had taken my dog “Susie” and Jane worked with a dog named “Dollie” that we had bought from the Smith’s.  Dollie turned out to be a dud, and we traded her for Pat.  Susie had been a family pet for years, but she had heart worms and was unable to hunt.  She spent the rest of her life living with our children as a pet.

 Pat was a good dog.  We even won a walking field trial together.  He had his weak points, but I did too.  I was frustrated with Pat on several occasions.  He was trained to be steady to wing and shot.  This meant that after the covey of birds flew, he was supposed to not move until he was told he could.  Pat’s failed to do this on several occasions.  One got me in trouble, and one got him in trouble.

 I was hunting with Bill Rose, the father of one of my patients.  Bill was an avid quail hunter and his hunting buddy was a trial lawyer.  We were hunting in a thick woods and Pat came on point.  I had a 20 foot lead attached to Pat, and grabbed it to keep him from running after the birds.  As I was working with Pat, I got behind the other two hunters.  The woods were so thick, I could not see them.  When the birds got up, I reflexly took a shot, only to my horror, to see Bill go down on the ground.  He was about 50 yards away through the trees.

 I ran up to check on him, and some pellets had penetrated is arm below his shirt sleeve.  He and I were both scared to death.  It was soon apparent that he was not hurt badly.  The bleeding stopped and we continued the hunt.  I was pretty shook up.  I was never asked to go hunting with him again.  I don’t blame him one minute.

 The second episode got Pat in trouble.  This time, he was not dragging a lead and he the birds flew and he chased them.  He was a long way off (75 yards) and I shot at him.  I hit him just enough to get his attention.  Unfortunately, one of the pellets hit him in his eye.  I was really concerned that he might be blind in that eye.  When I returned home, I called my ophthalmologist Dr. John Eisenlohr.  He offered to see Pat.  I took him over to John’s house, and he did a consult on his porch.  He prescribed antibiotic drops for a few days, and the eye was fine.  I never shot at Pat again!

 Pat and I had many hours of pleasure together.  As he got older, he came down with mange.  I tried everything known at that time, but nothing made him any better.  I even took him to a vet who specialized in dermatology.  That visit proved to be more productive for me than for Pat.  The treatment he recommended did not work any better than others.  I learned that he charged more for an office visit that I did, and I went up on my fees. 

 I later put Pat down with the help of one of my long time friends, Dr. Frank (Buddy) Kallus, who trained as an anesthesiologist, but was working in research at the medical school.  Buddy was a medical school classmate.  I mention him as he and his wife were very helpful to me at an earlier period of my life.  I buried Pat in my former vegetable garden behind our house on Jan Mar. 

Church 

 Jane is a very strong believer in Jesus Christ.  We searched for a church after we married that we would both feel comfortable in.  She grew up in the Church of Christ where her had been an elder and preacher.  I grew up as a Southern Baptist.  We decided on Central Christian Church, located not far from where we lived on Amherst.  We were there for several years and made many wonderful friends.  We soon learned that their theology was much too liberal for us, and we began a search for a new church home.

 I had been attending a Friday morning Bible study at the suggestion of Dr. Paul Thomas, who was a regular attendee.  Paul, better known to me as “Brownie” was one of my regular Thursday afternoon golfing partners.  I had been learning much from the teacher, a seminary professor Dr. Ed Blum.  I was seeking and received good instruction that I was not getting at Central Christian Church.

 Jane and I visited thirteen churches before finding Trinity Fellowship on Greenville Avenue.  I was greatly surprised to find Dr. Blum in the pulpit.  Ed had not ever mentioned he was the pastor of a church.  He wanted the Friday morning class to be non-denominational.  We also met Dr. Alan Hull and several other people who were my patients.  We felt like we found the place we were seeking.

 Trinity Fellowship has been a very important part of our lives for the last thirty-five years.  We have both grown in our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.  Trinity is an independent congregation whose ministers have been graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary.  We have also been blessed by having several DTS professors as members and teachers.

Organized medicine

 During these years, I was working hard and was very productive.  I was very active in the affairs of the Dallas County Medical Society and the Texas Medical Association.  I served on several committees of the society and was a delegate from Dallas to the TMA House of Delegates.  I served one term on the DCMS board of directors.

 My maternal great grandfather, Dr. A.R. Kilpatrick, was an early president of the newly formed Texas Medical Association in the late 1800’s.  My secret goal was to become president of the TMA.  Unfortunately, I never achieved that goal.

 I became very interested in the politics of what was going on in medicine.  I was convinced that we were not far away from socialized medicine, and that did not seem to be in the best interests of the doctors or their patients.  Around 1985-6 there was an effort sponsored by the Dallas County Medical Society to form a doctor owned and operated HMO.  I was elected chairman of that effort.  I spent a lot of time over an eighteen month period trying to recruit doctors in Dallas and Fort Worth to join our efforts.  I was convinced that doctors needed to become involved, as if not, we would soon be controlled by third parties with very little input.  The type of practice prevalent in Dallas was dominated by individual practitioners with a few small groups.  We had no large multi-specialty groups that dominate the patterns of practice in Houston.  Individual practices had little bargaining power in the medical marketplace.  Medicine was changing from an art to just another way to make a living.  It was to soon become another commodity.

 After eighteen months of trying, the effort to form Physician’s Health Plan of North Texas failed.  We needed to attract 600 doctors to make it effective.  We did not.

More life changes

 Jane and I attended a conference in the spring of 1986 that would forever change our lives.  It was called Physician’s in Transition and was sponsored by the American College of Physician’s Executives.  It was held at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas.  It was designed to help doctors and their wives who were considering a career change.  My work the Physician’s Health Plan of North Texas was very interesting to me, and I thought I wanted to become a physician executive rather than a practicing physician.  We learned a lot about ourselves during this conference.  We learned that our “problems” were miniscule compared to the problems of some of our classmates.  I learned that the only person responsible for my personal happiness was me!

 One of the quotes of a teacher I remember was said by a psychiatrist who said he would put on his tombstone “straightened out at last.”  He also said the only people not under stress were under tombstones.

 We had more change going on.  We decided to sell our large home and move to smaller quarters.  I felt that if I were going to make a career change, we needed to reduce our cost of living.  We moved into a duplex on Northboro Street.  Soon after our move, my father died.  We also found that the duplex was way too small, and we built a new home on a small lot and moved to Vendome Place.

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