Darrell Huckaby - 06/28/09

I always loved Jerry Clower, the fertilizer-salesman-turned-country-comedian from Route 4, Liberty, MS. His humor was down home and always resounded with a ring of truth. And you could listen to Jerry Clower with your mama and 'em and never had to worry about being embarrassed.

He earned his reputation telling stories about coon hunts and lightweight McCulloch chain saws and, of course, the adventures of his childhood friend, Marcel Ledbetter. A lot of his stories, however, were rooted in the social discourse of the day. One of my favorites involved an encounter he had with Gloria Steinem during the early days of the feminist movement.

It seems that Jerry and Steinem were thrown together backstage before each was to appear on a television talk show. They struck up a conversation and Jerry learned that the "she-coon of women's lib" as he called her intended to liberate women and free them from their subservient state in life. She told him that all women in America were oppressed and that she intended to help them all.

Jerry's response went something like this. He said, "Mizz Women's Libber, let me tell you about Mama (his wife). Mama don't get up until she's ready to get up every morning. She can get up with the chickens or she can sleep 'til noon and have breakfast in bed if she wants to. It's her choice. All she has to do is ring a bell and tell the maid what I have hired to wait on Mama what she wants to do. When she does get up, Mama has TV sets in the kitchen and the bedroom and the living room and can watch television standing, propped up or laying down, whichever she chooses. If she wants to go somewhere she can go outside and get in her brand new Lincoln Continental and go shopping or anywhere else she wants to go."

Clower concluded with, "Mizz Women's Libber, Mama don't want nobody messing with the deal she's got."

Now I told you that to tell you this. We in the United States of America enjoy the best health care the world has to offer. We have the best doctors and they are more accessible than in any other nation on Earth. Our health care system was built on the bedrock of free enterprise. There are problems, to be sure, and changes are in order. We, the people, need to find a way to help make health care more affordable and to make insurance coverage more readily available to all our citizens. However, we do not need to reinvent the wheel or throw out the baby with the bathwater. Nor do we need to demolish the free enterprise system upon which our medical system was built.

I have been blessed with good health. I rarely need to see a doctor, but when I do, one is always available and I don't have to have the permission of some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. to see him - or her. Once a year I go in for a physical examination. If something comes up in between I can make a call and get an appointment within a few days. If I have an emergency I can usually be seen immediately. If not, there is a hospital right across town that, by law, cannot turn me - or anyone else - away. If I have a male problem I can see my urologist. If I have a heart problem I can see my cardiologist. If I have a stomach problem, I can see a guy about that. If one of the bumps on my arm looks funny I can see somebody about that. Twice a year I get to visit my very lovely dentist and have my teeth cleaned and if I should develop a cavity, I can get it filled. I have used the same physicians for decades. They know me and I know them. You get the picture.

When Hannah Fouts pushed my son down on the playground and broke his arm, we got it fixed the very next day. When my son smashed his sister's face in the door, we got her sewn up that very night. When my lovely wife, Lisa, needed tumors removed from her breast, we didn't have to wait six months for the government to say it was OK. When my mother was old and dying she was still afforded the best care available. She was not denied treatment because it wasn't financially feasible to extend her life.

A few years ago our youngest child, Jenna, suffered a ruptured appendix. There were complications and she needed a very complex surgical procedure. She stayed in the critical care unit of Atlanta Children's Hospital at Egleston for a week or so. After she came home she had lots of medicine to take and many follow-up visits. She was under the care of a physician for about six months. Her bills totaled $50,000. Our share was the initial $125 check we wrote at the emergency room the night we initially took her in.

Mr. President, I don't want nobody messing with the deal I've got.

Darrell Huckaby