The Christmas Doctor
Hey, Portland! Did you know that a man was inspired to become a heroic country doctor by one of your citizens?
One afternoon in December John Weber worked his way down a street in Portland, hoping he could make it to the food wagon. Bustling crowds passed, laughing faces with breath visible in the cold, arms carrying gaily wrapped packages. He stared into the faces. None looked back at him.
He began to walk again. It was difficult to stay upright. Presently, a group of well-dressed men approached. John didn't see them in time to get out of the way and one of them, a tall, long-faced dandy in a brown derby hat, shoved him rudely off the wooden sidewalk. He fell on his back in the gutter full of slush and rocks. The men continued onward while one said something about John and the rest burst out laughing.
Slowly, John regained his feet and staggered in the general direction of the meal wagon on Burnside Street, pain shooting up his back.
He hobbled over to where the wagon stood, the pressure of the line of other ragged men holding him up and moving him forward.
The countertop was set up. John got his food, then lay on the ground, drinking soup and munching bread. The wind blew his flimsy jacket open at the front. He began to cough spasmodically. It hurt deep in his chest.
A heavy, icy rain spurted down from the gloomy sky. Drenched skeletal cats prowled around, rubbing their hips and tails against him, searching for crumbs.
Someone was standing over him. She was covered in green, her cotton dress flared, sashed at the waist and to the ankles. The young woman's eyes were blue, friendly over a smile of white.
She bent over him, her dark-green cape open, the brim of her floppy hat touching the top of his head. She studied his eyes, the blue irises nearly swallowing the pupils and shining with illness.
"Young man," she asked, "what is your name?"
John tried to think, but he couldn't remember. He looked away, making no reply. His face was pale, the cheeks chapped from the cold, his lips blistered. His hair was long and dirty, sticking out in all directions and over his ears.
She tugged at his arm. "Why don't we walk down the street together?" she offered, then helped him stand. "Come and have supper with me. Come, young man, please come."
A wave of vertigo swept over him as he stood, bent over like an old man. He looked down at his frayed trousers, stiff with filth, and at last muttered, "John."
She helped him walk along the sidewalk. He dropped to a knee from time to time, his feet nearly frozen, his lips moving as if he were speaking, but no sound coming out.
They entered an apartment house and slowly climbed the carpeted stairs. At length, a small lamp illuminated one of the doors, and she opened the latch.
Every generation produces a man whose story simply must be told. Motivated by what the kind nurse at Portland had done for him, John Weber became a heroic country doctor in northern Idaho. His medical practice was so compelling, his courage so startling and his love so tender he became known as the Christmas Doctor.
It's the book everyone's talking about. The Christmas Doctor: the True Story of Dr. J.P. Weber by Tom Weber. Within its authentic accounts of harrowing danger and personal tragedy stirs a timeless wisdom, that the deeper the wounds sorrow carves in our hearts the more joy we can hold. And it's a story which in many ways had its start on the streets of Portland.
The Christmas Doctor. His calling card read, "Have Doctor Bag. Will Travel." Don't miss the hit of the season!
The Christmas Doctor is available online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.