Monday, May 27, 2024

Milliron Monday: The Recordings 4


Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"I thought, the hell with this, I’m getting out of here!"
― Jody Smith

As in previous weeks, I am sharing Jody's conversations. As usual, Jody has her notecards in hand…

Jody: When I was in college in Colorado, I was out riding Starboy. I found a nice spot, unsaddled Starboy, took off his bridle, and began reading a book I had brought with me. All of a sudden, there were four or five young Mexican men coming towards me. They were drunk, drinking beer and throwing their empty beer cans at me. I didn’t hesitate, I jumped on my horse, which I was able to do in those days, and went off down the hill in a gallop. I thought, the hell with this, I’m getting out of here! I was riding down into a reservoir area, and I met this guy riding up that I knew. He started lecturing me, “What in the world are you doing riding bareback, without a bridle, alone?” I said, “Well, my saddle and bridle are up there…”. He had a rifle, like many men carried on their saddles in those days. He said, “We’re going back up there to get your saddle.” We rode back up the hill. The drunks had knives, they had cut up my books. We weren’t about to go over there, so we rode to the stable where my friend kept his horse, put the horses in the corral and went back up the hill in his truck. When we got up the hill, the drunks had taken my saddle and carried it about halfway to the nearby road. When they saw us, they dropped it. I suppose they were going to sell it. They didn’t damage my saddle, it was okay, but my books were all cut up. We gathered up everything and went home. After that, I sold the saddle. Not because there was anything wrong with it, I just didn’t want it after that. One of my sorority sisters admired it and I sold it to her. I just didn’t want to remember that day. Of course, I had another saddle, an Army officers saddle which I really liked. Pat has it now, along with Pete's saddles.

Years ago, being the new veterinarian in Athens, Pete was assigned to the local livestock sale. It was on a Saturday. I walked into the sale and I’m carrying Pat, Jessica was beside me. I am trying to find Pete. I don’t remember why I was trying to find him, if I needed to tell him something, or I needed money, I don’t remember. At any rate, I am asking people where Pete is and I am walking on. Of course, there were no cell phones then. I must have looked desperate and a bit determined. I hear this guy behind me, an old farmer, he said, “Well, Doc Smith’s gonna have to claim them two, they look just like him!” [Jody begins laughing out loud and rolling her eyes]. I told the old guy, “Well, I’m his wife!”

Around that time, Pete had a client call the clinic with an emergency. The client was concerned that a rattlesnake had bitten his horse. The client had seen a few rattlesnakes around and was concerned because his horse’s nose was red and beginning to swell. He was concerned for his other horses, too. Pete was in surgery and told the guy he had to wait and that he would be there as soon as he was out of surgery. He told the guy to keep all of the horses in the barn and to keep the bitten horse as quiet as possible. Well, the guy didn’t know enough about horses to put all the horses in the barn. He just put the one horse in the barn and left the other horses out in pasture. The horse in the barn began to panic. By the time Pete got there, the horse was down and wasn’t breathing. The horse was still warm to touch, but not really breathing. Who knows, if the guy had left the horse where it was with the other horses, it wouldn’t have gotten so agitated and may have survived until Pete got there. The horse didn’t make it.

This one time, we were at the Nelsonville theater – years ago when they had a theater on the Public Square. We went to see a movie about animals, I can’t remember the name of the movie. The theater was full of mostly kids. Halfway through the movie, we learn that the veterinarian was the bad guy, he collected animals and sold them to laboratories for research. Pete was upset. He said, “That’s terrible! They’re ruining an entire profession!” Every few minutes, he would say out loud, "That’s terrible.” The kids around us would say ssshhhh and tell him to be quiet. I’ll think of the name of the movie about 4 o’clock in the morning. That’s why I keep a pencil and paper by my bed. At any rate, we’re driving home, Pete’s ranting and raving about how terrible the movie was. I said to him, “Well, you’re always telling awful jokes about lawyers!” Pete said, “I’ll never tell another lawyer joke!”


Have a great week ahead.

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Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian. 

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