When I was a child, from what I hear, after I started walking, the word sweet and Ricky was never used in the same sentence.

Apparently I was mean and very mischievous.  Not only was I mean,  I cussed a lot, I would wash cars in mud, run from my escort to school, skip school when I could.  It was so bad, apparently I was treating Kenny, my little brother so bad my Aunt Betty Brown picked me up, stuck my head in the commode CLOSE TO THE WATER and told me if I kept mistreating Kenny she would flush me head down the commode.  I still remember this like it was yesterday.

Anyway, when I was about 5 years old, I started getting sick a lot.  My appendix ruptured and set up gangrene which resulted in surgery with tubes in me for a long time.  I had 2 hernia operations and tubes in my ears that had to be done in Atlanta.  There was more, but I am sure you get the point.

My Dr., who I love to this day, was Dr. Norman.   He hated Coach Bear Bryant and I loved him.  Dr. Norman has a Georgia Tech hatred for Coach Bryant.  We gave each other fits for that.

The love for Dr. Norman was not always there, even though, I know now, he saved my life with the appendix surgery.

With all of these surgeries, many stiches were required.    I would cuss Dr. Norman out while he was taking stitches out.  I am talking about BAD CUSSING.

On this particular morning, I was the first patient of the day for Dr. Norman.  It was about 9am.  When we got there, Dr. Norman told my mother just to leave me and he would bring me home when he went to lunch.  I was wonder what in the world was going on?

Well, mother left and Dr. Norman started taking out stiches,  He knew I was going to raise hell.  When he started, I started cussing.  He looked to his nurse Nell, and told her to bring me my prize for the day.  While she was getting my prize, Dr. Norman started cussing me and told me he could cuss like me.  If was a REAL CUSSING!

After about 5 minutes of us cussing each other, Nell came in with a baby doll, a bottle and a pacifier.  Dr Norman told me if I wanted to act like a bay he would treat me like one.  I had to sit it in lobby drinking milk from the bottle and holding the baby.  When my milk ran out I had to suck the pacifier until they got the bottle filled.  Keep in mind; I was probably 6 years old when this happened.  I started in the “WHITE WAITING ROOM” for about an hour or so then I had to go to the “COLORED WAITING ROOM” to give them my show. This lasted from about 9:30 until about 11:30 am.

About 11:30 Dr. Norman came in as asked if I was ready to go home, I remember being sure to say “YES SIR!  He broke me from sucking eggs.

We got in his Mercedes convertible.  He let the top down and this kid was on top of the world…full of milk.  We JOKED about Alabama football and he reminded me he hated Coach Bryant.

We went across from the Lanett Gym and he told me to sit still and he would be right back.  Back then, times were great, the weather was good and you didn’t have to worry about folks messing with you.  Well, Dr. Norman brought back a bag with 4 hamburgers in it, 2 for me and 2 for Mom.  I remember these were the best hamburgers I had ever put in my mouth, and they still are.

When he got me home, I remember eating one of the hamburgers and saving the other for supper.  I remember NOT drinking milk with them.  I had my fill of milk for that day.

Years later, Nell told me when he sent her after my prize, the day before my appointment he teared up and asked he why I hated him so much, after he had saved my life.  I can’t say I ever hated Dr. Norman.  I just remember the pain.

Also, years later I would be on duty at the Police Department and I would go sit with Dr. Norman at the Riverside Country Club and watch him feed the ducks. We had a lot of laughs about those days.

Dr. Norman is buried about 30 feet from my Mom.  When I go visit Mom, I also go by and visit Dr. Norman and tell him I love him and thank him for the lesson he taught me about life and how to act and introducing me to the Daniel’s Hamburgers which is still the best hamburger I have never had.