Bryson City Seasons — Dead Man Standing (Part 2)

This is from the first chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week, and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


Even though on call that Saturday afternoon, Rick had found some time to lie down on his couch for a nap. Living in houses owned and provided by the hospital, we were just across the street from the hospital.

We had been friends since our internship year at Duke. Our varied backgrounds, interests, and character traits—he a New Englander and I a Southerner; he a single man and I a married one; he a backpacker, naturalist, ornithologist, jogger and I a sedentary family man; he an introvert and I an extrovert—drew us together like opposite ends of the magnet.

However, we shared a love of family medicine and a desire to serve the families that honored us by choosing us to be their family physicians—and we were both equally attracted to this rugged wilderness area.

During our days in training at Duke, Rick and I became best friends—while Barb became Rick’s surrogate sister, confidante, and friend. The three of us did many things together, and during the third year of residency, we decided to go into practice together.

I arrived in Bryson City a few months before Rick, and during those months, I’d been learning the ropes of private practice, settling into this mountain community and gaining, ever so slowly, a sense of confidence in my own style of practice.

And with Rick’s arrival I now had a colleague with whom I shared roots and history, mutual respect, comparable training, and medical perspective—as well as a similar outlook concerning the value of spirituality and faith.

Sometime in midslumber, the shrill ring of the phone snatched Rick from his sleep.

“Dr. Pyeritz,” barked the official-sounding voice, “this here’s Deputy Rogers of the Swain County Sheriff’s Department. We’re at the site of a terrible accident and need the coroner up here. Louise Thomas in the emergency room notified me that you’re the coroner on call. Is that correct, sir?”

“That’s right,” Rick replied, in his most official, trying-not-to-sound-just-awakened, coroner-type voice.

“Then, sir, we need you at the scene as soon as possible.” “Where’s that?”
“Where’s what?”
“The scene—you know—where’s where you’re at?” “Not sure I can tell you, sir.”

Rick paused for a second as he tried not to laugh. Smiling, he continued. “Well, Deputy, if you can’t tell me where you’re at, how am I supposed to get there?”

“Well, sir, that’s what I’m tryin’ to tell you. I mean, I’m not sure I can explain it. We’re up in the national forest—up on Frye Mountain. It’s not far from town, but it’s not easy to get here. Well, at least it’s not easy to tell someone how to get here. Especially if they’re not from here—uh—sir.”

Rick was beginning to get irritated. “Well, Deputy, you tell me. Just what am I supposed to do?”

There was silence for a moment. “I reckon I have an idea, Doctor. How ’bout you drive to the station and catch a ride up here with the sheriff. He’s a comin’ up here. And he’s from here. So he’ll know how to get here.”

“Okay, Deputy. I can do that. When do I need to be there?” “Where? Here?”

Rick laughed. “No, not there! When do I need to be at the sheriff’s office?”

“Oh! Well, Doc, you best git on down to the station purty quickly. The sheriff’s gittin’ ready to leave ’bout now.”

“Sounds good. Let me phone Louise and let her know, and then I’ll be right there. Okay?”


“No, Deputy! The sheriff’s office. I’ll call Louise, and you radio to the sheriff that I’m coming to his office. Okay?”

There was silence on the other end for a moment. Then this warning: “Doc, it’s purty gruesome up here. Best be prepared.”

Then the deputy hung up.



  1. Dead Man Standing (Part 1), (Part 2)


  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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