Bryson City Seasons — The Ribbon Cutting

This is from the thirtieth 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.


During the fall and winter, our new office building had slowly taken shape. Rick and I tried to get by at least once a day to check on the progress—and we retained a practice management firm out of Asheville to help us with the thousands of details necessary to set up a new practice. They guided us as we interviewed several dozen applicants for jobs in the new office.

We were looking for an office manager, a bookkeeper who could help in the front office, and two nurses—one to work with me and one to work with Rick. The pool of applicants was surprisingly qualified for such a small town, and the decision was much harder than we ever thought it would be because we wanted to hire not only exceptionally qualified individuals but also folks who were well known and well liked in the community.

It ended up that we hit the ball out of the park with all four selections. Dean Tuttle, Preston’s wife, was hired to be our office manager. She had managed other offices, and both she and her husband were locals. Their two boys played football for the Swain County Maroon Devils. Dianna Owle had great bookkeeping experience and had worked in other medical offices. She was married to a local man and had a beautiful baby girl. Beth Arvey was the daughter of the police chief, and Patty Hughes was married to a local fellow. Both were LPNs with both hospital and office experience. Both were young, energetic, and easy to get along with.

We were delighted to be blessed with such a great staff. Mitch and Ray were gracious enough to allow our staff to work alongside their staff for the month prior to our office opening. Although we were as crowded as peas in a pod, our new staff learned so very much from their staff. Rick and I would take our staff to lunch each week just to discuss what we were learning and how we could apply the lessons learned once we got to our new office.


When our new office opened, the hospital hosted an open house. It seemed like the entire town came out to tour the new facility of our practice, which was now called Mountain Family Medicine Center. At first, I suspected many were just scoping out the new practice to see if they might want to choose it as their practice. In actuality, the word had gotten out about the food that was to be served.

Ella Jo Shell from the Hemlock Inn, Katherine Collins from the Fryemont Inn, Ruth Adams from the Frye-Randolph House, and Eloise Newman from the Swain County General Hospital cafeteria each outdid themselves in preparing delicacies for our guests.

To our surprise, all the local doctors came by to enjoy the food, give us their congratulations, and take a peek around the new facility. Gary Ayers from WBHN was there to tape interviews for his morning radio show. Earl Douthit, the hospital administrator, showed his hospital staff around the office. He struck us as a proud papa.

Even Louise came by to see the place. “Just wanted to see where I’d be referrin’ folks,” she whispered as I walked around with her.

“You know, I wanted you to come over here and interview for a job,” I told Louise.

She stopped and turned toward me, cocking her head and asking, “You did? Dr. Larimore, you tellin’ the truth?”

“I’m as serious as a heart attack, Louise. You could have a job here anytime you want.”

She smiled and then looked away. “I’m not sure I’d know what to do away from my emergency room. I ain’t ever known nothing but that ole ER. Reckon they’ll carry me outta there feet first with my boots on one day.”

It was my turn to smile. “Louise, I think the hospital would just close up if you ever left.”

She seemed intensely pleased.

During the open house, Katherine and Elizabeth served the finger foods they had prepared at the Fryemont Inn kitchen. Ella Jo Shell brought trays of baked goods from the Hemlock Inn, including my personal favorites—her famous pumpkin chips and apple chips. Not to be outdone, Eloise Newman and her hospital kitchen staff provided goodies. “They must have the best hospital food in the world,” one of our visitors commented. I could only nod in agreement—my mouth being full.

The entire rescue squad, including Monty and Diana Clampitt, came by. John and Becky Mattox from Super Swain Drugs stopped in for a visit. During his tour, John kept looking behind every door and in every closet. My curiosity overcame me. “What in the world are you looking for, John?”

He seemed to blush. “Just checkin’ to see you don’t have a small pharmacy up here. Don’t want any young whippersnappers puttin’ me outta business!”

I laughed. “Doc John, you know your clients won’t go anywhere else. And you know it would take me ten years to learn how to mix all the potions you concoct. Furthermore, I’ll never have your gift of gab. So don’t worry. There will never be a pharmacy up in this office—at least while I’m here. You can depend on that.”

He beamed.

The entire hospital board, the city councilmen, and the county commissioners all attended. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was photographed by Pete Lawson from the Smoky Mountain Times, and the Reverend Kenneth Hicks (as he liked to be called during formal occasions) shared a wonderful prayer of blessing for the practice, the facility, and our town.

After the crowd had left, Rick, Katherine, Barb, and I were alone in the lobby of the new building. We were drinking a last cup of coffee and just enjoying the quiet of the moment. Kate and Scott were playing in the new children’s area of the waiting room.

“Boys,” Katherine began, “you two have a mighty fine building here.”

We nodded in silent agreement.

She continued. “I’m serious. There’s not a finer office building between here and Asheville. And I’m not sure there’s a nicer medical office building even in Asheville.”

“Didn’t Barb do a great job decorating it?” Rick asked.

Barb quickly added, “With Sally Jenkins’s help, I might add!”

“Well,” Rick responded, “you did a great job. I think it’s going to be a very comfortable place to practice.”

Katherine smiled. “Do you mean the building or the town?”

We all smiled, and I chuckled. Both! I thought to myself. But only time would tell.


  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. 2018. 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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